The commitment comes during a week when Canada’s banks are reporting eye-popping quarterly profits fueled by the capital reserves they set aside last year to guard against possible COVID-related loan losses.
The banks are also sitting on piles of cash because regulators have blocked them temporarily from distributing more money to investors through dividends and share repurchases.
Trudeau said that, if re-elected, his government would raise the corporate income tax rate by three percentage points — from 15 per cent to 18 per cent — on all bank and insurance earnings over $1 billion to
support middle-class Canadians in their goal of home ownership.
Trudeau announced on Tuesday a three-point housing plan — a program to give Canadians more financial support to buy a home, boost the housing supply and establish a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights that would ban real estate practices like blind bidding.
Tax measures worth $2.5 billion per year, say Liberals
Trudeau said today that a re-elected Liberal government would also establish something called the
Canada recovery dividend, which would force these same financial institutions to
contribute more over the next four years of Canada’s recovery.
While details about this
dividend remain thin, the party said the sums banks and insurance companies would have to pay would be decided
in consultation over the coming months with the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and would be levied over a four-year period.
The party said these two initiatives would generate
a minimum of $2.5 billion a year over the next four years, starting in the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Liberals promise to target tax avoidance
Trudeau said the government wouldn’t tolerate
sophisticated tax planning or profit-sharing by companies looking to dodge the new measures. He promised new
targeted anti-avoidance rules to ensure the companies pay what the Liberals want them to pay.
The party is also promising to enhance the powers of the federal Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to better police
excessive fees charged to customers and to ensure the cost of the new corporate tax measures is
not passed on to consumers.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has been pushing Trudeau to rein in what the banks can charge their customers during this health crisis. The party has asked the government to try to temporarily block the banks from charging interest on mortgages and cut credit card fees paid by small businesses for payment processing.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has also promised to take on the big banks. In the platform released last week, the party promised a Conservative government would bring in legislation to allow for more banking competition by
fintech companies, order the Competition Bureau to investigate bank fees and require more transparency for investment management fees so
seniors and savers don’t get ripped off.
John Paul Tasker · CBC News