Record bank profits reveals pandemic’s economic winners and losers

August 25, 2021

Today, RBC and the National Bank released their third-quarter profits, which came in at $4.3 and $2.3 billion, up from $3.2 billion and $2.0 billion in the same quarter last year, respectively. These immense profits made by Canada’s largest financial institutions are yet another example of how Canada’s wealthiest individuals and corporations have benefitted from the pandemic, while so many workers continue to struggle and be left behind.

Many of Canada’s largest companies have continued paying out dividends to their shareholders, despite receiving government aid and five of Canada’s six largest banks cut their workforces by 4.4% in the past year, while simultaneously increasing their customer fees.

“It’s clear that the pandemic has had winners and losers. While large corporations and banks, and their CEOs and shareholders, profiteer off the pandemic, they freely layoff workers and keep wages low,” said Canadian Labour Congress president Bea Bruske.

“In this election, parties must propose a recovery plan that doesn’t leave working families behind, with meaningful new investments to disaster-proof our social safety net.”

Rather than allowing this pandemic to further entrench existing inequalities and allow the gap between the rich and poor to widen, Bruske said Canada should make sure wealthy individuals and the big businesses that made record profits in the pandemic now pay their fair share. That money should be used to help Canada recover and keep us safe.

Canadians for Tax Fairness calculates that the federal government could generate over $90 billion annually and reduce inequalities by:

  • Closing tax loopholes: $26 billion;
  • Taxing the rich fairly: $24 billion;
  • Making corporations pay their fair share: $25 billion
  • Tackling tax havens: $14 billion; and
  • Making polluters pay: $3 billion.

“Greater tax fairness could generate billions that could be re-invested into the social safety net and programs that so many Canadians need and depend on – like universal child care, long-term care, pharmacare, and job-training programs that will help workers transition to low-carbon and green jobs,” concluded Bruske.

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