Canada’s billionaire class sees its pile of money grow even bigger
Canada’s billionaires now control more wealth than the economies of four Canadian provinces and three territories combined.
According to an annual “billionaires insights” report from Swiss wealth management firm UBS, Canada’s 45 billionaires saw their wealth rise to $153.1 billion in 2018 — that’s up 3% from 148.5 billion in 2017.
To put those numbers into context, figures from Statistics Canada show Canada’s 45 billionaires have a pile of wealth that’s bigger than the GDP of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador combined ($112.2 billion).
That’s also bigger than the GDP of Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories combined ($10.5 billion).
Even the economies of Manitoba ($67.4 billion) and Saskatchewan ($86.6 billion) pale in comparison to the collective wealth Canada’s 45 richest people.
Although the raw number of Canadian billionaires dropped from 46 to 45 in 2018 due to the passing of mining baron Peter Munk, Canada’s billionaire class nonetheless saw its collective wealth increase by $4.6 billion.
Many Canadian workers were not so fortunate during the same period.
Although Canadian billionaires saw their collective wealth rise 3% between 2017 and 2018, Canadian workers saw their collective wages rise only 1.9%, although a closer look at those numbers suggest regional factors are at play — Calgary and Edmonton saw wages increased between 0.6% and o.7% during the same period.
According to Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer, a 1% tax on net wealth above $20 million alone would generate nearly $70 billion in new revenue over 10 years.
Experts note that revenues at that scale would be enough to cover the costs of major programs like pharmacare, postsecondary education, affordable housing and other investments that would further reduce the costs of living for working Canadians.