(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 –

It is a known fact, as presented by the experience of this blog author, that present tax systems benefit the wealthy and married while compromising low income families and singles.  However, most political parties fail to acknowledge this and/or fail to do anything about it.

The following two excellent articles describe different aspects of the Canadian tax system problem.  In addition as to why tax systems disparage certain groups, particularly low income families and singles, it may be that political parties unknowingly leave out certain groups because they don’t do the necessary work or have tunnel vision about including, for instance, singles in their financial formulas.


Article #1:  ‘Panel process obscures what need to be done’ by Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta (panel-gives-political-cover-to-public-service-cuts

“With much fanfare, Alberta’s UCP (United Conservative Party) government has appointed the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances to recommend a path to balance its budget. Unfortunately, the entire project is compromised from the outset because the panel’s mandate ties one of its hands behind its back.

Budgets have two components: revenue and expenses. However, the panel’s mandate specifically excludes any consideration of changes necessary to the way our government generates revenue — which means that its job is restricted to recommending cuts to Alberta’s public services…..

The panel is designed to provide a rigged rationale for making big cuts to public services, by not even considering the better alternative of paying for our public services through the kinds and levels of taxation that all other provinces use for that purpose…..(Alberta is the only province without a provincial tax)…..

The Kenney government’s plans….. have already adopted a massive tax cut for Alberta’s largest and wealthiest corporations, making our government’s significant shortage of tax revenue even worse. Our tax system was already by far the least effective in the country at raising revenue, to the extent that adopting the tax system of any other province would raise between $11.2 and $21.5 billion in additional revenue every year, which would more than cover our current deficit of $6.7 billion and allow for much-needed quality improvements to health care, education and other services…..

The inescapable truth is that this panel is nothing but a political gimmick to give the UCP government a pretext to make deeply unpopular, ideological cuts to the public services we all need and value.

Obviously, more services will be turned over to the whims of private corporations. Other services and programs will disappear from public budgets altogether, but we all know the real costs never disappear. Instead they are shifted to the pocketbooks of Alberta families and paid for individually rather than collectively through our tax system.

How our government decides to handle its budget situation is a choice. They can fix our deficient revenue system so we can properly fund our services, or they can make deep cuts. The mandate of the panel makes it abundantly clear that the UCP government has already decided on the latter and simply appointed the panel to tell it what it wants to hear.

Albertans should reject this panel’s biased mandate, hold Premier Kenney to his word that more funding — not less — will be allocated to the front lines of our public services, and demand a process that fairly considers the alternative of revenue reform to properly support and enhance our public services.”

Article #2:   ‘This election campaign, let’s own up to Canada’s two-tiered tax system’ by Norm McKee (this-election-campaign-lets-own-up):

“Why is no political party talking about the Panama Paper and Paradise Paper tax disclosures?

“Because something is legal does not mean it’s not a scandal.”

If there is a serious problem, and no one acknowledges it, does the problem really exist? And why is no political party talking about the Panama Paper (2016) and Paradise Paper (2017) disclosures in this federal election campaign, which is only 10 weeks away?

All political parties are mute about the thousands of affluent Canadians who continue to legally use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The estimated $5 billion annually, or $25 billion over five years in lost revenues through “individual” tax avoidance practices, are staggering amounts. When affluent Canadians do not pay their share of taxes, as per Revenue Canada’s published tax schedules, Canadians must make up the difference.

It’s important to be clear. The use of tax havens by individuals to avoid paying taxes is not about greed or any person breaking the law. Despite what our federal government says, it has nothing to do with tax evaders, complex tax scams, tax audits or the CRA getting more money to combat tax cheats.  This is a political issue about Canada’s two-tier tax system that benefits the rich while doing immense financial harm to other Canadians, and that diminishes the quality of life for all.

Silence by political parties should not be an option. Canadians should demand that political parties engage in a frank and open discussion about “individual” tax avoidance prior to the October election. The cost to Canadians is too high to wait four more years until the next federal election.

We did not have the benefit in the 2015 federal election of the Panama and Paradise Paper disclosures that identified thousands of Canadians who used tax havens. We have this information now. The 2019 election is an opportunity for Canadians to realize tax reform that prohibits affluent Canadians from using tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Failure to address this issue now will mean four more years of great disparity in Canada’s tax system.

It’s worth noting that U.S. citizens cannot legally use tax havens for the purpose of avoiding taxes. In the U.S., “individual” tax equality is sacred.  This is not the case in Canada, where past governments have encouraged Canada’s financial élite to legally use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

No one has anything good to say about tax avoidance, specifically tax havens used by affluent Canadians. Yet no political party or politician is doing anything about it. This can only change if “average” Canadians link the federal election with the funding of Pharmacare, economic, environmental and social initiatives, with new monies via tax reform. We need to pressure all political parties to address this scandal.

Historically, tax avoidance has been a taboo subject for all political parties.  No political party was pleased by the Panama and Paradise Paper disclosures. Instead of changing tax laws to abolish Canada’s two-tier tax system, the government response is increased funding to the CRA to address tax evaders, tax cheats and tax scams. Although these actions should be applauded, they do nothing to fix the root problem.

Canadians don’t like to think current and past government favour the financially privileged. That would be a serious violation of trust. But the evidence is clear that this is happening, and will continue, unless we make our voices heard before the October election.

The goal of The Grassroots Coalition for Tax Reform,, is to pressure political parties to address tax avoidance in their election platforms, specifically affluent Canadians who use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.”


What the above two articles do not convey is the anger and despair that certain Canadian groups feel about the tax avoidance that the wealthy and married can carry out within legal limits of the law and financial formulas.  Those disadvantaged by tax avoidance are damn tired of subsidizing the wealth of the elite and the married.  The following is an opinion letter by this blog author that may or not be published in a local newspaper.


Recent opinion letters in local newspapers talk ad nauseam about faults of one political party over the other.

Politicians are only interested in vote getting.  Far right wing Conservatives and Christian right  ‘sell their souls to the Devil’ so they can get their agendas passed even if it is not the will of the majority.  Liberals play their ‘one upmanship’ over Conservatives by continuing unfair Conservative financial formulas such as TFSAs (TFSA ABUSE OF THE PLAN) by not making changes to the formula so that financial abuse of TFSAs cannot occur.  Libertarians talk about personal financial responsibility but never unfair financial practices.

Conservative Jason Kenney attacks lowly wage earners (teens) and reverses anything and everything Rachel Notley put in place including replacing Notley merit based appointees with his cronies.  Conservative Stephen Harper TFSAs benefit wealthy to point where they may be able to claim GIS intended for low income persons because TFSA investments are not declared as income.  Conservative Blake Richards has initiated Motion 110 as a proposed financial reprieve for parents who lose infant to death, but other parents, siblings and persons who experience tragic deaths such as losing someone to gunshots, etc. don’t get an equivalent benefit.

Conservative Andrew Scheer has proposed tax free EI maternity benefits but families already receive tax free CCB benefits and likely have one spouse working.  Seriously, you want to give tax free EI maternity benefits but jobless singles and single parents have to pay taxes on their EI benefits????

Liberals line wealthy family pockets by calculating tax free CCB benefit clawback for $30,450 to $65,976 net income portion and two children at 13.5%, but only 5.7% for portion over $65,976 and up to approx. $188,000.

Elizabeth May, Green Party applauds social justice but has lobbied to repeal legislation that denies pension benefits to spouses who have married after the age of 60 or retirement even though these newly married spouses haven’t contributed one dollar to that pension plan.

Major theme of the above is that all political parties have implemented ‘gaslighting financial formulas they say help the middle class’ but instead promote socialism for the wealthy and married (LOST DOLLAR VALUE) while pushing low income families and singles further towards poverty, ensure young persons likely will never be able to leave their parents’ homes with home ownership being a major obstacle.

This blog author’s federal vote will be submitted as a spoiled ballot as there is not one political party who gives a damn about social justice and financial equality.”

(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 about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

(This opinion letter was published in a local newspaper with some modifications as only a limited amount of words are allowed in opinion letters for newspapers.)


Whether the carbon tax is right or wrong is in the eye of the beholder.  However, one thing that is being done right is the NDP carbon tax rebate program.  Finally, there is a program which follows semblance of equivalence scales for cost of living.

The NDP 2017 carbon tax rebates will be $200 for one adult household up to net income of $47,500, $300 for two adults up to net income $95,000, $230 for one adult with one child up to net income $47,500, and $360 for two adults with two children up to net income $95,000.

Equivalence (cost-of-living) scales like OECD and square root scales show cost of living is spread out over number of persons in family units, not times number of persons in family units.  Needs for housing space, electricity, etc. will not be three times as high for a household with three members than for a single person. With the help of equivalence scales each household type in the population is assigned a value in proportion to its needs.  Cost of living for one adult household is more expensive than for two adult household.  The StatsCan square root equivalence scale shows that if single adult is equivalent to 1.0, the scale for one adult with one child is 1.4, two adults 1.41, two adults with one child 1.73, two adults with two children 2.0 and two adults with three children 2.24 (full table can be found at statcan).

