In the midst of a pandemic, taxes keep shape

In the midst of a pandemic, the tax is keeping in shape


In 2020, the first year of a health and economic crisis marked with a red hot iron by the COVID-19 pandemic, we, Quebecers, paid the colossal sum of $174 billion in taxes to the administrations public.

Quebec took in $86.5 billion; Ottawa $55 billion; municipalities $15.9 billion and public pension plans (QPP and CPP) some $17 billion.

In total, our various public administrations pocketed barely $1.2 billion less than in 2019, a “normal” year when the economy was running smoothly. This demonstrates how the “tax grab” keeps shape even in times of pandemic!

And that has allowed Quebec to “stay” number 1 in Canada. Compared to the Canadian provinces, Quebec still had the highest tax burden in 2020, representing 38.8% of our GDP. We are ahead of the Canadian average of the other provinces by the enormous margin of 5.4 percentage points.

Another “honor” not piqued: in terms of tax pressure, this “38.8%” of GDP in taxes “allows” Quebec to hold 9th position among the 39 member countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).

The average tax burden rate for OECD member countries is 33.5%. In the United States, our major trading partner, the rate of tax pressure amounts to barely 25.5% of their GDP.


Dixit Luc Godbout, holder of the Chair in Taxation and Public Finance at the School of Management of the University of Sherbrooke, who yesterday unveiled his Taxation report in Quebec, 2022 edition< /em>“The higher tax burden in Quebec than elsewhere (in the country) stems from the extent of government intervention. Conclusion, there are two sides to a coin, the State resorts to more taxation to finance more public services. »

Good for us and hope that we receive in Quebec public services that are worth more than what it costs us more in taxes and duties compared to other Canadian provinces.



In the new edition of Bilan de la taxation au Québec, carried out under the direction of Tommy Gagné-Dubé, in which Luc Godbout, Suzie St-Cerny, Michaël Robert-Angers and Julie S. Gosselin also participated, the specialists assessed the gap in the tax burden borne by Quebecers compared to Canadians from other provinces.

To do this, they calculated the amount of tax savings that Quebecers would realize if Quebec applied the tax structure prevailing in each of the following six provinces. Thus, with Alberta's tax structure, we would save $22.5 billion in taxes! With the following provinces: 

  • British Columbia: $16.7 billion 
  • Saskatchewan: 10.1 billion $ 
  • Ontario: $10 billion 
  • Manitoba: $6.6 billion 
  • New Brunswick: $661 million  

Question: do we receive public services in Quebec equal to the taxes that we pay more than in other provinces? Not easy to demonstrate, I agree!


Among the Canadian provinces, Quebec ranks first for weight tax: 

  • Personal income tax: 14.1% of GDP 
  • Taxes paid by corporations: 5.9% of GDP 
  • Payroll taxes (health services fund): 1.8% of GDP 
  • Social contributions (employment, parental, drugs, QPP…): 6.1% of GDP.  


According to data reported in 2021 by the Ministry of Finance, which was based on 2014 tax statistics, there were 41.8% of large companies who have not paid a cent of tax. Among medium-sized businesses that avoided tax, the percentage rose to 38.9% and among small businesses the percentage climbed to 60.6%.

And to say that in 2014, the Quebec had recorded growth of 3.1%.

While in 2020 real GDP took a nose dive (-5.1%) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this suggests that the percentage of companies that have not paid tax will be significantly higher.

In the midst of a pandemic, the tax is keeping in shape

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