Economy briefYoung workers
Debt shows generational divide

The average Canadian household debt increased by 64 per cent between 1999 and 2012. While this increase was counterbalanced by the rising value of assets for many households headed by older individuals, for couple families with children under 18 and those in the 35-44 age range, the average rise in debt was much higher than the rise in the value of their assets. Household debt rose to a new record, over 163 per cent of household disposable income at the end of 2014.

Never stop working?

A survey by HSBC bank found that 15 per cent of working age Canadians never expect to retire, while another 45 per cent plan to semi-retire. Only 17 per cent of current retirees report semi-retiring. Rising debt levels, the erosion of workplace pension plans, lack of federal support for an expanded Canada Pension Plan, and the federal government’s delay of retirement to age 67 have no doubt reduced expectations for working Canadians.

Are you satisfied?

People in Saguenay and Trois-Rivières, Quebec are the most satisfied of all cities in Canada, while those in Vancouver and Toronto are the least satisfied, according to a Statistics Canada study of life satisfaction. Despite their lower incomes, people in Eastern Canadian and Quebec cities reported higher levels of life satisfaction than the Canadian average, while those in Ontario and the western provinces reported lower levels.

Corporate tax
Canada: Tax haven

The largest corporations in the world are avoiding over $100 billion CDN in taxes every year, according to estimates from international stock market firm MSCI. But that’s not the worst of it. Their analysis found that at least 40 per cent of the largest global corporations based in tax havens such as Bermuda, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, and Canada pay abnormally low taxes. Yes, that’s right: Canada is now considered a tax haven!

Restore the royalties

Analysis by Alberta’s Parkland Institute calculated that Alberta could eliminate 40 per cent of its budget deficit just by returning its oil, gas and mineral royalty rates to what they were in 2009. The changes introduced at that time were supposed to increase revenues by $2 billion annually, but instead they’ve cost the province $13.5 billion over five years.