There never will be a perfect way of doling out dollars including rebate dollars since it can be shown that the more income family units make, the more they will usually spend. In this case, the income level is generously based on net income, not gross income. Winners and losers show net income of $95,000 for two adult family unit is quite generous and are the winners. The $230 rebate for adult with one child with net income up to $47,500 could be considered the losers.  This same logic can also be applied to the rebate dollar amounts.

Finally, there is a political party that has attempted to provide a financial program that follows equivalence scales for family units instead of giving more benefits to married or coupled families with children. Such attempts mean more financial fairness for singles never married, no children without giving unequal and multiple boutique tax credits and other benefits to married or coupled family units with and without children.

(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 about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

A recent opinion letter in a local newspaper prompted this blog post.  The letter again targets the Alberta NDP party for socialism of the rich instead of the Conservative party.  “Westhead must be too busy to read history books” (since) he states: ‘Albertans do want to return to the past; but not to this misfit ideological premise about socialism for the rich and austerity for everyone else that the NDP conjured.  While Mr. Westhead mistakenly believes there was socialism for the rich in Conservative Alberta, his solution is a failing socialist ideology for all.  Your government has downloaded a debt, taxes and policies that are a burden to families….voting Conservatives in again in 2019 – Alberta will return to the free enterprise, socially reliable province it once was”. He is referring to many Harper oil pipelines (good) and NDP carbon tax (bad).

Re statements on socialism and left-wing politicians, analysis shows federal and provincial Conservative and Liberal policies surreptitiously and purposefully eliminate the middle class, thus practising selective social democracy (socialism).  Advertently or inadvertently, future class system will consist mainly of the poor, upper-middle class and wealthy while favouring married or coupled family units with multiple ‘marital manna benefits’.

During federal Conservative and Liberal party reigns, even while reducing social programs helping vulnerable populations of aboriginals and veterans, introduced programs like TFSAs (Harper 2009) pension splitting (Harper 2007) and OAS clawback (Harper 2011) particularly benefit the wealthy and married or coupled family units.  In OAS clawback only about five percent of seniors receive reduced OAS pensions, and only two percent lose entire amount.  Why should married or family units who have never had children (double income, possible double TFSA and RRSP) be able to ever use pension splitting, no OAS clawback plus tax avoidance schemes for couples while singles get nothing comparable?

During provincial Conservative party forty year reign and oil boom, just 1,048 new affordable housing units in Calgary were built over the past 14 years.  Two thirds of shelter beds in Canada are filled by people who make relatively infrequent use of shelters and are more likely forced into shelters by economic conditions (due to structural factors, the state of housing and labour markets that destine the very poor to be unable to afford even minimum-quality housing).  In 2001, Alberta Conservatives brought in 10% flat tax, raising the tax rate from 8% to 10% for lowest income Albertans.  There never has been an Alberta Advantage for the poor.

Federal Liberals have continued Conservative benefit programs like Canada Child Benefit in perpetuity which is based on income and number of children, but not net worth and assets, so families may receive large tax free child benefits and continue increasing wealth even while already having huge assets.

Elimination of the middle class is also evident in Liberals’ proposed Canada Pension plan enhancements without an increase in minimum wage (canada-pension-plan).  Persons with highest YMPE of $82,700 (massive jump from 2016 $54,900) and forty years of contributions may receive 33 percent CPP benefit or about $2,300 per month, while those making a minimum wage of $15 per hour, $30,000 annual income with forty years of contributions may receive about $800 per month. CPP pensions are dependent on salaries.  CPP contributions are not collected on boutique tax credits.  Low salary equals low CPP retirement pensions.

Calculations of a simplistic nature on $10 minimum wage and 2,000 hours shows that Alberta family with two children and each spouse earning $20,000 without any other deductions or benefits will pay about 15% Federal tax and 10% AB tax for a total of $5,000 each and receive full Canada Child Benefits (CCB) of $12,800.  Family income will equal about $42,800.  CPP pension at age 65 in 2016 dollars may equal about $5,000 per person annually.  If $15 minimum wage or $30,000 each  is applied, total Federal tax and AB tax will be $7,500 each.  Family income will equal $57,800 with full CCB $12,800 benefits since reductions only begin at $30,000.  CPP pension might equal about $7,500 per person.  

Above calculations easily show increased minimum wage income for a poor family benefits everyone through collection of increased taxes, less dependency on government handouts, greater financial well being and CPP retirement benefits for the income earner, and the economy through increased spending on goods and services.

Schizophrenic political systems exist where CPP pension enhancements are controlled federally, but minimum wages are controlled provincially.  The continued unwillingness of government and business to promote minimum wage increases to indexed living wages means the poor will remain in poverty even with pension systems that are supposed to improve financial quality of life as seniors.  The new NDP childcare program is the right thing to do, but it should be balanced by reductions of other boutique credits.  However, this is impossible, again because of provincial versus federal control.  Continuing to add monetary programs for select family groups will continue to drain the financial system if boutique tax credit programs and tax avoidance schemes where upper-middle class and wealthy benefit the most are not eliminated in their entirety.  Net worth and assets need to be included in any financial program so that the poor and lower class benefit the most from these programs.

The effects of this ‘income redistribution’ and ‘culture of dependency’ that the right claims they are not guilty of will result in future generations being ridden with high taxes because of high debt level to service these programs.  Where are the economists and financial advisors for the government so that outside the box solutions for financial equality of Canadians regardless of marital  status and using a balanced approach so that all financial programs are reviewed against each other for financial validity and fairness?  Canadians deserve much better financially from their political parties.

Upside-down financial systems and marital manna benefits have created a nanny state where families want it all and once these benefits are in place, it is very difficult to eliminate them because of voter entitlement.  Upper middle class and wealthy married/coupled persons have been made irresponsible by their own politicians and government.  The right keep talking about overspending, but they fail to mention that their boutique tax credits have resulted in upper-middle class and wealthy not paying their fair share of taxes.

Financial silos (tax-credit) are filled to the brim for families and married persons, but remain empty for singles and the poor.  Pipelines and boutique tax credits without steady rise of minimum wage and greedy oil salaries without tax avoidance capabilities means less tax revenue to fill financial coffers, less food on the table and demeaningly low CPP pensions in retirement for the poor.  Every political party has been guilty of vote getting tactics.  Canadians are fed up and disheartened by the divisive nature of politics which seems to serve only the political parties and their wealthy constituents.

(This post was updated on November 30, 2016).

(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 about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice).


Our last post discussed the financial discrimination of Old Age Security (OAS).  This post discusses the financial discrimination of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

CPP is part of the Pillar 2 plan of Canada’s retirement income system for seniors.  Some of the attributes of the plan are:

  • Federal government and Provinces are joint stewards of the CPP
  • Provides retirement, survivor, and disability benefits
  • Universal coverage of all workers in all industries
  • Employees and employers make equal contributions (4.95% each – 9.9% combined in 2015?) on earnings up to annual maximum of $54,900 (2016)
  • Defined Benefit – up to 25% of the average wage
  • Fully portable
  • Inflation-indexed to CPI
  • Actuarially sound for the next 75 years
  • The maximum CPP benefit for 2016 is $1,092.50 per month.

Unfortunately, most Canadians do not realize that the average Canadian will not receive the maximum CPP on retirement.  In fact, most will only receive about $643 per month of CPP maximum.  Why is this so?

Jim Yiu from ‘Retire Happy’ in his article “How much will you get from Canada Pension Plan in Retirement?” states (words in italics are my words):  

‘When planning for retirement, the first piece of advice given is not to plan on getting the maximum.  When you look at the average payout of CPP, it’s just a little over $643 per month in 2016, which is a long way from the maximum. In other words, not everyone gets the maximum. At the most basic level, the amount you get from CPP depends on how much you put into CPP.

Why is it that so many people do not qualify for the maximum amount of CPP? The best way to answer that is to look at how you get the maximum retirement benefit. Eligibility to receive the maximum CPP benefit is based on meeting two criteria:

  1. Contributions – The first criteria is you must contribute into CPP for at least 83% of the time that you are eligible to contribute. Essentially, you are eligible to contribute to CPP from the age of 18 to 65, which is 47 years. 83% of 47 years is 39 years. Thus, the way to look at CPP is on a 39-point system. If you did not contribute into CPP for at least 39 years between the ages of 18 to 65, then you won’t get the maximum. If so, then you might get the maximum but there is another consideration.
  2. Amount of contributions – Every year you work and contribute to CPP between the age of 18 and 65, you add to your benefit. To qualify for the maximum, you must not only contribute to CPP for 39 years but you must also contribute ‘enough’ in each of those years. CPP uses something called the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) to determine whether you contributed enough. (For 2016 the YMPE is $54,900 – EQUIVALENT TO ABOUT $25 PER HOUR).

