(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

Part 2 of 2 of ‘Doing the math…’ provides further discussion on the comments of the financial analysts in Part 1 of 2.  Regarding the Canada Child Benefit, it is difficult once again to understand the financial intelligence of politicians and government and whom they consult when formulating their policies.

Repeated again from part 1 of 2 are the following scenarios from “Doing the child benefit math” by Jamie Golombek (financialpost), Financial Post, September 30, 2016 showing financial evaluation performed by Jay Goodis from Tax Templates Inc.  This evaluation shows the impact of CCB on various levels of income in 2016, the after-tax cash they would keep along with their effective tax rates.

‘Scenario 1 – Low-income family

A Manitoba family has two kids under five and two working parents, each earning $15,000 of employment income. They are eligible for the entire CCB of $12,800; after paying CPP, EI, and a bit of tax, they net $39,560 of cash.

What would happen if one parent was able to work more, or was to get a higher paying job, such that she now made $25,000 — an increase of $10,000?  While she’s still in the lowest federal and Manitoba tax brackets, once you factor in the loss of CCB, the additional tax, CPP, and EI, her take-home extra cash is only $5,563, resulting in an effective marginal tax rate of a whopping 44 per cent (39 per cent if you ignore the additional CPP and EI contributions.)

As Goodis observed: “The CCB skews the progressive tax system and imposes a high effective tax on low income earners with children.”

Scenario 2 – Median-income family

A British Columbia couple has two children under the age of five. Their family’s income, consisting solely of employment income, is $76,000 split equally between each spouse. Their $12,800 of CCB is reduced to $7,448; and after federal and provincial taxes, CPP, and EI, the family nets $69,135 of cash. In other words, even with the clawback of some of their CCB, the couple has kept 91 per cent of their earned income.

Scenario 3 – High-income earner

Finally, consider an Ontario professional with three kids, two under five and one teen, earning $200,000 annually.  His CCB will be about $750 for the year.  If he were to earn an extra $1,000 of income, he would keep only just under $400 of it, resulting in an effective marginal tax rate of just over 60 per cent once loss of CCB is taken into account.’


Several points of interest will be discussed in regards to the Canada Child Benefit:  1)  income tax and marginal tax rates with increased income, 2)  CPP contributions and pensions, and 3) the effect of minimum wage and Canada Child benefit on the economy and future entitlements like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

NOTE:  The marginal tax rate is the tax rate paid on last dollar of income and rate likely to be paid on next dollar of income-it is usually more than what is actually paid in tax because basic exemptions like CPP contributions and EI, and other benefits on provincial level, GST rebate, etc. have not been taken into consideration.


The following shows the likely actual federal and provincial tax rates shown in the three scenarios (the federal and provincial rates used in the calculations are shown at the end of the post).

Taxes paid do not show other possible deductions taken off (CPP and EI), non refundable tax credits and additional benefits (GST rebate) added on to income:


In scenario 1 (low-income family), the financial analyst makes the statement that if one spouse earned an extra $10,000 she would pay an effective marginal  tax rate of a whopping 39 per cent factoring in the loss of the CCB and without additional CPP and EI contributions.  Her take-home extra cash is only $5,563.  However, with calculation of possible additional actual tax rate of $2,580, and reduction of $12,800 CCB by $896, her take home income with the additional $10,000 would be $10,000 minus $2,580 minus $896 for CCB for total extra cash of $6,524.  Whether it is an additional $5,500 or $6,500 why is this not considered to be a good thing, when even though she has more income tax deductions and small decrease in CCB, she has much more money to spend on her family while benefitting the Canadian economy through additional use of goods and services and additional income tax to be used for public services?

In scenario 2 (middle-income family), the financial analyst states that ‘ even with the clawback of some of their CCB, the couple has kept 91 per cent of their earned income’.  That is a very good rate of return all because of tax-free CCB.  Another reason why they are able to keep such a large per cent of their earned income is that Province of BC has a 5.06% tax rate on first $38,210 while Manitoba in Scenario 1 has a provincial rate of 10.8% on first $31,000.

In scenario 3 (high earner) the financial analyst states that with just an additional $1,000 income the person will only take home an extra $400 using the marginal tax rate.  For poor people, the reaction might be “so what?” when take home income is already at level of $8,000 to $10,000 per month plus he has been able to use Liberal reduced income rate of 1.5% for income between $44,401 to $89,401 that scenario 1 and 2 have not been able to use.

