Taxes and the Common Good: Backgrounder & position paper

Taxes raise the revenues used to pay for democratic institutions and to provide government programs and services. Taxes can also be used to promote other economic and social policy goals through the use of tax expenditures.

Over the past decade, significant changes have been made to Canada’s tax system, including deep cuts to tax rates. The impact of these changes is a cause for concern. In this background research paper, policy analyst Chandra Pasma explores the changes and their impact, as well as policy options currently being advocated for to change Canada’s tax mix.

CPJ’s public justice framework supports the notion that taxes are an important contribution to the common good. Taxes are one way in which we as citizens fulfill our obligation to promote justice and to respect the right of all people to live in dignity. For governments, tax policy can be used to foster justice, in addition to tax revenues paying for infrastructure that benefit all and promote an equitable society. Public justice also supports a progressive distribution of taxes, and transparent and accountable decisions from governments on taxation and spending.

CPJ recognizes that in order to raise sufficient revenue for the government to carry out its public justice tasks, multiple tax changes need to be implemented. CPJ addresses these recommendations in our position statement on taxation.

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