Young Canadians to bear burden of mounting federal government debt

The debt the federal government is expected to accumulate now, and in the future, will be disproportionately paid for by younger Canadians, according to a new report released Thursday by the Fraser Institute, a public policy think tank. 

The report, Lifetime Tax Burden for Canadians from Federal Debt Accumulation, said Canadians aged 16 to 35 will pay an additional $19,880 per person in personal income taxes over their lifetime due to current and future expected borrowing by the federal government. By comparison, Canadians aged 65 and older will only pay an additional $1,524 in income taxes.

In total, Canadian taxpayers are expected to bear an additional $332.5 billion in additional personal income taxes due to existing federal debt and what’s expected to be borrowed in the future, said the report.

Of that amount, Canadians aged 16 to 35 will collectively pay an additional $205.1 billion in personal income taxes—61.7 per cent of the total burden imposed on all age groups over their lifetimes, added the Fraser Institute. 

“Today’s deficits are tomorrow’s taxes so it’s important for Canadians, particularly younger Canadians, to understand how these deficits and rising debt levels will affect their lives in the future,” said Jake Fuss, senior economist at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the report. 

“When policymakers in Ottawa spend beyond their means, racking up more debt in the process, they’re handing the bill for current spending to future generations.”

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