For single person, income after tax would be approximately $30,377 or about $15 per hour.  This does not equal living wages to prevent homelessness for singles, examples of which are usually greater than $15 per hour (singles-finances).


In scenario 1 (low-income family) it has been estimated that this family will have about $7,500 annual CPP benefits.  With the addition of just $10,000 income (and YMPE), resulting extra CPP contributions and reduced $896 CCB annual benefits, the CPP (using 2016 rates) annual benefits will jump from about $7,500 to $10,000.  This should be viewed as a good thing as the extra CPP benefits outweigh the reduced CCB benefits and will reduce poverty in retirement.

  • The more poor are taken out of poverty, the greater the benefits to everyone because the poor will be using less government boutique tax credits and handouts (CCB).
  • Increased minimum wage benefits income earners in retirement years through increased CPP contributions during working years.
  • Increased minimum wage benefits everyone through collection of increased taxes, financial well being of income earner, and the economy through increased spending on goods and services, thereby, increasing value to the economy.
  • Boutique tax credits that benefit only certain segments of society (families and married or coupled persons) and failure to increase the minimum wage are financially discriminatory and detrimental to low income persons and singles.


Why do we continue to allow politicians and governments to make bad financial decisions like forever increasing boutique tax credits,  increasing the wealth of the rich and not increasing the minimum wage when it can clearly be shown that increasing the minimum wage benefits everyone?  The creation of financial silos (financial-illiteracy) where one financial decision is made (example:  CPP enhancements) without looking at how this impacts other financial processes makes for very bad financial decisions.  ‘Selective’ social democracy (selective) where some family groups benefit more than other family groups only produce financial discrimination while benefitting the upper-middle class and the wealthy most.

The upside down financial decisions where boutique tax credits are brought in by one political party, eliminated or changed on election of another political party and increasing CPP benefits, but not increasing the minimum wages at the same time does nothing to provide financial stability for Canadian families, married or coupled persons and singles.

Outside the box and critical thinking like tri-partisan (all political parties) cooperation in financial decisions for all Canadians would create better decision making across the board and prevent schizophrenic political processes like CPP increases being controlled by federal governments and minimum wage increases being controlled by provincial governments.  All Canadians deserve better from their politicians and governments in financial decision making.




(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

Democratic socialism or socialized democracy has achieved some very good things for equalization of social rights in Canada such as the Canada Pension  Plan, Employment Insurance Plan and universal public healthcare as well as human rights policies.  Also included are benefits meeting the current basic needs of society for all – care for the elderly, school systems and social security systems such as Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement.  This has resulted in improving the lives of women, First Nations, racialized Canadians, the poor and the elderly by social equalization.

Worker benefits won by unions have greatly benefited fairness in working conditions: such as equal pay for equal work, weekends off, lunch and work breaks, vacation and sick leave, minimum wage, eight hour working  day, overtime pay, child labor laws, safety and health laws,workers compensation, pensions, health care insurance, etc.  The list goes on and on.

Unfortunately, some of  the social and economic equalization has been undone by governments giving tax cuts to profitable corporations and high income individuals, giving boutique tax credits to only certain parts of the population and replacing progressive tax systems with flat tax systems.  Results of unequal social benefits include lack of affordable housing (violating Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs), high student debt and less  job security.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour has been a contentious issue.  The ruling social democratic party in the province has said it is not fair for a single parent to work 50 hours a week and then have to stop at the foodbank to feed the family.  Review of research states the premise behind ‘a minimum wage policy supported by a strong social policy is an efficient mechanism against poverty and income erosion of the poorest households.  Minimum wage is one of the instruments which can control wage disparity and in this way reduce income inequality’.

An editorial view in the Calgary Herald, April 22, 2018  ‘Meddling with Wages’ (meddling-with-wages) argues against increasing the minimum wage :

‘a higher minimum wage of $15 will add further pain to employers and hurt those the measure is intended to benefit.’

The editorial implies that the single parent referred to in above paragraph does not happen very often and only occurs for two per cent of the provincial population.  The editorial  then goes on to state that most of the two per cent are not single parents, but youth getting a start in the labour force by working part time while living at home.

‘ The minimum wage was never intended to be something a single person could support a family on.  Raising the minimum wage….further imperils the the viability of small businesses and creating greater incentive to trim by shedding jobs and cutting hours.

