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Most Canadians have not followed the issue closely, and are more likely to believe that politicians and lawyers pay fewer taxes than doctors and surgeons.

Vancouver, BC – Most Canadians have paid little or no attention to the recent proposal by the federal government to change the way private corporations pay taxes, a new Insights West poll conducted for Maclean’s has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of Canadians, only a third of Canadians (34%) say they have followed these discussions “very closely” or “somewhat closely”.

About two-in-five Canadians (38%) support the federal government’s proposed changes to the way private corporations pay taxes, while 17% oppose them and 45% are undecided.

Opposition to the federal government’s proposal is highest among Albertans (34%) and Conservative voters in the 2015 federal election (31%). Among those Canadians who have followed the story closely, support reaches 58%, and opposition stands at 34% (with 8% undecided).

Almost two thirds of Canadians (64%) are in favour of the federal government’s plan to require all family members named as shareholders in a corporation to pass a “reasonableness test” to make sure they are legitimately earning the dividends from the corporation. However, more than half of Canadians (53%) believe doctors should not be allowed to incorporate and have the ability to reduce the amount of taxes they pay.

Canadians who have closely followed the proposed tax changes are significantly more likely to support the “reasonableness test” (77%, compared to the Canadian average of 64%), but significantly less likely to forbid doctors from incorporating (45%, compared to the Canadian average of 53%).

“The survey shows that Canadians who are aware of the proposed tax changes agree with ensuring that doctors do not take advantage of the existing guidelines with bogus employees,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “However, they are less likely to agree with the notion of changing existing rules for all doctors.”

Majorities of Canadians believe that surgeons (62%), family doctors or general practitioners (57%) and veterinarians (54%) are paid “about right” for what they do, and more than half (54%) think nurses are paid “too little” for the work they perform.

Conversely, three-in-five Canadians think lawyers (64%), federal politicians (also 64%) and provincial politicians (61%) are paid “too much” for what they do. Voters who supported each of the three major parties in the last election to the House of Commons believe federal politicians are overpaid (68% among Conservatives, 66% among Liberals and 56% among New Democrats).

When asked about taxation, most Canadians believe nurses (84%), veterinarians (68%), family doctors or general practitioners (62%) and surgeons (60%) “definitely” or “probably” pay their fair share in taxes.

Most Canadians believe federal politicians (61%), provincial politicians (57%) and lawyers (53%) “definitely” or “probably” do not pay their fair share in taxes.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from September 5 to September 9, 2017, among 1,003 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for the entire sample, nineteen times out of twenty. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West