Message from the Executive Director

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October 2020


Hello to all CTF members—

This month I would like to share with you the details of an exciting project. 

Support for research, analysis, and informed commentary on Canadian public finances is an important mandate of the Canadian Tax Foundation. For almost 60 years, the Foundation published an annual monograph, Finances of the Nation, and its predecessor, The National Finances. In a change of format in 2012, the Canadian Tax Journal introduced a new Finances of the Nation feature, which presented annual surveys of provincial and territorial budgets and topical articles on taxation and public expenditures in Canada. Valuable though these contributions were, the research needs of the current era called for something more.

The decision was made to focus on one longstanding and particularly troublesome issue. Specifically, gaps in available data and in the analysis of policies at all levels of government across Canada have long presented a significant challenge to researchers. Essential and basic information in certain areas—for example, government revenues and expenditures, statutory tax rates, and the specific costs and benefits of tax and spending programs—has been missing, difficult to source, or inconsistently presented, and this deficiency has limited comparative analysis.

To address these challenges, the Foundation has partnered with a group of academic researchers, with the common goal of consolidating data to support better analysis of taxation and public spending in Canada.

The fruit of this collaboration is an open-access website: financesofthenation.ca. This site houses datasets and tools that help make the data more accessible and useful to researchers, journalists, students, and the general public. It also includes the original Finances of the Nation monographs, feature articles in the Journal, and additional timely commentary. Over time, more information will be added and additional datasets developed.

It is our hope and expectation that the project will not only improve access to critical information but also promote research by expanding the network of Canadian scholars and support for the cross-sector engagement of researchers, tax professionals, and policy makers. I know that many Foundation members have already made their way to the site. If you have not yet made a visit, I encourage you to do so.

I would also like to remind everyone of the final two events in our four-part virtual fall conference program. On October 26-27 we will be delivering “Leading Tax Thought,” our virtual Annual Conference, and November 4 will feature “Fiscalité des Enterprises,” a full day of corporate tax content in French. Attendance at the first two events surpassed our expectations, with excellent feedback from participants. The papers prepared by our wonderful speakers are already in the editing process and soon to be added to TaxFind. I anticipate that the remaining events will be equally well received, and I look forward to the presentations. It will then be time to start planning our 2021 conferences in earnest. As always, your input is most welcome.

See you next month.

Heather L. Evans,
Executive Director and CEO