Basically if you make less than $53,600 of income in 2015 ($54,900 in 2016), you will not contribute enough to CPP to qualify for a point on the 39-point system…..As you can see, it’s not easy to qualify for full CPP especially with the trend of people entering into the workplace later because of education and people retiring earlier.  If you have 39 maximum years of contribution you’ll get the maximum CPP amount. If you have 20 maximum years of contributions you will get approximately half the maximum (you might get some partial credits for part years).

Planning your retirement needs and income requires some understanding of how much you will get from CPP. Many people either assume they will get the maximum or assume they will get nothing at all because they fear the benefit may not be there in the future. Both these assumptions have significant flaws. Take the time to personalize the planning by understanding how the CPP benefit is calculated and how much you will receive.’


Reasons why CPP is financially discriminatory to singles with low/moderate incomes and the poor:

    1. The YMPE 2016 salary to get maximum CPP benefits is $54,900 (up $1,300 from last year).  If average annual hours of work equals 2,200 hours then YMPE salary will be approximately $25 per hour.  Many singles and the poor do not have $25/hr. jobs.  In addition politicians, government, and businesses generally refuse to increase the minimum wage or ensure a living wage for all Canadians. If the YMPE is increased by $1,300, why aren’t the wages increased by the same amount for the poor so they can also contribute more to CPP?  Even those persons who work faithfully at full time jobs for forty years, but don’t have $25 per hour jobs will not receive full CPP benefits.  (Is this really what they deserve after working faithfully for their country for forty years)?  So who benefits most from CPP?  It is the middle class and wealthy who have at least $25/hr. jobs and, therefore, are able to get full  CPP benefits.
    2. Early retirement – who gets to retire early?  It is generally the upper middle class and wealthy married or coupled family units because of the marital manna benefits they receive, high incomes and the net worth they have.   In reality many of these families really do not need full CPP benefits.  From personal experience of this blog author, some married or coupled spouses will say both spouses do not need to work when really both spouses should be working or because of their high income only need one spouse working.  (To get full  CPP benefits each Canadian born citizen needs to contribute into CPP for at least 39 years between the ages of 18 to 65.   And, Canadians must not only contribute to CPP for 39 years but they must also contribute ‘enough’ to maximum of YMPE in each of these years).
    3. Marital manna benefits – Married or coupled family units have received many marital manna benefits that allows them to achieve more wealth than many singles and the poor.  One such example is the Child Rearing Drop-out Benefit.  CPP benefits may be increased for years that spouse did not generate income because of staying home to rear child from ages 1 to 6.  This is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but those who are more likely to be able to stay home for child rearing are those with healthy incomes.
    4. Perception of financial  need –  Many politicians, governments, and financial planners have misconceived perceptions that financial goals should be for Canadians to have equal or higher pension income than while working.  In other words, if poor, it is okay to always be poor even in retirement.  For middle class or wealthy they say the goal should be equal or more pension income than working income even with high net worth and assets.  In reality, institutions like the OECD states less wealthy need 100% retirement income  of working income, while wealthy need retirement incomes that are much less of working income.  What is left out of these perceptions is quality of life.  Equal or higher pension income than income while working for singles with low/moderate incomes and the poor especially if paying rent or mortgage in retirement often does not equal a good quality of life.
    5. Proposed enhancements to CPP contributions and benefits – Proposed enhancements where CPP retirement pensions will be higher if taken after age 65 and./or will be higher if person works past age 65 are very good things. However, it is likely that singles and the poor are not the ones who will be able to postpone receiving their CPP benefits, and it is also more likely that singles and the poor are the ones who will need to work longer.  As for increasing CPP contributions now so that CPP benefits can be increased in the future, this generally is a good thing; however, the stress of having to contribute more will be more financially distressing for singles with low and moderate incomes and the poor rather than the middle class and the wealthy.


It seems to be more important for politicians and governments to ensure that upper-middle class and wealthy maintain their standard of living than it is to treat ever singles, early divorced singles, single parents and the poor fairly in benefits they receive (cpp).

Upside-down financial systems (upside-down) and marital manna benefits have created a nanny state where married/coupled persons want it all and once these benefits are in place, it is very difficult to eliminate them because of voter entitlement.  Upper middle class and wealthy married/coupled persons have been made irresponsible by their own politicians and government.  Many are not living an equal life style in their retirement, but a much better lifestyle.  A further question is whether these programs will be financially sustainable because upper class and wealthy married or coupled family units have not contributed enough to pay for these benefits.

Much is required of all family units regardless of marital status to educate themselves on what their actual retirement income will be.  If you don’t work, you won’t get CPP.   You won’t get CPP if you don’t work.  You won’t get CPP if you don’t make CPP contributions, for example, working ‘under the table’.  (And, wouldn’t it be nice for parents to pass this financial information onto their children so that their children will also make wise financial decisions)!  Much is required of financial planners to educate themselves on quality of life issues, not just equal or higher pension incomes.  Much is required of politicians and governments to educate themselves on how financially discriminatory many of the pension benefits are and to make changes so that there is financial equality and fairness in distribution of pension benefits for every Canadian,not just middle class married or coupled family units and the wealthy.

(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 about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

When politicians, government and the wealthy continue to perpetuate myths that net worth and assets are too difficult to calculate or should not or cannot be included in financial formulas, this continues to make it possible for the wealthy to maintain their wealth and impossible for singles and the poor to maintain or increase their financial well-being thus resulting in financial discrimination and poverty for these groups.

The following three examples show how inclusion or exclusion of net worth and assets perpetuates the myths proposed by financial analysts, politicians, government and the wealthy.


Affordable Housing (services)

One assistance program in Alberta is Community Housing which is a subsidized rental program. It provides housing to families and individuals who have a low or modest income. Program funding comes from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.To qualify, applicants must be Canadian Citizens, independent landed immigrants, or government sponsored landed immigrants. Assets and belongings cannot exceed $7,000. Assets include, but are not limited to:

  • bank accounts
  • investments (excluding RRSPs)
  • equity in property
  • equity in a motor vehicle (assessed by reviewing the value in the most current Canadian Red Book)


Legal Aid Alberta (legalaid)

Financial Eligibility Guidelines – If income falls within the amounts listed below, person(s) may be eligible for legal representation and to have a lawyer appointed.  Representational services are not free. Repayment will be discussed if a lawyer is appointed.  Legal Aid’s Financial Eligibility Guidelines allow the following eligible monthly income for family size of 1 – $1,638, 2 – $2,027, 3 – $2,885, 4 – $3,120, 5 – $3,354 and 6+ – $3,587.

An example of this is an actual court case going on at the present time.  Legal Aid has refused to assist client’s claim of defence for an estimated $25,000 in legal fees.  Legal Aid says client still has a large amount of property ($500,000 mortgage free), $34,000 in savings, tax free savings account (TFSA), and GICs and mutual funds worth another $21,000, plus $570 a month in old-age security payments with monthly expenses of $1,660.  Legal Aid does not give coverage to individuals with assets in excess of $120,000.  Legal Aid states: “client would be left with well over a half a million dollars in assets even after payment of legal fees.”


Family Tax Credits (tax-credits)

June 11, 2016 Financial Post Personal Finance Plan “Farm Plan Risky for Couple with 4 kids” shows how plethora of tax credits works for this family, Ed 32 and Teresa 33, stay at home spouse have four children ages 5, 3, 1 and newborn.  Government employee Ed brings home $2,680 after monthly tax income.  Net worth is already $502,000 including $200,000 paid for house.  Non taxable Liberal Canada Child Benefit for four children will be $1,811 per month bringing income to $4,491 per month.  (From ages 6 to 17, Canada Child Benefit will be $1,478 per month).


These three examples show how the inclusion or exclusion of net worth and assets benefit the wealthy and families more than singles and poor families.  In Example #1, to receive housing assistance only $7,000 is allowed in assets.  Really, that is it? Compare that to Example 3 where a family already having significant net worth will receive benefit upon benefit upon benefit in addition to Family Tax Credits.  In Example #2, this could be said to be a good case where financial fairness has prevailed.  This client has plenty of net worth and assets to pay for $25,000 legal defence.  When the Legal Aid income scales are analyzed, it is apparent they have at least used some form of equivalence scales (finances). Hallelujah, here is one example where a family unit of two is not assessed at a value times two of that of family unit of one!


This post is just another example of the blatant hypocrisy and upside-down finances that financial analysts, politicians and government, and families perpetuate by not including net worth and assets in all financial formulas across the board whether they are local, provincial or federal or of a service type such as Legal Aid.  The blatant financial discrimination of singles and the poor continues while the wealthy get to write their own ticket to wealth by paying less and increasing wealth.

