Canada Revenue Agency—Tax GapPublished on 15 February 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Percy Downe
Hon. Percy E. Downe:
Senator Harder, as you are probably aware, the Conference Board of Canada released a public document yesterday indicating that the tax gap, the amount of uncollected taxes in Canada, could be as high as $47 billion. Think of what the government could do with that money, the programs it could fund, deficits that would disappear. Still, we have the Canada Revenue Agency refusing to follow the example set by the Prime Minister on transparency, openness and evidence-based decision making. Nothing is more evidence- based decision making than estimating the tax gap, the difference between what the Canada Revenue Agency collects and what they should be collecting.
The second part of measuring the tax gap, as you know, is that it recognizes the efficiency of the revenue agency. Countries around the world do it, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the list goes on. Still, the Canada Revenue Agency refuses to give the information that the Parliamentary Budget Officer requested from them. Five or six years ago, I asked then- PBO Kevin Page for the information. He requested it from the agency. It was not personal information about individuals, but overall statistics, and he indicated he could estimate the tax gap and tell Canadians what it is.
Still today the Canada Revenue Agency refuses. When will the government force the Canada Revenue Agency to follow the Prime Minister’s instructions and be transparent and open?