Canadians are helping low-income families through generous supports from both the federal and provincial governments .  More should be done to lift people out of poverty, of course, but it should be achieved with programs that boost their skills and increase their employability.  It should  not be done by clumsy government meddling.’

Blog author’s comments:  Writer states that the minimum wage was  never intended to be something a single person could support a family on. Really?  REALLY?   The premise behind a minimum wage policy supported by a strong social policy is an efficient mechanism against poverty and income erosion of the poorest households.  Minimum wage is one of the instruments which can control wage disparity and in this way reduces income inequality.  To say that a young person still living at home does not deserve a wage equivalent to a single parent is like saying all those persons working in sweatshops in Bangladesh also don’t deserve a wage equivalent to the same jobs performed in non-third world countries.  Also, raising the minimum wage helps the economy through increased spending on the necessities of life and more taxes being paid to support social programs.

Two reader comments put a proper perspective on the results of not increasing the minimum wage.  First comment (from Canadian Poverty Institute at Ambrose University) ‘Businesses should pay decent wages’ (pressreader):

 ‘…..If  minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be around $15 today.  While education and training programs may reduce poverty, demands for austerity would cut exactly these programs.  In abdicating responsibility to pay decent wages, business uploads the cost of low wages to government.  Poverty costs the provincial government $7-9 billion annually.

A business model based on poverty wages is untenable. Decent wages are the cost of doing business.

Ensuring a decent income is a shared responsibility.  Individuals are doing their part by working.  Business must do its part by paying people appropriately, not relying on government and taxpayers to pick up the tab.’


Opinion letter from second reader ‘Creating a more humane province’ (pressreader):

‘By concentrating heavily on the economics of the minimum wage (and indeed, low wages in general), the editorial misses the central point that wages are more about increased opportunity for inclusion and participation.  To deny an expansion of these dimensions to low-income workers, simply because of stereotypes, economic short-termism and the assertion that only two per cent of people actually work for minimum wage, reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be a citizen of this province.

I’m glad our provincial government continues to act in the interests of ordinary citizens and realize that the expansion of justice has a cost.  A higher minimum wage, together with the provision of living wages, is the price we can and should pay for the creation of a more just, humane and inclusive province.’

Then there are those who have no regard for left-wing politics.  An example is Calgary Herald editorial comment: ‘How soon we forget the economic carnage of left-wing policies’ (calgaryherald). The argument made is that:

‘those who ignore socialist history are doomed to repeat it…..If nobody had ever tried left-wing policies before, we might be justified in giving this “new” socialism a chance.  Unfortunately, the world has long been a laboratory for socialist policies with mostly disastrous results.

Democratic socialism has left valuable legacies – like subsidized, widely available health care and education – but also has created a lot of economic carnage.  During the 1970s, big-spending, left-wing governments in Canada, Scandinavia and Great Britain created high unemployment and sluggish growth before buckling under the weight of their taxes and debt…

……The province’s premier doesn’t understand, or perhaps doesn’t care, that raising taxes makes struggling citizens poorer, and just transfers wealth from the already wounded private sector to the public sector.

She wants to appease her union comrades by massively raising the minimum wage , which will raise inflation , hurt less profitable industries and reduce employment…..How did our collective memories become so short?’

Reader’s opinion letter ‘Right-wing policies fail’ (pressreader) in response to this editorial states:

 ‘This column is nonsense….The highest rate of unemployment in the U.K. in recent years were under the reign of Margaret Thatcher.  Currently, the only people who benefit from the right wing U.K. government’s policies are the rich.

Food banks, unknown in my younger years, are common and very necessary.

It’s also true that the province’s unemployment rate is unacceptable, but to criticize the premier is wrong.  If our economy had been less dependent on oil and gas, we would be better off.

The right-wing trickle-down economic theory is utterly discredited.’


As noted in the above, there has been much that has been good about democratic socialism, but there also has been negative outcomes to democratic socialism.  One negative is what we will call ‘selective’ democratic socialism  where certain members of society get more social benefits than others.

Examples of ‘selective’ democratic socialism:

Women not being paid same amount as men for same job – Unions have forced the private sector to enforce social benefits such as eight hour day, overtime pay, vacation and sick pay, etc., and  above all equal pay for equal work, but the private sector in many cases still has neglected to pay women the same wage for doing same job as men.