(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).

One wonders what is the point of politics and politicians when there is such gross financial discrimination (along with violation of human rights) of singles.

One online review describes the purpose of government and politics as follows:

The purpose of politics is to enable the members of a society to collectively achieve important human goals they cannot otherwise achieve individually. Through negotiation, debate, legislation and other political structures, politics procures safety, order and general welfare within the state. The question of the precise ends of politics is one of the greatest, and most inconclusive, in philosophy, as manifested by the divisive, heated debates among political parties.

Government is the regulation of human activity, and politics consists of the processes by which a society decides the nature and extent of that regulation. There are many theories concerning the proper role of politics and what aspects of human life should be politicized.

Politics is often involved in prescribing the rules that govern interhuman relationships. It determines laws regarding marriage, parenting, businesses and contracts. It creates laws regulating educational institutions and civil associations. Money always plays a big role in politics. Much time goes into deciding where public money will come from and how resources will be spent.

The activities of government, politics and politicians, however, can go very wrong especially when certain members of a population are underserved or not served at all.  An example of this is the cultural genocide of indigenous persons and violation of rights of targeted groups such as non-white persons (example:  In USA implementation of voter ID cards that would make it harder for the poor to vote).

This blog has attempted to show financial discrimination of singles.  In a financial world where parents and children rule, singles are an invisible minority.  This blog has also described how singles are financially excluded in a political world where ‘selective’ social democracy rules (singles).  The last decade has been especially financially unkind to singles in which married or coupled persons and parents with children have received the most benefits from the time they are married until the time they are seniors and then widowed (decades).

Politicians and government, both in Canada and the USA, continue to leave singles out of their discussions.  Politicians refer mostly to the middle class and families.  Singles or individuals are not included in the definition of family.  Benefits continue to be targeted more towards families, children, and the middle class, rather than singles and the poor.

Some of the reasons for the financial discrimination of singles are voter entitlements and political parties implementing programs strictly for increasing number of votes.  How decisions for these benefits are arrived at are, indeed, a puzzlement as the premises behind these benefits would never work at a business budget level or a family budget level.

Problems with government budgets and formulas include:

    1. Redistributing monies so that benefits are given to one group (families with children) while another group(singles) is forced to pay for them.
    2. No continuity of benefits from one year to another or from one political party to another.  Benefits may be implemented in one year only to be eliminated in the following year.  Over the years, this may result in one group receiving some benefits, while other groups are never able to receive any of the benefits because of the many changes over the years.
    3. There often appears to be no financial expert consultation on the financial impact or efficacy of the implemented benefits.  An example is the ability of family units with children to receive benefits even though they may be quite wealthy and  not working. The reason for this is that programs have been implemented without taking into account the net worth and assets of the groups receiving the benefits.  As a result of the benefits, these groups may become even wealthier.
    4. Financial formulas are created in isolation (federal separate from provincial).  This creates scenarios where benefits upon benefits upon benefits are doled out allowing some groups to achieve considerable incomes levels that they did not have before receiving the benefits.
    5. There appears to be no financial accountability to ensure financial fairness for all citizens.

If businesses or families and  individuals operated their budgets in this manner where the money cannot be followed, they probably would be considered by financial analysts to be poorly run, face audits from the Canada Revenue Agency and possibly even become bankrupt.


So, again the question must be asked:  What is the point of politics and politicians when programs are implemented that defy the financial intelligence of basic math, budgeting and common sense financial principles resulting in financial discrimination of certain groups like singles?

(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). 


From CBC News-”New Canada Child Benefit program payments” July 20, 2016 (cbc) – Analysis of new Liberal Canada Child Benefit program and old Conservative UCCB program

The old Universal Child Care Benefit or UCCB (Conservative) provided $160 per child per month for children under six and $60 per month for children aged six to 17. That money was paid out to families regardless of income level.  The Conservative philosophy was that there should be some component of assistance for families that was universal.  However, this benefit was to be included as income and required payment of taxes.

Conservative universal approach could be viewed as all families should receive some component of assistance.  Just because they make a lot of money they should not be penalized, they should not be losing out and not getting any government benefits,  (Note: only for families, ever singles don’t matter).

The new Liberal program Canada Child Benefit (CCB) begins this month and combines the CCTB and UCCB into one payment that is entirely income tested up to $190,000 of income. The new payment is also tax-free making it more expensive than the UCCB.   Less than $30,000 in net annual household income generates benefit $6,500 for each child under six and $5,400 for children aged six through 17 tax free. 300,000 fewer children would live in poverty in 2016-17 compared with 2014-15.  The Liberals also reduced the tax rate from 22.5 per cent to 20 per cent for middle-class Canadians earning between $44,700 and $89,401 a year.  The Liberal (Trudeau) approach is that these benefits should be based on income testing.  Wealthier families can carry more of the load…they don’t need additional government handouts.

Since provinces also provide some child benefits, there was concern that provinces would clawback CCB from children on social assistance.  So far eight provinces has indicated they will not clawback CCB.

Illustration provided shows Ava Williams as a Toronto social worker with a net income of about $30,000, who lives in community housing. As a single mother of four children between the ages of six and 17, she says the new program will boost her old annual federal benefit payment by about $6,000 per year with added benefit of the new payment being tax free.  Something does not add up for the totals given..  One wonders if she means an additional $6,000 to what she received in 2015.  Assuming her net income is under $30,000 and her children all under the age of 18, it appears she will receive somewhere between $21,000 and $26,000 in child benefits, for a total net income between $51,000 and $56,000 all tax free.  This is in additional to subsidized housing and other possible federal and provincial benefits such as GST/HST credits with no clawback of the benefits..

An example of additional benefits received on a provincial basis with no clawback is Alberta.  In Alberta the non taxable child benefits are applied to working families with children under 18 and a net income starting at $25,500 with phasing out up to less than $41,220 per year.  Total annual maximum benefits for one child could be up $1,863, two children $3,107, three children $4,073, and four children $4,762.  Ava if she lived in Alberta with four children could receive total tax free federal and provincial child benefits of approximately $55,762 plus subsidized housing ($30,000 net income $21,000 CCB and $4,762 Alberta child credits). (There is no clarification on her marital status, which should not matter, but many readers wanted to know where the father was).


Approximately 2500 reader comments from two news articles were reviewed.(not number of readers, as some some readers comment many times)  The majority of comments were classified into the following major categories:

-Negative comments (most were negative)

-Not happy with amounts received between new Liberal and old Conservative benefits or  it is not enough

-Positive comments (very few)

-Bashing of political parties (Liberals versus Conservatives)

-Worried about future debt generated by benefits

-Many comments bashing Ava and where is the father of these children

-Other programs would be more beneficial than the child benefit program

-Program will be abused

-Benefits given for children but seniors and disabled receive much less

-Singles feel they have been left out of process and families of all types bash singles

-Divorce and death of one parent as well as other causes have impact on poverty

-Child benefits not only on federal level, but also provincial level

-In addition to benefits, should also be teaching budgeting and financial responsibility



-Advantages of Child Benefits

-Benefit programs – have lots of other programs in addition to child benefit

-Eighteen years a long time for benefits

-Misconceptions about what is benefit versus welfare

-In addition to benefits, income taxes also cut for middle class

-Net worth and assets

Because of the length of the post, only issues regarding ‘Singles’ and ‘Net Worth and Assets’ will be discussed here.  Other categories will appear at the end of the post for those who wish to review all other categories in their entirety.

Reader comments regarding SINGLES

Single response-We’re sending cheques to families with household incomes up to $190,000/year yet there’s nothing for the 30% of single female seniors living in poverty. There’s a number of programs for single female seniors. I’m sure though that you and I would agree that it’s not enough.

Reader response-For all you single people out there, if you want to get tax free money , you better get married and start having kids because that is the only way you will get a tax shelter.

Single response – Nobody ever wants to help single people with no kids. Ever occur to you that I have no kids because I am responsible and do not want to bring kids into a life of poverty?

Reader response –  According to the left if you are single and no kids you need no help. You are well off and should pay more taxes.

Reader response -or you are selfish and don’t want to spend money on anyone but yourself.

Reader response – Don’t worry, that ‘right person’ is out there somewhere.

Reader Response -Yet other people’s kids will be the ones to take care of you when you are elderly. Don’t you think that’s worth a little bit of investment?

Single response – If the govt had money to throw away they could have reduced the tax rate for all of us, not just those who think they are poor because they gave birth to 4 kids.. Single people get NOTHING, just pay up more.

Reader response – We don’t have another human depending on us for life and those who have taken that responsibility deserve the help managing the full time obligation.

Reader response – I doubt that that is what he meant at all. A sense of responsibility is not selfishness.  Having kids is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Granted, you cannot anticipate every life outcome, but generally speaking a responsible adult has an idea of their finances, and where they expect their finances to be in future. Most adults can actually budget their grocery store purchases – I believe they can budget the price of a child.   And having babies is not a right. Nobody should be under any obligation to financially support a stranger’s kids.

