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Canada’s 20 richest people made $37 billion during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic was a reason for most people to fret for their financial future. Not so for the 1%.

According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Initiatives, Canada’s rich got even richer over the past half a year. Much richer, in fact. The country’s top 20 billionaires saw their total wealth increase by $37 billion since the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.

The Thomson family fortune grew by $8.8 billion. Shopify’s Tobi Lutke made $6.6 billion. Chip Wilson, founder of Lululemon, added $3 billion to the bank.

Here’s a look at the numbers:

It’s no wonder 75% of Canadians support a wealth tax to pay for the post-COVID recovery. Such an initiative would require Canada’s top earners to contribute 1% to 2% of the value of their assets to critical public infrastructure. Why them? They own 120 times their share of the country’s wealth.

Meanwhile, nearly two million Canadian jobs have been negatively affected since March. The unemployment rate hit an all-time high of 13.7 per cent in May; 1.1 million people are still out of work. Unfathomably, companies like Loblaws (run by #3 on the list, the Galen Weston family) and #8 Jim Pattison have cut pay for their workers.

“At a time when Canada’s richest 1% controls 26% of our wealth, and when billionaires hold 4,448 times the wealth of the typical family, both an emergency, one-time excess wealth tax and an annual wealth tax should be on the table,” write report authors Alex Hemingway and Michal Rozworski.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.