With record immigration levels comes record-level opposition to how much government taxes Canadians.
According to in-house research by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Nigerians and Syrians believe Canadians pay too many taxes.
Among those interviewed by CRA researchers, the consensus is that “taxes in Canada are expensive,” reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Canadians pay a lot of taxes,” said one immigrant. “It’s scary,” said another. “They add up,” said a third.
In 2023, the average Canadian family of two or more people will pay $64,610 in taxes, representing 46.1% of their annual gross income ($140,106). Last year, the average family paid 45.2% of its income to the government.
A Leger poll posted earlier this year said over half (52%) of Canadians believe the average family should pay 25% or less of their income to the government. Four in every five support paying the government less than 40% of their income.
“There is a perception taxes in Canada are expensive,” said a CRA report, Qualitative Research On First Time Tax Filing With Newcomers To Canada.
“Any actual or potential deduction — either in the form of Goods and Services Tax or income taxes — is concerning to them,” said the report.
According to Statistics Canada, most workers have observed a decline in their purchasing power in recent years.
“Wages and earnings have not kept pace with price pressures, especially those related to food and shelter,” said a StatsCan report, Research To Insights: Consumer Price Inflation, Recent Trends And Analysis.
Though weekly earnings typically increased 4.2% last year, rent increased 5.9% over the same period.
“Despite moderate increases in wages and earnings, most workers have seen their purchasing power decline as inflationary pressures ramp up,” wrote analysts.
The cost of running a family car also rose 13.4%, while food prices increased 14.8%. Mortgage interest costs also jumped 18%.
“Increases in the cost of living are [harming] net saving and wealth, especially for more vulnerable households,” read the report, disproportionately impacting low and middle-income households.
“Newcomers often mentioned it being an ‘expensive’ part of living in Canada,” said Newcomers. “Especially because [they] often earned little or no income in their early years in Canada.”
“They emphasized the need to keep as much of their income as possible,” the report noted.
However, researchers said despite hearing reservations from newcomers, they understand that taxes are an “important part of living in Canada” — to pay for critical infrastructure like roads and hospitals.
“The fact roads are drivable and health care is free makes newcomers feel the tax they pay is actually being used to improve everyday life,” said Newcomers.
But Leger said nearly half (44%) of Canadians believe they're getting poor or very poor value from government services.
Ultimately, three-quarters (74%) believe a family of two or more people is over-taxed by all levels of government.