There are many who object to the wages and pensions federal and provincial civil and public servants receive. They say these employees are paid too much money, thus causing economic concerns.  The irony of this negativity is that one reason why the budgets for civil, public and union employees is higher is that women are actually paid the same wage as men doing the same job.

It would be nice if right-wing financial think tanks used some outside the box thinking and conducted studies on how much of the budgets of unionized employees is dedicated to paying women equally to men.  Or, vice versa, how much more money would it take to pay women in the private sector equally to men?

Keep minimum wages low and don’t  consider living wages ‘Selective’ democratic socialism allows the top employees (elite one per cent and the rich) to outpace wages of those at the bottom.  Then, because they have the money to do so, they will bypass the democratic social programs of health care and public schools to pay for elite services of private health care and private schools.

Married/Coupled person get more benefits than singles and the poor (singles often excluded from these benefits) – Many persons leaning to political right and working in the private sector view defined contribution public pensions to be unfair as they perceive money for these pensions to be coming from the public purse.  However, they also refuse to recognize that singles receiving public pensions are supporting/subsidizing the public pension plans of married/coupled persons.  While married/coupled persons are receiving their public pensions, they have been given a boutique tax credit where they get to pension split (benefit added on top of benefit), thus paying less income tax.  Singles don’t get to do this and poor married/coupled persons do  not get the same benefits from pension splitting as the rich.  Yet another level of ‘selective’ democratic socialization is added to the mix when widowed persons (who now technically are single) get a supplementary public pension from their deceased spouses.

It is very difficult for political parties to eliminate the unfair pension splitting tax credit for fear of being voted out. A solution to making the playing field fair for singles versus married/coupled persons could be to give singles a fully refundable tax break during their pension years that is equivalent to amounts received in pension splitting by married/coupled persons.   For the widowed person’s public pension marital manna benefit, a solution to remedy this could be to give the widowed spouse whatever is left of the pension in a lump sum just like single deceased persons receive in their estates upon dying.  Again, it would be nice if financial think tanks would use some outside the box thinking to evaluate how fair the public pension system is to singles versus married/coupled persons and to analyze who really is getting the bigger slice of the pie.

Affordable housing prices out of reach for singles and poor families – Another ‘selective’ democratic socialist outcome is when affordable housing solutions are put in place, but the poor still pay more per square foot  for this housing.  The housing prices are out of whack when rich proportionally pay less per square foot (often the bigger the house the less they seem to pay per square foot), but ‘ever’ singles, early divorced persons and poor families pay more.  As a result, they also pay more in housing and education taxes, real estate fees and mortgage interest charges than the rich since these are based on price and not the square footage of the housing.

What better evidence is there of this than the case where a single person from San Francisco created a  ‘pod’ in the living room of an apartment so he could have a private place to sleep instead of the couch (singles-deserve-affordable-housing). Another is ‘free rent for sex’ advertisements resulting from the out of control Vancouver housing market (pressreader.)

Then there is the insanity of the charmed lives of the rich building luxurious playhouses for their children (pressreader).  These playhouses range from $7,000 to $100,000 and may include electricity, fireplaces and cabinets.  The sleeping pod of the San Francisco single man could probably be the size of the doghouse for the pets of the children owning these playhouses.

‘Selective’ democratic socialism where families get social benefits and singles are excluded – Many government and business financial solutions and social programs appear to include only families with singles being excluded.  One example is Habitat for Humanity who build houses for families only, not singles.

‘Selective’ democratic socialism above all means FAMILIES RULE – Government and politicians in their discussions talk mainly about family, family, family and the middle class instead of talking about ‘families and individuals’.  Singles are rarely included in the discussions.  ‘Selective’ democratic socialism by definition is exclusionary and selects families to receive benefits with singles rarely being included equally in the benefits.


These are just a few examples of ‘selective’ democratic socialism.  How positive or negative democratic socialism has been is in the eye of the beholder.  However, it is very hard to say that there have been more negatives than  positives when one looks at the list of all the accomplishments of union rights and democratic socialism.

Now, if only ‘ever’ singles, early divorced singles and poor families were included equally to other members in society in democratic social formulas, the world would be an even better place.

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.




These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

There has been much discussion lately about Employment Insurance (EI) in Canada particularly in those provinces who have been hit hard by the crash in oil prices.