Reader response – You should be asking yourself why you need help if you’re single with no kids.

Reader response -And second, it’s not to say that single people with no kids can’t or shouldn’t receive support, it’s just that why would you need support for being single or having no kids? If you’re also elderly, or disabled, sick or unemployed sure, but being single and having no kids isn’t making it harder for us to live reasonably.

Single response – Hey, maybe all the poor single people – the disabled, etc., will simply die off and make room for all the government-supported kids.

Single response – as a childless middle aged man I am sick of paying for everybody’s kids, especially the Harper garbage boutique tax credits for hockey and ballet school.

Reader response – More likely you don’t get along with women very well or can’t find someone that will have your kid. Ever occur to you that poor kids may not necessarily have been born that way and that layoffs and economical hits create poor kids? That divorce also creates poor kids. Death of a spouse creates poor kids. You can be a millionaire and bring kids into the world and then have your investments tank the next day and you’re poor.

Reader response – If you are single your costs are much, much lower than if you have kids. Your contribution to the economy is also lower. When I go out to dinner my contribution is 5 times what a single person will bring to a restaurant but I still only need one table. This creates jobs as well. My kids go to swimming lessons (jobs and economic boost), they take the bus (jobs and economic boost), eat food and wear clothes and you name it. Grow up.

Reader Response – Single people do not pay more in taxes, that is a lie.

Single response – they certainly don’t get all the freebies (singles)

Reader response – I don’t think it’s that single people with no kids expect support, it’s simply that they perhaps don’t understand why people with kids should get rewarded with their tax money for having babies.

Reader response– Everyone at some point has paid taxes, not just single people. To say that only “single” taxpayers are funding tax benefit programs is hogwash.

Single responseSingle and no kids myself, in my early 50s, barely able to keep a roof over my head even with a full-time job and living frugally. Where’s *my* handout/monthly allowance from the gov’t?


It is clear that families with children (and even some singles) are financially illiterate and have no understanding of what it costs a single person to live.  Living Wage for Guelph and Wellington (2013 living wage of $15.95 per hour), a bare bones program to get low income and working poor families and singles off the street, allows a calculated living wage income for single person of $25,099 with no vehicle, food $279, transit and taxi $221 (includes one meal eating out per month).  (In 2015, the living wage for Guelph and Wellington has been set at $16.50 per hour). Note, this is not Vancouver, Toronto or Calgary where living costs are much higher.

Singles get no benefits except in abject poverty.  In both Liberal and Conservative programs, families with children (including single parents) get the benefits while ever singles and divorced persons without children get nothing.

Singles pay more.  Yes, ‘singles pay more taxes’ is a false statement.  Truth is that singles, person to person, pay same taxes, but get less benefits.  From the time they are married until one spouse is deceased, married or coupled families with children will likely have received shower, wedding, baby gifts, possibly maternity/paternity leave benefits, child benefits times number of children, TFSA benefits times two, reduced taxes, pension-splitting,  possible survivor pension benefits, and then want to retire before age 65.  In certain cases some of these families will not have paid a full year of taxes.  Single parents will receive child benefits and possible other benefits as well.  When all the benefits that families with children receive are taken into consideration, ever singles and early divorced persons with no children do pay more.

-There is a the perception by families that a reason to have children is that they will take care of future generations.  Financial responsibility implies that everyone including families should be financially paying for and taking care of themselves.  Future generations do not deserve to have heavy tax burdens placed on them to finance this generation and future generations of parents and children.  Likewise, financial responsibility implies that children do not deserve huge inheritances, while singles have a much more difficult time achieving same standard of living and saving for retirement as families with children.

Reader Comments regarding NET WORTH AND ASSETS

Comment-Liberals are so dumb that they don’t even know that the measure of true wealth is NOT income but net worth.  Are they so stupid to think that a lot of your neighbors, who declare zero income (and I know a lot of them) but can afford Jaguars and Bentleys and multi-million dollar homes really are poor? My wife and I are middle class folks, who live in a modest townhouse in Vancouver who won’t qualify for this now because we “make” too much. Sorry, Justin Trudeau, but 150k a year in Vancouver won’t get you very far.

Comment-if you only make $30,000.00 a year, maybe stop after the second child. Kids are expensive.  “According to, the average cost of raising a child to age 18 is a whopping $243,660. Break down that number, and that’s $12,825 per child, per year — or $1,070 per month. And that’s before you send them off to university.”

Comment – Take my numbers for example:   Property tax in Oakville Ontario is very high. I live in a 3000 sq/ft house on a tiny 90×90 lot and property tax is $12,000 a year.  Food cost for a family of 3 is about $15,000 a year, Utilities is $9000, Gas/Car/Insurance (2 cars) is $13000, Clothing/Phone/Living Expenses $8000.  I am only listing off the big expenses. Not including a lot of the little things. That comes to $57,000 a year. Hardly enough to live.

Reader Response to above-That sounds more like someone living beyond their means. And taxpayers are expected to step in and assist families like yours who have a more luxurious lifestyle than most could even dream of.   If you mean 3 kids, maybe, but 3 people, well, then you want too much. A family of 3 in a 3,000 sq. ft house? $300 in groceries a week for for 3 people? Did you know your taxes would be that high before you bought the house? If so, then you brought that on yourself.


-Sense of entitlement.  It is absurd how the wealthy and rich families believe they are entitled to everything (3,000 square foot house)..

-Net worth and Assets.   None of these benefit plans include elimination with high net worth and assets, so again, the wealthy and rich families are receiving benefits they do not deserve.  One of our last posts (see link at top of page) showed how families with considerable assets ($500,000), one spouse working and four children under age of six would receive considerable benefits while never paying a full year of tax if they retired at the age of 60 when their youngest child turned 18.

-Middle-class families with higher income levels for child benefit program complain they don’t receive same level of benefits.  Yet they refuse to acknowledge that they are the ones who would also receive the reduced tax rate from 22.5 per cent to 20 per cent for middle-class Canadians earning between $44,700 and $89,401 a year.


It is completely obscene how governments and politicians can implement programs that do not look at net worth and assets.  Families units (including singles) with high net worth and assets and low (of any kind) income do not deserve to get child benefits and other wealth-creating benefits and programs.

It is also financially discriminatory when governments and politicians only include certain family units in their financial formulas.   In Canada, family units with children benefit most while ever singles and early divorced persons without children get nothing.  In the USA, Bernie Sanders has managed to accomplish some wonderful things for financial fairness.  However, even some of his accomplishments agreed to by Hillary Clinton again target only certain family units, that is those with children (free college/university for families with incomes $125,000 or less and paid parental family and medical leave).  Most politicians, whether right or left leaning, only talk about families, with most benefits given only to families.  Singles are never mentioned let alone included in financial discussions and formulas.  What if singles want to go to college/university to get a better wage?  Why are they are not included?

Many of the reader comments correctly identify divorce and death of a spouse as having a big financial  impact on family units.  However, it is also irresponsible for family units to not have life insurance to cover these life circumstances.  Life insurance for spousal death should be mandatory, just like car and house insurance,  and should be ample enough to cover big ticket items like mortgages.  Maybe divorce insurance should also be implemented and made compulsory so that ever singles are not forced to support divorced family units.

For many years there have been great universal government programs in place like public school education, and health care.  For financial fairness, absurd programs like the child benefit programs need to be replaced with universal day care, government paid for college and university education (at least first couple of years of university) and affordable housing (should be available to all types of family units).Then, if wealthy families want to send their privileged children to elite private schools, day care and university, they can spend their own money to do so.

Benefit programs like income splitting and pension splitting under Conservatives are bad policy as they discriminate against singles, and the  widowed and divorced (and spouses earning equal incomes).   Benefit programs should focus on the poor with inclusion of net worth and asset assessments  in the financial formulas.

Governments, politicians, and families need to become financially educated on what it costs ever singles and early divorced persons without children to live.  All Canadian citizens deserve equal financial dignity and respect regardless of the type of family unit they are in.

Once children become ever single and early divorced without children adults, they should not become invisible and made to feel like they are no longer financially important to society.  All lives matter including ever singles and early divorced without children adults.

Additional Reader Comments:  click on link below:


(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. (six-reasons-why-married-coupled-persons-are-able-to-achieve-more-financial-power-wealth)

(The last two posts discussed how detrimental boutique tax credits can become to the financial well-being of a country and its citizens.  Boutique tax credits once they have been implemented are very hard to repeal because of voter sense of entitlement.  These were based on ‘Policy Forum: The Case Against Boutique Tax Credit and Similar Expenditures’ by Neil brooks).  This post was updated on July 8, 2014.

