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Canada's Caribbean Tax Holiday

April 15, 2011

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There has quite rightly been a lot of discussion about corporate taxes during this election campaign, but very little discussion about cracking down on tax avoidance, whether by legal or illegal means.

Harper of course has a big get tough on crime platform, but the white collar bit is focused on small time fraud against seniors. The Bloc's platform mentions eliminating tax havens, but there's no detail or discussion about it.

Buried in this morning's figures from Statscan on Canada's direct foreign investment abroad is evidence that tax avoidance and tax havens are a growing problem.  Not only is an increasing share of Canadian direct investment abroad going through finance and insurance industries, but a growing share is also being funneled into tax havens.

Countries considered tax havens  now account for 26% of all Canadian direct investment abroad: totalling close to $160 billion dollars and up from 17% in 2001.   The finance and insurance industry now accounts for a remarkable over 52% of all Canadian direct investment abroad, up from 38% in 2001.

There's more discussion and a chart that illustrates these trends  in a blog post and I've written on this for the Progressive Economists Blog.

Toby Sanger is an economist with the Canadian Union of Public and General Employees and a CCPA research associate.

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