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Fraser Institute News Release: Lowering capital gains tax rate best way to encourage financing for entrepreneurs


VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eliminating, or at least lowering, Canada's uncompetitive tax rate on capital gains is the best policy for encouraging entrepreneurial financing, which is critical for new business startups, finds a new book released recently by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The book, Demographics and Entrepreneurship: Mitigating the Effects of an Aging Population, spotlights declining growth rates in small business startups, a key measure of entrepreneurship, and explores policies to encourage and enhance entrepreneurship.

"Governments across Canada have tried all sorts of different policies to encourage small business financing and entrepreneurship, but the best policy lever at government's disposal is lowering the capital gains tax rate," said Douglas Cumming, professor of finance and entrepreneurship at York University's Schulich School of Business and co-author of the chapter Financial Markets, Laws, and Entrepreneurship.

Cumming's work finds that the preferential tax rate for small businesses does not encourage entrepreneurship, and actually acts as a barrier for small businesses to grow into medium and large businesses, because doing so triggers a substantial tax increase.

Likewise, Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations (LSVCC), which were reintroduced by the current federal government, have widely been seen as failures because LSVCCs are used largely for their generous tax credits, and often fail to deliver financing to entrepreneurs.

"With the rate of small business startups on the decline and venture capital near anemic levels, Ottawa and the provinces should lower capital gains tax rates to improve entrepreneurial finance," Cumming said.

A second related chapter in the book—Spurring Entrepreneurship through Capital Gains Tax Reform—looks specifically at the economics of capital gains and Canada's current competitiveness.

Among other insights from the chapter, it notes how several developed countries, including New Zealand, Switzerland and Belgium don't have capital gains taxes. Others including Australia, Britain, Germany and Japan have lower rates than Canada, which in 2015/16, had a top personal marginal capital gains tax rate of 26.5 per cent—higher than the OECD average (25.5 per cent).

Not only do lower capital gains tax rates incentive greater entrepreneurial activity by increasing the potential reward for starting a business, a lower rate also frees up capital and encourages investment in business startups by similarly increasing the potential reward for investors if a new company is a success.

"Instead of pursuing policies, such as lower capital gains tax rates, that are proven to encourage entrepreneurial activity, the federal government is doubling down on failed policies that actually hinder business growth," said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies with the Fraser Institute.

Douglas Cumming, Professor
Schulich School of Business

Charles Lammam, Director, Fiscal Studies
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(604) 688-0221 ext. 589

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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