This post itemizes a personal finance case showing how certain family units benefit far more from boutique tax credits than other family units like ever singles.  One could say this case is totally bizarre in how benefits can be doled out in excess while recipients pay little or no tax).  This post was updated on June 24,  2016.

CASE 1 – Financial Post Personal Finance Plan, June 11, 2016 – ‘Farm Plan Risky for Couple with 4 Kids’ (financialpost)

Ed age 32 and Teresa 33 have four children ages 5, 3, 1 and newborn in British Columbia. Ed works for a government agency and Teresa is a homemaker.  At age 32 and 33, they already have a net worth of $502,000.  Their $208,000 home is not in the Vancouver area and is fully paid for.  Their land is valued at 177,000 with $37,000 (21%) owing on the mortgage.  They would like to sell their house, move out of town and set up a small farm.  Ed would give up his government job and they would get income by selling eggs and produce, hopefully at a profit.  Their plan is to retire comfortably and securely with about $4,000 in present-day dollars and after tax.  At age 32 and 33, they also already have a net worth of half a million dollars ($502,000).

 Ed brings home $2,680 per month.  They will receive the new, non-taxable Canada Child Benefit (CCB) (brought in by the ruling Liberal Party to replace the Conservative Universal Child Care Benefit) at $1,811 for their four children, all under the age of 6.  This brings their total family disposable income to $4,491 per month.  The CCB makes a huge difference by contributing about 40 per cent to take-home income.

(When all four children are ages 6 to 17, the CCB will be $1,478 a month based on 2016 rates).



boutique tax credit case 1

Financial Planner’s Recommendations – Apply $17,000 cash already reserved for kids to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP), so they can capture the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) of the lesser of 20 per cent of contributions or $500 per beneficiary.  Using the children’s present ages of 5, 3, 1, and one month, subsequent annual contributions of $2,500 per child plus the $500 CESG (to a maximum of $7,200 per beneficiary) with a three per cent annual growth after inflation would generate a total of about $270,000 or about $67,500 per child for post secondary-education.

Re job, advice is that Ed continue working until the age of 60 and when the youngest child is 18.  Advice is also given for purchase of the farm, details of which will not be discussed here.  Each spouse would add $5,500 to their TFSAs for each year until Ed is age 60.

Re retirement, if Ed retires at age 60 and Teresa continues as a stay at home spouse, in 2016 dollars he and Teresa would have his $26,208 defined benefit pension and the $7,200 bridge, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) payments of $5,727 a year and Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) payments of $29,360 for a total pre-tax income of $68,495, or $5,137 per month to spend after 10 per cent tax and no tax on TFSA payments.  At age 65, Ed would lose the $7,200 bridge but gain $11,176 in annual Canada Pension Plan (CPP), plus Old Age Security (OAS) payments of $6,846 each spouse, for total income of $86,163 with no tax on TFSA payouts and pension and age credits.  After tax, they would have $6,460 a month to spend.  Both before and after 65, they would have achieved beyond expectations their goal of $4,000 monthly income.

The unknowns of this plan are the cost of farm and whether it will make a profit.  The financial  planner states:

 “As a retirement plan, it is a wonderful goal.  As a financial endeavour, it is speculative.”


All calculations in 2016 dollars and assumes there is no wage increase for Ed and Teresa will remain stay at home spouse and all federal benefit plans and credits will remain the same.

Child benefit non taxable:

All four children up to and including age 5 – $1,811 per month times 12 months times 5 years (not fully calculated for age)  =  approximately $108,000

All four children age 6 up to and including 17 –  $1,478 per month times 12 months times 13 years = approximately $231,000

Total benefit for eighteen years = approximately $339,000

TFSA contributions in after-tax dollars and tax free and not including interest earned $5,500 times two persons times to sixty years of age (Ed) $11,000 times 28 years = $308,000

RESP contributions $2,500 per child per year times four equals $10,000 per year plus $500 up to maximum $7,200 grant per child will generate with three per cent growth a total of about $270,000 education savings for children.

$7,200 grant per child times four = $28,800.

Retirement – they want to retire at age 60, will pay only 10 per cent tax on $68,495 pre-tax including tax-free TFSA income or $5,137 per month.  At 65 they will have total income of $86,143 and  with pension splitting will have $6,460 after-tax monthly income (not able to calculate total benefits received).

These calculations do not include other possible GST/HST credits and tax credits offered by the provinces (example: BC Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit even though this family unit of six will use far more resources affecting climate change than a family unit of one person).  These calculations also do not include benefits of reduced fees, etc. that families get, but ever singles do not.

If Ed retires at age 60, when his youngest child is age 18, he will never have worked a year where full taxes were paid.

All things being equal, this couple will receive benefit upon benefit from present year to when they retire at age 60 and beyond age 65.  If Ed is deceased before Teresa, as a widower Teresa will receive even more benefits as a survivor with survivor pension benefits.

In reality,  they likely will receive approximately $1 million dollars in benefits which is essentially the cost of raising their children and their children will have healthy education accounts.   The parents will retire with even more income than they had while raising their children, and have accumulated a healthy sum in assets.  With assets and value of assets remaining same at age 60 retirement, parents will  have $485,000 in farm, $48,000 in RRSPs and $349,000 in TFSAs for total of $882,000.  So, they will essentially be close to millionaire status while receiving multiple benefits and paying almost no taxes.

This couple from the time they are married until one spouse is deceased will have received shower, wedding, baby gifts, possible maternity/paternity leaves, child benefits times four children, TFSA benefits times two, reduced taxes, pension splitting, possible survivor pension benefits, and retirement before age 65.

While it is understood that is expensive to raise children, it is bizarre that  parents believe they can raise children, retire before age 65 and pay very little in taxes to support the benefits they believe they are entitled to.  Why should these families get benefits beyond raising their children like pension splitting when they have huge TFSA tax free accounts including other assets?   (Neil Brooks calls the pension splitting tax credit outrageous).  The plethora of benefits given to parents with children is what the blog author calls ‘selective’ social democracy or situation where benefits are given to one segment of the population so they can achieve more wealth at the expense other segments of the population such as ever singles and divorced persons without children.


So who is paying for all of this?  One group of Canadian citizens subsidizing families as in case above are ever singles (never married, no kids) and divorced persons without children.  They will never achieve a monthly income of $4,500 per month unless they are making a very good income.  They don’t have the money to max out TFSA amounts like this couple has.  The only benefits ever singles and divorced persons without children will ever receive is if they are in an abject state of poverty.  They also will never be able to accumulate the retirement and other assets that this couple has.  They are never likely able to retire at age 60 unless they have equivalent income to the above couple (at least $60,000 per year).  A middle quintile income for unattached singles is $23,357 to $36,859.  At $55,499 income an unattached single is considered to be in top quintile of income for the country (moneysense), but they have problems living on this income as has been shown in previous posts.

Ever singles and divorced persons without children with before-tax income equivalent to this couple will pay much more tax, for (example $60,000 to $70,000 income).  If one calculates the income tax contributed by an ever single at $15,000 per year time 40 years of employment total contributed to Canadian coffers is $600,000 over working life. Employment insurance deductions (used in large part for maternal/paternal leaves) at $1,000 per year adds another $40,000 to  the total.  Ever singles never get any of this back because they pay more taxes, can’t pension split and are not considered to be part of the financial family by politicians, government and even their own families and married/coupled siblings..  All political parties are guilty of excluding ever singles from financial formulas.  Ever singles have very little financial and voting power because they are a minority in a society where parents and children rule.

Ever singles and divorced persons without children are being pushed into a state of poverty by the plethora of tax credits given only to families, but for which ever singles and divorced persons without kids have to pay without getting equivalent of same benefits.

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.

Revisions were applied to this post on June 19, 2016.

(Preface:  Every political party has introduced tax credits to give financial benefits to certain members of the population more than others.  However, during the reign of the Conservative party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a plethora of tax credits were introduced.  This led to coining of the phrase ‘boutique tax credits’.  Much of the following information has been taken from the ‘Policy Forum: The Case Against Boutique Tax Credits and Similar Tax Expenditures by Neil Brooks’ (brooks).  The Neil Brooks discussion provides an excellent overview of why boutique tax credits are so wrong and discriminatory.  While many families, especially poor families do not benefit from boutique tax credits, ever singles also do not benefit from most of the tax credits.  If there are any negatives to the study it is that financial discriminatory impact of tax credits and expenditures for ever singles and to some extent single parent with children family units is not fully recognized).

The author of this blog has long thought that boutique tax credits are financially discriminatory to singles.  However, we cannot even begin to articulate what Neil Brooks has so eloquently stated in his article.  The entire article is worth a read including the footnotes which provide excellent information on many commentaries and studies of this topic.  For this post, we attempted to condense the PDF from 68 pages to 8 pages, for example, by eliminating the many footnotes – see condensed version at the end of this post.  Blog author’s comments have been highlighted in blue).