There is also much that is unequal in how EI is paid out and the ruling Liberal party has stated that they will be looking at reforming the EI system.  One example is most Albertans need 700 hours of work to qualify for EI in sharp contrast to the 420 hours of work required for most Atlantic Canadians.

With inequities in how EI is paid out, one also needs to look at how much EI is paid out for maternity/paternity leaves.  It is very difficult to find statistics on how much EI is paid out for maternal/paternal leave versus that paid for the rest of the population (those who have lost their jobs).

Current Rules

EI maternity benefits are offered to mothers who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. The 15 weeks can start as early as eight weeks before the expected date of birth, and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.

EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. A maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits is available to parents. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of benefits.

Many companies top up their EI benefits for maternal/paternal benefits to one year.

Who pays for EI?

Every employed person pays EI premiums up to maximum of $930.60 per year (in 2015) plus employer contributions.

How are EI dollars used in maternal/paternal leaves?

For maternal/paternal EI leave, all things being equal, it is understood that each working parent will pay EI premiums.

One could say that with the birth of two children, the EI premiums paid by each parent have been used up.  With the birth of each additional child after two children, the parents have not only used up their EI premiums and are now drawing from the EI system that has been paid for by their employers and other Canadians.  In addition, if they are unemployed and have used EI premiums for two children, they again are drawing monies from the EI system that have been paid for by their employers and other Canadians.

Now consider those persons who have paid EI premiums, have never had any children and have been gainfully employed throughout their entire lives without drawing any EI benefits.  These persons are supporting/subsidizing those parents who have taken maternal/paternal leaves for their children.

Singles are forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits for not only one generation, but possibly two generations (if single works from age 25 to 65 years, span of 40 years could mean paying for more than one generation).  In addition to being forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits, there is the expectation to contribute to wedding/baby shower gifts for fellow generations (again could possibly be for more than one generation), but singles never get anything in return.  (This paragraph was added to post on April 20, 2016).


The Liberal party, with the present crash in oil prices, has actually used some outside the box thinking and given extra EI benefits to those older employees who have never used EI benefits in the past.  Long-tenured workers in the 12 regions identified in the budget as suffering the sharpest jumps in joblessness will be eligible for an extra 20 weeks of benefits to a maximum of 70 weeks.

Another outside the box thinking idea should be rebating at least some EI premiums back to senior employees without children who have never used EI benefits throughout their working lives.  They deserve as much for having supported families for many, many years.


For a person (‘ever’ single and married/coupled persons without children) who has been gainfully employed for forty years and paid an average of $900.00 per year (which is now at a maximum of $930.60 per year), the Lost Dollar Value would be $36,000 per person.(Updated April 10, 2016 as review of data over a couple of decades reveals EI amounts have been as low of approximately $800.00 to high of over $1000.00.)

ADDENDUM  (April 7, 2016)

For some who have applied for EI benefits this can be a demoralizing process, particularly if the person processing the application on the other side of the table is not very helpful. Families using EI for maternal/paternal  benefits do not have to face these obstacles.

‘Ever’ singles (never married, no kids) are never recognized or thanked for the contributions they have made to support families, one big contribution being EI benefits.  Adding insult to injury, all political parties over the years have used extra EI monies collected from employees and employers to pad budgets not related to EI.

“Ever’ singles in their senior years face huge obstacles in attaining the same financial standard of living as families and married/coupled persons because they are always forced to pay more and get less.  They also are not given the same level of benefits such as pension splitting which can provide thousands of dollars in tax savings for married/coupled seniors.

Financial fairness for ‘ever’ singles requires outside the box thinking.  One idea would be to give ‘ever’ senior singles a $2,000 or $3,000 annual totally refundable tax credit that would provide an extra $200-$300 per month to compensate for the EI monies they have given to families over the years.  (It would be very easy to identify ‘ever’ singles as marital status  is a required piece of information on tax returns.)

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

In the featured post of this blog ‘Six Reasons why Married/Coupled People are able to Achieve More Wealth than Singles’ (six-reasons),  the sixth reason states that married/coupled persons are able to achieve more wealth because they receive two inheritances, while singles receive only one.  (All  things being equal it is assumed that spouses will receive an inheritance from each side of the family).

Research suggests that the average Canadian inheritance is $100,000.  This does seem somewhat understated, especially since the average Canadian house is now worth $400,000 plus.

Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” (Capital_in_the_Twenty-First_Century) describes how inherited wealth is growing at a much faster pace than economic growth leading to not just a highly unequal society, but to a society of oligarchy, to a society where inherited wealth will dominate, and patrimonial capitalism.

At the present time inherited wealth is outpacing economic growth because capital is tending to produce real returns of 4 to 5 percent while economic growth is much slower at a rate of 2 to 3 percent.

Inherited wealth for married/coupled persons will develop at a much faster pace than inherited wealth for single persons not only because of two inheritances, but also because the rate of return (rule of 72) (Rule_of_72) will also increase the total net worth for the two inheritances. The result is that low income and middle class singles will more likely have difficulty maintaining a decent income level throughout their working lives and into their retirement years in comparison to married/partnered persons.

Outside the Box Thinking

All things being equal, since singles are at a financial disadvantage (investment potential, costs more for singles to live, married/coupled persons receive more in benefits,etc.) in comparison to their married/coupled siblings, parents should think about dividing inheritance between their children so that the single child receives an additional 20%-25% of his/her share of the inheritance.  (added January 14, 2016)


A value of $100,000 lost will be added to the list.  This is probably grossly understated since, first, inheritances are likely higher than $100,000, and second, the rule of 72 growth has not been added since it is not possible to calculate.  (However, using rule of 72, a rate of return of 3.5 per cent would double the original $100,000 in twenty years.)

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advicel)




These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to be used as personal or financial advice.

(The next four posts will consist of four parts. Parts 1 and 2 will be two published Opinion letters, Part 3 will be two Opinion letters published by readers in response to letter in Part 2. Part 4 will be author’s response to the two reader letters in Part 3.)

(This Opinion letter was published in a local newspaper on June 24, 2015. The Conservative party was ousted by the Liberal party in the October, 2015 election. Proper names have been removed. Since published letters are restricted to number of words that can be published, some additional information is added in italics to this article.)

In the June 17, 2015 edition of a local newspaper, a Conservative Member of Parliament states that the Conservatives remain committed to seniors through various measures they have implemented since 2006. This includes targeted tax relief where a single senior can now earn $20,360 and a senior couple $40,720 before paying federal income tax. He states that approximately 400,000 seniors (or 7 to 8% of total Canadian seniors) have been removed from the tax rolls altogether, (he neglects to state federal tax rolls only). This year, he says there is more good news for seniors by reducing the minimum withdrawal for RRIFs (Registered Retirement Income Funds) and introducing a new Home Accessibility Tax Credit (this neglects to recognize that not all seniors own homes).

The above so called tax relief benefit for seniors allows federal tax relief for senior singles equal to $1,697 per month and for senior couples $3,393 per month. The tax relief for senior singles hardly covers a rent or mortgage payment of $1,200 and $250 for food per month (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need), but amply covers this amount for a senior couple. For a couple $1200 for rent or mortgage and $500 for food leaves $1693 (or 50% of $40,000) for other necessities and maybe even a nice little vacation all tax free.

The BMO Retirement Institute Report-Retirement for One-By Chance or Design 2009 and states the following:

‘the present tax system is set up to give a huge advantage to married/coupled people with singles who were never married or were divorced at some point throughout their entire working career usually subsidizing married/coupled people’. (It is interesting to note that this statement in the original article appears to have been removed and is no longer present in URL shown above).

From Russell Investments ‘Spending Patterns in Retirement’, February 2010 it is stated that:

‘government transfers, such as CPP and OAS are generally not sufficient to cover the Essentials of Retirement-less than 70% coverage for the average retiree, and as a little as 30% for higher-income retirees. This problem is magnified for single retirees. For example, in the $35,000-$60,000 income category, couples spend only about 12% more than singles on essentials (i.e. food, housing, and clothing), yet receive about 80% more in government transfers’.

The senior population includes about 13% of ‘ever’ single seniors (never married, divorced or widowed) and divorced single seniors (the younger persons are when divorced, the more likely they are to be poor as seniors) and about 43% widowers, (who receive marital manna benefits like pension splitting while married and survivor pension benefits). It is a well-documented fact that singles require 60 to 70% income of married/coupled people depending on whether they rent or own a home with 70% likely being the more accurate figure (Moneysense, BMO Retirement Institute Report-Retirement for One-By Chance or Design, etc.).

