It turns out that the growth in the share of income among the richest of Canadians is actually concentrated right at the top — among Canada's richest.
The share of personal income for the richest 5 percent of Canadians was stable from 1982 to 1992 — they took about 21 percent of Canada's total income pie.
But between 1992 and 2004, their share grew to 25.3 percent of the income pie.
That doesn't sound like much, but that's a 4.3 percentage point increase in the share of all income earned in Canada, in a statistic that usually doesn't change much.
And it turns out the higher the income scale you go, the more money the richest of Canadians made: More than 90 percent of the gain in income share among the richest 5 percent went to the richest 1 percent of Canadians. Half of that gain went to the richest 0.1 percent. And remarkably, 20 percent of the gain went to the richest of the rich, the millionaires sitting in the top 0.01 percent of Canada's income scale.
Now here's where the dots line up. The Statistics Canada study also looked at the effective tax rates paid by individual Canadians in each income group.
It found that the average effective tax rate declined by about one percentage point for 95 percent of Canadians between 1992 and 2004.
The average effective tax rate for the top 5 percent declined by about two percentage points.
But the effective tax rate for the richest of the rich dropped dramatically.
The top 0.01 percent, the millionaires sitting at the top of the heap, enjoyed an average effective tax rate drop of 11 percentage points.
What the Statistics Canada study tells us is that between 1992 and 2004, Canada's income tax system ceased to be progressive for the richest 5 percent of tax filers.
And what about the rest of us? For almost a decade, our provincial and federal governments have been talking tax cuts, but those cuts went into the pockets of the richest of the rich. And that tax break only bolstered the unprecedented growth in the share of income going to Canada's richest.