This has been a very difficult post to write in terms of length as there is so many excellent points that have been made by Neil Brooks in his study, so be forewarned that the condensed version of the Brook;s article is eight pages long).



Problem 1 – Conservative boutique tax credits purposely target traditional family values (single income families). Boutique Tax Credits initiated by the Progressive Conservative Party under Stephen Harper purposely target traditional family values. The party never gives a definition of traditional family values or who is included in the traditional family.  They talk about the family unit as ‘essential to the well-being  of individuals and society’.  A reflection of their belief in the importance of the role of the traditional family in society, another objective was to privilege single-earner families through the tax system (page 76).   (Blog author’s comments:  Ever singles are generally not included in these boutique tax credits).

Problem 2 -tax expenditures introduced by the Conservatives of Boutique Tax Credits were targeted at relatively narrowly defined groups of potential Conservative voters (page 67).  Finance Minister’s budget moved to put the finishing touches on building a new Conservative coalition through a series of tax cuts, rebates and other subsidies aimed at select segments of the voting population  (page 73).   By enacting these tax expenditures, as opposed to across-the-board tax cuts, the Conservatives were able, at a much lower cost, to favour middle-class families with children, middle-income and well-to-do seniors, and other much more narrowly targeted groups ( page 77).   (This is what this blog author calls ‘selective’ democratic socialism).

Problem 3 – Tax Credits and Expenditures ignore traditional tax criteria that apply to technical tax provisions, namely, equity, neutrality, and simplicity (page 69).

Problem 4 Conservatives were “pleasing their electoral base with . . . dollars in pockets for boutique programs rewarding wealth and socially conservative values  (page 69).  An example is pension splitting where wealthy married/coupled persons benefit the most, poor and married or coupled persons with equal incomes benefited to a lesser extent.(Blog author’s comment:  Ever singles and divorced/separated persons are not able to use this tax credit).

Problem 5Tax Expenditures Can Serve as a Bribe to Potential Voters (page 77)    By enacting these tax expenditures, as opposed to across-the-board tax cuts, the Conservatives were able, at a much lower cost, to favour middle-class families with children, middle-income and well-to-do seniors, and other much more narrowly targeted groups.

In 2011, the average taxpayer with an income between $100,000 and $150,000 paid $3,633 less in taxes.  The average taxpayer with a very modest income of between $20,000 and $25,000 saw only $475 back in the same period.  These numbers are before the impact of the new Family Tax Cut and the doubling of the Child Fitness Tax Credit – both of which are likely to accelerate the same trend.  (/canada2020).   (Blog author’s comment:  Poor families and ever singles including seniors are least likely to benefit (senior-singles-pay-more).

Problem 6 –  It is very difficult to get rid of tax expenditures or tax credits once they are  implemented.  Political parties are reluctant to eliminate them even if they are discriminatory for fear of losing votes.  Also, tax expenditures are extremely hard to repeal, even the truly awful ones, since eliminating a tax expenditure will be framed as a tax increase (page 78).   (Blog author’s comments:  Will it ever be possible to eliminate the pension splitting from which wealthy families benefit the most?  And, who is paying for this?)    Neil Brooks calls pension splitting an “outrageous pension income splitting scheme that should be repealed and the revenue used to enrich, or reduce the clawback, of the old age security pensions” (page 122).   Reducing clawback will not solve problem of inequality if clawback is not increased for singles and reduced for married or coupled persons through income-testing.

Problem 7 Tax expenditures that are relief measures transfer income from one group of individuals to another.  (Blog author’s comment:  Instead of these relief measures targeting lower income individuals and families, many have benefited wealthy families the most.  Ever singles benefit the least).

Problem 8Psychological impact of tax credits or expenditures (The Public Appears to Favour Policies Framed as Tax Breaks-page 83).  people’s psychological biases predispose them to favour tax expenditures, certainly over direct spending programs……label—tax relief versus direct outlay—matters.”  These studies are also consistent with other survey results in which respondents admit to have benefited from tax expenditures and yet deny ever having used a government social program.(Blog Author’s comments:  The reverse effects of Tax Credits and Expenditures are often not discussed, that is, the anger and financial despair that some citizens feel towards those that are receiving more of the benefits without, for example, application of income-testing  principles).

Problem 9 – Tax Expenditures Reduce the Political Pressure for Public Programs (page 84)  One of the Conservatives’ major political goals has been to resist the public provision of social programs. Hence, another explanation for the popularity of tax expenditures under the Conservatives is that they were a step forward in implementing a broader political project, a private-sector welfare state.Tax credits for private caregiving work reduce the political pressure for publicly provided long-term care facilities.. …. Supplementing the wages of low-income workers with a tax credit reduces the pressure to offer public service jobs to the unemployed…..The tax subsidization of tuition fees, textbooks, and interest on student loans reduces the political pressure for more direct government support for universities.

Problem 10 – Tax Expenditures Make the Tax System Less Transparent (page 94) and Tax Expenditures Divert the Resources of the CRA and Create Administrative Problems That Damage Its Reputation (page 94)

    • Complexity and number of tax credits make them very difficult to interpret and lawyers and accountants become intimately involved in their implementation.  As a result attention is directed towards interpretation of these credits instead of tracking abuse of the tax system.
    • Many are badly designed (page 96)
    • Tax Expenditures Often Do Not Serve Important Objectives of Government Policy (page 97)
    • Tax Expenditures Often Do Not Achieve Their Objectives Equitably (page 104)
    • upside-down effect of tax deductions
    • all tax credits should be refundable.

(Blog author’s comment:  Past posts have talked about upside-down financial effects (housing),  and tax credits should be refundable and income-tested.  To have someone else confirm these facts is reassuring.  It would be nice if political parties and governments also realized these facts.)

Problem 11 Education – Conservatives completely exempted certain scholarships and fellowships from tax in their first budget in 2006.  The exclusion of a $10,000 scholarship for a low-income student who has no other income provides that student with no implicit subsidy. However, the same exclusion will provide an implicit subsidy of $2,200 to a higher-income student in the 22 percent tax bracket. If the point of the exclusion was to benefit needy students, this upside-down effect is perverse (page 104)

Problem 12 – Low income individuals and families benefit the least.   A credit that can be offset against a taxpayer’s tax liability is of no value to a low-income person who has no tax liability because his or her income is less than the amount of the basic personal tax credit, for example. Hence, all tax credits should be refundable (page 106)…..In terms of delivering subsidies equitably through the tax system, if the primary purpose of a tax credit is to incentivize or assist low- or middle-income individuals, entitlement to the credit should be income-tested so that it vanishes when a taxpayer’s income reaches a certain amount (page 108).  Income-testing so that it vanishes when income reaches a certain amount should vanish quicker for for married or coupled persons than singles as it costs more for singles to live than married/coupled persons as a family unit.

Neil Brooks has also stated that analysis of  financial formulas such as distributional tables should show beneficiaries by income class, gender, household type, age cohort, and geographical region.  This is based on known facts that females and disadvantaged persons based on race likely benefit least from tax credits (page 111). (Blog author’s comments:  Analysis of household types is important as ever singles and early divorced singles are likely to benefit the least from all tax credits).

Problem 13 – The proliferation of tax expenditures, such as the boutique tax credits, gives rise to significant rent-seeking social costs. (page 114) and encourages relevant interest groups to lobby for analogous tax expenditures. (page 114).  (Blog author’s comments:  Powerful lobby groups such as families and seniors often lead to tax credits and expenditures targeting these groups.   Ever singles do not have this kind of financial and lobbying power.  As a result they are likely to receive less of these benefits).

Problem 14 – Boutique tax credits are useless when they target everyone in a group, for example, seniors.  Giving age credit to all seniors benefits wealthiest seniors more as poor seniors do not have enough income to apply tax credits (page 122).

Problem 15 – This problem as been added by the blog author, that is there is a compounding effect to tax credits when they are applied one on  top of another for specific groups.  An example is when child tax credits are given to married or coupled family unit, who then are also able to use pension splitting credits as seniors.  As a result, married or coupled persons with children are able to gain more wealth than ever singles who are not able to use any of these credits.

Problem 16 –  This problem has been added by the blog author,  that is the so called ‘merry go round credits and expenditures which disappear and reappear.  Some citizens can never  get on the merry go round because their place in line keep getting pushed back or they are kicked out of the line or they excluded from the lines.  For example, there are some parents who have never benefited from any the child tax credits because they had no children during implementation of some tax credits only to have these tax credits abolished when they do have children.


(Blog author’s comments: it would seem that a solution to the elimination of Tax Credits and Expenditures with fairness, equality, neutrality and simplicity for all, perhaps, should be to provide three government funded basic rights: healthcare, college/university education, and universal day care).


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.