So how does the Conservative tax relief program for seniors help ever-single seniors? It doesn’t. Instead, with the addition of marital manna benefits such as pension splitting and survivor benefits, individuals/singles are financially made to be not even 50% worthy of total married/coupled tax relief, but rather less than 50% of married/coupled tax relief. And immigrant families are also financially made to be more income worthy than Canadian-born and immigrant senior individuals/singles.

Governments, businesses and society all talk about ‘family, family, family’, but singles continue to be ‘kicked out’ or deemed ‘less worthy’ than married/coupled people in the ‘family’. The Conservative Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and Members of Parliament remain financially illiterate in individual/singles financial affairs.

The continued financial discrimination of singles must be eliminated by recognizing what it truly costs for ever-singles and divorced/separated senior singles to live in this country. If programs such as pension splitting for married/coupled seniors and survivor benefits for widows continue to be added, then at the same time, ever-single and divorced single seniors must be given equal financial status through enhanced programs such as GIS and 60-70% enhancement of singles’ income baselines over married/coupled person’s and widow baselines. Sixty per cent of couples’ tax relief $40,720 income equals $24,432 ($2,036 per month) and 70% of $40,720 equals $28,504 ($2,375 per month).

The Conservative Member of Parliament’s article is titled ‘Seniors play an increasingly important role in our society’. Unfortunately, married/coupled and widowed seniors are deemed to play a more financially important role than ever-singles or divorced/separated early in life singles even though singles have supported married/coupled and widowed persons throughout their lifetime through contributions by paying more taxes and getting less in benefits.

The senior population of Canada includes only about 13% of singles and divorced/separated persons, while widows comprise 43% of the senior population. If the marital manna benefits were taken away from the widowed persons (who by the way could now be considered to be living a ‘single’ lifestyle since they are now technically ‘single’) they would be on a more equal instead of a greater financial footing to ever singles and divorced/separated persons. Or, if looked at from another perspective since ever singles and divorced/separated persons comprise only 13% of the senior population, would it really cost that much more to give them the same financial benefits as widows? As citizens of this country senior ever singles and divorced/separated persons deserve and should be treated with same financial respect as widowed seniors.

To continue the common sense and critical thinking of this article, a simple rephrasing of the information is as follows:  Governments need to top up tax free amount for ‘ever’ singles and early divorced/separated senior persons to from $20,0000 to $28,000 (70% of $40,000) plus give to ‘ever’ singles and early divorced/separated persons 70% of whatever benefits are given to widowed persons.  To do nothing or less than this only continues the financial discrimination already been committed against ‘ever’ singles and divorced/separated persons.


Since it costs ‘ever’ single and divorced/separated seniors with rent or mortgage about 70% – 75% of married/couple seniors’ income, lost dollars of 70% for $20,000 extra that married/coupled seniors get tax free or $6,000 per year (age 65 to 90) will be added to the list.  Total value of dollars lost will be $150,000 ($6,000 times 25 for years age 65 to 90).


The blog posted here is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to be used as personal or financial advice.


Part 1 of this series of three articles showed how singles and low income families buying the smallest units in the housing market are forced to pay more for less space while the rich are getting much more while paying less.

From Part 1, information restated here is one example, condos presently being developed in Calgary by a developer in one housing complex includes 1 bed, 1 bath, 1 patio micro-condo of 552 sq. ft. with starting price of $299,900. Two patio, 2 bed, 2 full bath, 2 story 1232 sq. ft. condos were already sold out so price not available. Then there are 2 patio, 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 and 3 story 1830 sq. ft. condos priced from $649,900 to $749,900. Apparently, ultra-deluxe model has master bedroom suite covering entire third 600 sq. ft. floor. The third floor bedroom is bigger than total square footage of $299,900 condo. When price per square foot is calculated for units in the complex, micro-condo is selling for $543 per sq. ft. while three bed condos are selling from $355 to $409 per sq. ft.

So who is more likely to buy micro-condos? Possibly low income couples, single parent with one child, or environmentally conscious, and probably an individual/single or divorced/separated person. Who gets to pay $150 to $200 more per square foot for two-thirds less space? Ripple effects are owners of micro-condos have to proportionately pay more house taxes, education taxes, mortgage interest and real estate fees on less house and less take home pay for biggest lifetime expense. When it is sold, will seller recoup buying price?

