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The tax system represents a privileged instrument of social and economic policy for most governments. However, recent social, economic, technological, and international changes call into question the relevance, effectiveness and fairness of many aspects of the current tax system.

The magnitude of the challenge facing the tax system is evident in David K. Foot’s comments: “In the mid-1990s, large numbers of baby-boomers are in their prime earning and spending years. In such a society, a tax system based on income and sales taxes makes sense. It won’t make as much sense in a future in which more income, of necessity, will be generated by technology and capital” Boom, Bust & Echo

Other challenges to the tax system include the need to address issues such as:

  • the perceived inequities in the tax burden borne by families with different wage-earner and relationship structures, including the deductibility and taxability of child support payments;
  • the monitoring of electronic purchases and sales of goods and services on the Internet to ensure taxes are paid by individuals and corporations;
  • the determination of residency status for tax purposes of corporations engaging in electronic commerce;
  • the continued appropriateness of tax incentives for investments in tangible assets (capital cost allowances and investment tax credits), in an increasingly knowledge-based economy; and
  • the need for Canada to harmonize its tax systems with those of major competing nations in response to the globalization of financial and product markets.

This conference examines the responsiveness of our tax system to these social, economic, technological, and international challenges from the perspectives of Canadian taxpayers, public finance, public policy, and international trends in taxation.


Taxation in the Millennium- The next Reform Agenda
Allan Maslove, PhD, Professor, School of Public Administration, Carleton University

Globalization and Our National Tax system: Hide-And-Go-Seek on a Planetary Scale
Kathryn Pedwell, PhD, Professor, University of Ottawa

Baby Steps to Taxation Reform
Walter Robinson, Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The Business Tax Structure and Canada’s economic Performance
John Sargent, Executive Director, Technical committee on Business Taxation, Department of Finance, Government of Canada

Commentary on selected Aspects of Canada’s Tax System in the International Context
Paul Setlalwe, Partner, Stikeman-Elliot

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