The post on Fort McMurray Fire Disaster relief (fort-mcmurray-fire-disaster)showed how family units comprised of singles received the lowest financial assistance of all family units.  This information was sent to Province of Alberta politicians to make them aware of this situation.

One of the politician’s (right wing Conservative) response to this information is outlined here.  This letter continues to show the financial misunderstanding and financial discrimination of singles in this country.

A portion of the letter is reproduced as follows:

“Data from Statistics Canada Table 203-0023 concerning total household expenditures shows that Alberta government and Red Cross financial assistance for single person households, lone parent households, and couples without children total between 50% and 63% of typical monthly expenditures for those household types. The only household type to receive financial assistance approximating their average monthly household expenditures were couples with children. The same data shows that a two person household with no children has almost twice (184%) the household expenses of a one person household.

Given that shelter, food, household operations, transportation, healthcare, and recreation are the largest components and total approximately 50% of household expenditures of all the household types, and given that most of those goods/services are provided without cost or at steep discounts to evacuees, and given that those goods/services are used in reduced amount during evacuation, the level of temporary financial support provided does not appear unreasonable. However, given that some organizations’ aid programs are focused on the needs of mothers, seniors, and other demographics, there may be an opportunity for more organizations or programs focused on single adults.

It is true that two parent families with two or more children receive more financial assistance than the other family types, however we are not aware of a compelling public benefit to reducing financial assistance to individuals living as two parent families with children on the basis of their family status.

With respect to potential human rights violations, the financial assistance appears to be provided without discrimination on the basis of any protected human rights grounds, with the reasonable exception of children who have lower financial needs than adults and seniors. As far as we are aware, “financial human rights” is an interesting concept but not currently a well-founded legal doctrine in Canada or any other jurisdiction. In order for treatment of particular social groups to amount to persecution, any alleged violation of basic human rights would need to arise out of repeated or mistreatment which causes personal harm the affected individuals. All of the available evidence suggests that the relevant governments intend to rebuild the wildfire-affected areas and to resume providing services to individuals communities in the same ways as before the wildfires.”

First, the Conservative right wing politician’s letter refers to Statistics Canada Table 203-0023 showing 2013 household expenditures for family units of one person households, lone parent with children, couples without children, couples with children as well as other family unit types.  It is interesting to note that this data was based on surveys and these expenditures include tobacco and alcohol as well as games of chance.  These are wants, not needs and do not deserve to be included in any discussion of fairness of financial expenditures or financial disaster assistance of family units.

Second, the letter readily admits that two parent with children family units received the most assistance. The statement also is made as follows:  “we are not aware of a compelling public benefit to reducing financial assistance to individuals living as two parent families with children on the basis of their family status”. Now that is real fairness!

The statement “The same data shows that a two person household with no children has almost twice (184%) the household expenses of a one person household” is inherently false.  There are many sources of information showing that it costs singles 60-70 per cent of what it costs a married/coupled family unit to live (moneysense).

For a more accurate comparison of percentage of living expenses incurred by family units, one could use living wage analysis and equivalence scales.

Two Living Wage studies for Canadian cities are Guelph and Wellington and Grande Prairie (table at end of post) show living expenses (not middle class living, but bare bones living to prevent homelessness).  In both of these studies, it should be noted that singles are not allowed the purchase or use of a vehicle.  Instead, they have to rely on transit and taxis.

The Guelph and Wellington 2013 study (livingwagecanada-FINAL)  showed living expenses for singles at $25,380, lone parent with one child $40,704, and two parent family with two children $56,796.  The Grande Prairie 2012 study (GP.pdf) showed living expenses for singles $19,284, lone parent with one child $41,844 and two parents with two children $62,844.   Calculation of Guelph and Wellington percentages for single in comparison to lone parent with a child is 62 per cent and in comparison to two parents with two children 45 per cent.  Grande Prairie percentages of single in comparison to lone parent with one child is 46 per cent and to two parents with two children 30 per cent.

(It should be noted that one of the significant differences for Grande Prairie percentages of singles to other family units is shelter where single is allowed to share a two bedroom apartment.  If $859 rent is for allowed for not shared one bedroom Grande Prairie apartment to equal one bedroom apartment in Guelph/Wellington study, then the total annual expenditure becomes  $29,592 or 70% of lone parent with one child and 47 per cent of two parent with two children.  The percentages for singles then become more closely aligned between the two studies).                                         

It is very difficult to find Canadian living wage statistics on married/coupled persons with no children as they are never included in these studies.  If a few statistics from the USA living wage studies are used (New York 2016 (counties) example single adult $21, 382 and two adults  with no children $34,582; Salem, Oregon (Salem-OR) single adult $28,140 and married couple with no children $37,536) then percentage of singles to married or coupled and no children households is calculated as 62 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.

To summarize, the Living Wage studies for Canada and USA show that percentages of singles cost of living to lone one parent one child or two person no children households ranges from 62 to 75 per cent.

The table at the end of this post using Statistics Canada data shows that singles and lone parent families are not doing very well with respect to incomes.  Present median incomes are equivalent to living wage incomes (bare minimum to prevent homelessness).  Likewise, median net worth shows these same households are at the bottom of the scale in comparison to households with two adults.

Equivalence scales have also been used to provide comparisons of costs of living between different family units (households).  The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) modified equivalence scale and square root equivalence scales are two examples.  The basis for equivalence scales are described as follows:  The needs of a household grow with each additional member but – due to economies of scale in consumption– not in a proportional way. Needs for housing space, electricity, etc. will not be three times as high for a household with three members than for a single person. With the help of equivalence scales each household type in the population is assigned a value in proportion to its needs. The factors commonly taken into account to assign these values are the size of the household and the age of its members (whether they are adults or children).

Table for two equivalence scales:

equivalence scales

Statistics Canada 75F0002M – Section 2 ‘The LIM and proposed Modifications’ (75f0002m) provides an excellent overview of what is happening in Canada.  This paper proposes  modifications to the existing LIM (Low Income Measure) methodology.

“The first is to replace economic family by household as the basic accounting unit in which individuals pool income and enjoy economies of scale in consumption.   Secondly and equally if not more important, household is the international standard in comparative statistical surveys of income and well-being while the economic family concept is rarely employed by other countries.  Under the proposed modification, an individual will be defined as in low-income if the household as a whole is in low-income which in turn will generate different low-income statistics.   Adopting the square root equivalence scale – the square root has declining factors for each subsequent member while the LIM scale does not, and thus flattens out after the third member.. Furthermore, under the Square Root scale one needs only consider how many people are in the family whereas using the LIM scale one needs to keep in mind both the age of family members as well as whether the family is a single parent family”.

(It should be noted that there is no perfect system, however, equivalence scales system is one method that provides a decent measure of  financial fairness with respect to cost of living assessments for all members of family units regardless of marital status).

Finally, in regards to the letter and human rights discrimination in relation to singles finances, singles are discriminated against every single day.  This  has been described in a past post.  Re Allowance Program and Credits benefits, 2009 Policy Brief, “A Stronger Foundation-Pension Reform and Old Age Security” by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, page 4 (, states:

“This program discriminates on basis of marital status as confirmed by case brought under the Charter of Rights where federal court agreed program was discriminatory and ruled it would be too expensive to extend program on basis of income regardless of marital status”.

As well, the Progressive Conservative Party has been very diligent in implementing boutique tax credits which have consistently benefited families more.  One major example of this is pension splitting in which senior married/couple household benefit, but singles get nothing.  How is this not financially discriminatory?


  • Politicians need to become more financially intelligent about what it costs singles to live in this country and the financial formulas the country is using, for example, equivalence scales.
  • Financial formulas need to include singles equally to family households.  Singles need to be Included in the financial family.
  • All household types including singles need to be included in financial disaster recovery programs with equal dignity and respect.  Singles, after all, also donated to the Red Cross program.  A solution to distribute disaster monies equally could be to use household and equivalence scales formulas.
  • Politicians, government, families and organizations like the Red Cross need to educate themselves  on  what financial discrimination is and to include singles equally in financial formulas.
  • What is not needed is more ‘organizations’ and aid programs focused on the needs of mothers, seniors, and other demographics (single adults)’.  (Habitat for Humanity does not include ever singles in their building program).  These are only band aid solutions to what is the real problem, financial inequity of financial formulas.  What is needed is for financial formulas  to treat all households fairly and equally by using equivalence scales.
  • How about another novel idea – treat benefits (benevolent programs) equally to expenditure programs (boutique tax credits) using equivalence scales.  The Alaska Permanent Funds Dividends and Ralph buck programs (money-benefit-programs) grossly discriminated against singles by giving monies to children who have not contributed one cent to the economy.  Singles paid taxes for these dollars that are distributed to children who have paid nothing.
  • Regarding financial human rights and discrimination, the government has to yet provide an answer as to why the Allowance Program and Credit benefits is being continued through to at least 2029 even though the courts ruled it to be discriminatory.


living wage in dollars

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