One could question how this is any different than gouging like loan-sharking, and pay-day loans rather than the welfare of singles and low income.

As in many parts of the world, parts of Canada are heading for a crisis in affordable housing. Different solutions have been proposed to avert this crisis. One is Attainable Housing (attainyourhome), for example in Calgary, which allows maximum household income of $90,000 for single and dual/parent families with dependent children living in the home and maximum household income of $80,000 for singles and couples with no dependent children living in the home. While this method allows singles and low income to enter the housing market with a low down payment, it does not alleviate the problem of insane upside-down pricing of housing as outlined in the example shown above. Another solution that has been proposed is an affordable housing action plan of inclusionary zoning where a certain percentage of new housing units built would be social and community housing partly funded by government programs, and a certain percentage of new housing units would be affordable rental or ownership housing units built by the private sector. However, developers and the housing associations will argue this will not work and neighbors continue to have a “not in my backyard” mentality.

Regardless of the above proposed solutions, outside the box thinking is required for affordable housing. How about the following suggestions?


Solution 1 – for a housing complex as identified in the above outrageous pricing example, prices should be set where the base price of the unit with the smallest square footage cannot be more than the base price of the unit with largest square footage within the complex. Any changes and upgrades by the buyer would be added to the base price. (In the above example the base price of the 552 square foot condo could only be $355 per square foot to match the cheapest price of the biggest per square foot unit in the complex.

Solution 2 – Charges for house taxes, education taxes, and real estate fees should be based on square footage, not the price of the housing unit.  This would provide fairness where fees are based on largest unit and become proportionately less on smaller units. (Added January 7, 2016)

Solution 3– charge a fee such as a carbon tax fee for units greater than a certain number of square feet. For example, allow a maximum size of 2500 square ft. for a housing unit (assumption is that there is no need for excessive amounts of square footage in housing). For anything greater than 2500 square feet, charge an extra fee to the buyer with an incremental increase in the fee for every additional 500 square feet of space. (The rich have been paying less and getting more square footage while using non-renewable resources plus water at an alarming rate, i.e. 5000 square foot log cabin using twelve logging trucks filled with harvested logs and a showhome that has seventeen sinks). The monies collected from these fees could be used to build more affordable housing.

The following are excerpts from two published articles:

  • MoneySense, Sept./Oct., 2015, page 17 ‘Two ways to cool white-hot home prices’ (ABBREVIATED VERSION) (

“Concern should not be for how much houses cost, but how out of reach home ownership has become for Canadians….Developers motivated by profit have built mostly smaller one and two bedroom condo units…There is also rapidly increasing rental rates due to a scarcity of new rental units….One solution-taxing housing, not income. We don’t currently pay tax on the profit earned from the sale of our primary residence. We do, however, pay progressive tax on the income we earn. Thomas Davidoff, economics professor at Sauder University, uses himself as an example and selling a house in Vancouver for a large profit. ‘I was wrong about the prices, wrong about the future value, and I was still rewarded for my dumb luck’. He compares this to his professional life, where he spent the better part of 10 years completing a bachelor, master’s degree and PhD. Today, he pays the government $0.42 in tax for every dollar he earns. ‘Getting my PhD damn near killed me. Why is my dumb luck rewarded but my hard work penalized?’….He suggests the federal government tax capital gains made on the sale of a property. The tax could also be progressive. More important is what a new tax structure would do to affordability. By taxing property profits, you reduce the number of speculators and real estate investors who help to inflate housing profits. This would be politically challenging, since homeowners are a politician’s biggest voting block….Still, those elected to political office need to take initiative—and put housing affordability for the many before the political aspirations of a few. To do nothing would mean we accept that $1 million for an average home is the new norm in Canada”.


  • Calgary Herald, September 12, 2015, page F3, ‘Builders frame up the coming year’ (calgaryherald):

“Canadian Home Builder’s Association- Tally Hutchinson, president ‘Our message on affordability is being heard. We still believe there are some large issues on the table that need to be ironed out. One being inclusionary zoning’….This zoning would require the private sector to construct and sell a percentage of units within a development at a pre-determined percentage, below market price….’The issue we have with inclusionary zoning is that it transfers that broader societal obligation of subsidized housing onto a small group of homeowners. We believe these costs should be shared by all members of a community, not just those who are buying new homes for condos. It still is a large issue on the table that needs to be ironed out’.”

The blog posted here is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.