Linda Leatherdale

Financial Commentator

Guest columnist Catherine Swift speaks out on TFSAs

(This is a guest column by Catherine Swift, Director of Working Canadians and a regular guest on The Roy Green Show on the Corus Radio Network (640AM) every Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with Linda Leatherdale and Michelle Simson)

SAVE OUR $10,000 TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

BY CATHERINE SWIFT

We at Working Canadians want to keep the $10,000 TFSA contribution limit.

The newly-minted federal Liberal government says it plans to reduce the contribution limit on the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) by almost half, from $10,000 to $5,500.  Perhaps they should review the facts behind this issue prior to going ahead and implementing this policy which will significantly damage the prospects of the majority of Canadians to save for their own retirement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that he doesn’t believe the average Canadian has $10,000 “lying around” to max out their TFSA.  Yet, it is very likely that our new federal government will impose more mandatory payments on Canadians in the form of carbon taxes, higher CPP premiums, higher EI premiums, higher income taxes for some and who knows what else.  If Canadians lack the financial capacity to put more dollars in their TFSA, it only makes sense that they also can’t afford new taxes on income, carbon, CPP, EI, etc.

The federal Liberals claim that the $10,000 TFSA limit only benefits the rich, and that is costs the federal treasury too much in foregone tax revenue.  But the facts show that of the 11 million plus Canadians who have TFSAs, 60 per cent of those who have topped up their account earn less than $60,000 annually.  As for affordability, consider this:  in 2014, the federal government spent over $21 billion of our tax dollars on federal government employees’ generous pensions and post-retirement health and dental benefits.  These are immense financial privileges for 80 per cent of us who don’t work for government that we will never enjoy, yet we pay for them.  Also in 2014, the amount of money lost to the federal government because of TFSAs was just over $1 billion.  Is our new Liberal government really saying that it’s perfectly okay to spend over $21 billion on a comfortable retirement for the 20 per cent of Canadians who work for government, but the $1 billion spent on the rest of us is too much?  If so, they need to re-examine their priorities and consider the facts on this issue.

In the seven brief years that TFSAs have been in existence, they have been embraced by Canadians and rightly so.  The majority of us who do not have access to generous government pensions have every right to some means of savings for a decent retirement for ourselves and our families in a tax-efficient way.  TFSAs have filled this role admirably for Canadians since 2009, and there is no factual justification for making changes in this important program.

The Save Our TFSA petition to the House of Commons can be found at www.workingcanadians.ca/saveourtfsa.  Join the fight.

 

Updated: December 5, 2015 — 5:41 pm

2 Comments

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  1. “There’s been a slide in the work ethic and we’ve got to start emphasizing the importance of work,” said Dan Kelly, who is taking over Canada’s largest small-business advocacy group from Catherine Swift, who held the job for 17 years.

  2. I wanted to comment on the story regarding the TFSA. The TFSA is great however Canadians can still enjoy growing their money with no real limits tax free.

    The best product which is being around for over 150 years in Canada is participating whole life insurance. Since very few people understand how this works, I would be happy to explain the Pros and Cons of this any day compared to the TFSA (which as I said is excellent…but the government can and does change rules on us).

    Regards,

    Brian

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