POLL: VAST MAJORITY OF ONTARIANS SAY EQUALIZATION PAYMENTS ARE UNFAIR
Fairness Alberta calls for $8 billion rebate for Ontario
EDMONTON, AB, JULY 7, 2021 – Today, Fairness Alberta released a poll showing 73% of Ontarians believe ever-growing Equalization payments are unfair given the narrowing wealth gap between provinces since 2015.
The poll, from a weighted survey of 1,000 Canadians recently conducted by the Toronto firm One Persuasion Inc. (MoE +/-3.1%), showed a large majority of Ontarians said it is unfair that Equalization payments rose 23% since 2015, making Ontario’s share of funding the program equivalent to roughly $2400 per family of four (see bottom). Opposition to the status quo on Equalization was highest in the 905 region of suburban Toronto.
(To see the full results of the poll click here)
“Ontarians have been funding unfairly high Equalization payments for others while their own provincial government was struggling to pay for services even before COVID-19,” said Fairness Alberta Executive Director Dr. Bill Bewick. “Given the collapse of the wealth gap between provinces, the so-called ‘have’ provinces should get the share of Equalization that came from their taxpayers rebated until we achieve meaningful reforms to federal-provincial funding.”
As Dr. Bewick outlined in the National Post, even a 50% rebate would mean a bump to provincial budgets of $4 billion in Ontario and $1.5 billion being returned to B.C. and Alberta as their provincial responsibilities come under strain.
“The $21 billion-and-growing price tag for Equalization is totally unnecessary and unaffordable given how much more equal provinces have become since 2015,” added Dr. Bewick. “This isn’t just an Alberta problem. Ontario, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland make up nearly 70% of Canada’s population and it has become obvious that the program is unfair to all of them.”
A recent study by Ben Eisen and Milagros Palacios illustrates the “Great Convergence” in provincial fortunes since the 2015 energy downturn. While the gap between the median ‘have’ and ‘have not’ fell from $5000 per person in 2015 to only $1600 in 2020, Equalization payments grew 23%. With increases tied to national GDP rather than need, a $20.9 billion windfall is going to 5 provinces (with less than 1/3 of the population) in 2021.
About Fairness Alberta:
Fairness Alberta is a grassroots, non-partisan, and non-separatist association of concerned citizens, aiming to increase awareness across the country about Albertans’ disproportionate contributions to Canada, while also providing clear, factual information on unfair federal policies that will further undermine the prosperity of Alberta and other contributing provinces.
Fairness Alberta previously released analysis and recommendations for reforms to Equalization and the Fiscal Stabilization program, with an overview of fiscal federalism as well at www.fairnessalberta.ca.
Previous releases, interviews, columns, and two presentations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance can be found in the NEWS section of our website. For more information on Fairness Alberta, its mandate, and future plans, please visit our website at www.fairnessalberta.ca.
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Bill Bewick, Ph.D.
Cell: (780) 996-6019
*per-province calculations based on provincial contributions to general revenue proportionally applied to the $20.9b spent on Equalization in 2021. Source for per-province shares is this Library of Parliament document: https://lop.parl.ca/sites/