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Canadian Doctors: “Tax Us More”

Canadian Doctors: “Tax Us More”

A group called Doctors for Fair Taxation is calling on the Canadian government to increase their taxes. Under the slogan, “Tax us. Canada’s worth it,” these doctors are suggesting the implementation of additional surtaxes for high earning Canadians.

Personal income taxes in Canada are determined by a combination of federal and provincial income tax rates, using tax brackets based on income levels. However, the tax brackets top out at an annual income of $132,406. That means that anyone who earns more than that will pay the same rate on any additional dollar earned.  The combined marginal tax rate for earnings above $132,406 ranges from 39% in Alberta (29% federal, 10% provincial) to 48.22% in Quebec. So someone earning $135,000 has the same marginal tax rate as someone earning millions of dollars.

The Doctors for Fair Taxation are proposing a sliding scale of additional taxes for high earners, specifically:

  • 1% additional tax for earnings between $100,000 and $170,000 (top 10% of earners)
  • 2% additional tax for earnings between $170,000 and $640,000 (top 1% of earners)
  • 3% additional tax for earnings between $640,000 and $1.85 million (top 1/10 of 1% of earners)
  • 6% additional tax on earnings over $1.85 million (top 1/100 of 1% of earners)

According to their calculations, this would bring in an additional $3.5 billion annually for the federal government and $1.7 billion for the province of Ontario.

The reasons for the proposed sur-tax are simple. According to Dr. Gary Bloch, a Toronto family doctor and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, “almost all of the economic gains of the past decade have gone to Canada’s top 1% but our taxes haven’t gone up accordingly.” Dr. Tanya Zakrison says “we’re debating cutting back programs and services that are crucial to providing young people with alternatives to a life of gangs, drugs and violence. Why aren’t we talking about those of us with higher incomes paying our fair share?” Another doctor, Dr. Rosana Pellizzari notes that cutbacks in one area can actually result in increased costs and pressure on our health care system in other areas: “We spend tens of thousands of dollars of care rescuing a homeless person’s life but if they end up on the streets again, it’s public services [that the government is cutting back on] that keep them from returning to the emergency department.”

The doctors point out that unequal societies are less healthy than equal ones and they want to take the lead in asking for greater social justice. Their idea is an excellent one, but unlikely to be implemented with a majority Conservative government in power.

What can the doctors do, in the meantime, to convince their colleagues and counterparts in other industries to voluntarily turn their proposed surtax into charitable donations toward organizations that provide community services?

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96 comments

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5:43AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

I'm in awe of the Doctors who started this.GOD BLESS THEM AND THEIR CONCERN TO THE NEEDY!

6:50PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Reducing the rich-poor gap is essential for a healthy society :)

5:40AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

@ Tricia H "Canadian doctors aren't even intelligent" This has got to be the single most UNintelligent comment I've ever seen on Care2. Do you even know why you said that? On to the topic..Good for you doctors! I hope Harper will let it happen!

10:11AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Tricia H..."Canadian doctors aren't even intelligent". Well, isn't that special miss whizz bang. I suppose that's why our sysrem ranks higher than the US system, stupid doctors, idiotic nurses, lousy facilities, etc. The US has higher cancer death rates due to the uninsured, higher infant mortality, higher childhood deafness due to untreated infections, and all this at a much greater cost per capita. Works for me!
Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey. The smart MDs go to the US...no, the greedy ones do. I know many who went there & came back. Why? Ridiculous red tape, paper work & inability to perform procedures necessary because blocked by insurance cos. for being too costly. As for death panels, give it up already. SO passe. If I'm 75 & find out I have cancer, I probably would not want to go through the hell of chemo & radiation. Also, the treatment often would cause their demise due to concurrent health issues. Perhaps that is so in many of these cases but that doesn't figure into stats. In the US IF INSURED, sure they'll treat us old farts even if we have no chance because so they can bill for it. If you're poor, tough shit, so die already. Insurance cos are your death panels. I've worked in health care in both countries. No thanks to your system.

10:03AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Thanks for sharing.
My only comment is: Why are we so short of Doctors in the Prairie Provinces???? Many are being brought over from South Africa, which takes a lot of time with red tape etc.

6:03AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Someone earning $135,000 has the same marginal tax rate as someone earning millions of dollars....but they are not paying the same tax amount.

A person earning $135,000 @ 39% pays $52,650 in taxes.
A person earning a million dollars @ 39% pays $390,000 in taxes.
Sounds fair to me.
What is this mentality that seeks to punish people who work harder than others and make more money than others as a result?


2:45AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

A step in the right direction.

1:51AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

I applaud these doctors for their foresight. But Harper and his harlots, who currently have a majority government, are not likely to revise the tax brackets. Harper is bringing in a new budget and his Conservative Party are being very Republican/Teabagger about it. They are talking about $8 billion in cuts, most of which will likely come from social programmes, and are proposing some corporate tax cuts. As the doctors said "... cutbacks in one area can actually result in increased costs and pressure on our health care system in other areas . . ."
Additionally, Harper is refusing to negotiate a new healthcare accord with the provinces and would like to throw more in prison than tackle the social problems that lead to prison life.

12:34AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Thank you.

12:05AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

We spend more money on health care than any country in the industrialized world. Despite this fact we rank 50th in life expectancy. We need to get off the Republican sucker list and start looking out for the middle class and the poor and not the supper rich!

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