Are Canadian Tax Loopholes Sexist?

Men capture majority of benefits from tax deductions, credits & loopholes.

An analysis of federal tax breaks suggests men are capturing the majority of benefits from tax deductions, credits and loopholes in Canada. The findings were released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Men reap more benefits from tax reductions than women.  

CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald wrote the study. “Addressing the gender pay gap and advancing gender equity have been stated priorities of the current government, but little attention has been paid to how the tax system may be reinforcing disadvantages,” said Macdonald in a release.

“Men fare much better than women under the present system.”


CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald


“Simply put, federal tax breaks are sexist, with men faring much better than women under the present system, said Macdonald”

The report looked at 45 Federal tax expenditures and assessed the portion of benefits currently going to men compared to women. This included things such as tax deductions, credits, breaks and loopholes. Macdonald could only find eight of the 45 (or 19%) that pay out greater benefits to women over men.

It appears Canadian men reap more benefits from tax reductions than women.  An analysis of federal tax breaks suggests men are capturing the majority of benefits from tax deductions, credits and loopholes in Canada. The findings were released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
In some cases, men captured more than 100 per cent of the benefits from certain loopholes

What the study recommends

Macdonald suggest the system be overhauled to introduce different priorities and programs that could leverage the tax and transfer system, which he says would play an important role in enhancing after- tax gender equality.

Macdonal says that compared to program spending, “Canada’s myriad of tax breaks, credits and loopholes remain critically under-examined part of public policy.” He hopes to see action towards a comprehensive tax policy review in the upcoming March 19 federal budget. “Tax breaks that are not serving their purpose, exacerbate inequality or fail to promote gender equity should be closed and the substantial lost revenue should be put to better use, said Macdonald.

Among the study’s findings

• The top five largest tax breaks that benefit men most are the employee stock option deduction, foreign tax credit for individuals, spouse or common law partner credit, registered retirement saving plans and pension income splitting;

• The top five largest tax breaks benefiting women most are the eligible dependent credit, child care expense deduction, medical expense tax credit, pension income credit and age credit;

• In some cases, men captured more than 100 per cent of the benefits from certain loopholes (implying a tax increase for women);

• The report echoes this year’s Alternative Federal Budget in calling for a comprehensive review of Canada’s expensive and ineffective tax expenditures.