Fraser Institute News Release: Federal, provincial and local governments spent more than $350 billion on corporate welfare from 2007 to 2019

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Governments in Canada—federal, provincial and local—spent $352.1 billion (inflation-adjusted) subsidizing businesses over a 13-year period, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan, Canadian public policy think-tank.

“These subsidies for businesses—also known as corporate welfare—come with huge costs to government budgets and taxpayers while doing little if anything to stimulate economic growth,” said Tegan Hill, economist at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Cost of Business Subsides in Canada.

(In the study, business subsides include unrequited government transfers to businesses but exclude other forms of government support such as loan guarantees and direct investment.)

More specifically, from 2007 to 2019 (the latest year of available pre-COVID data), the federal government spent $76.7 billion on business subsidies while the provinces spent $223.3 billion and local governments spent $52.1 billion.

Among the provinces during the same period, total provincial business subsidies (excluding federal and local subsidies) were highest in Quebec ($79.6 billion), Ontario ($73.4 billion) and British Columbia ($22.9 billion).

And provincial subsidies equalled a significant share of provincial business income tax revenue across the country. In fact, provinces such as Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Manitoba could have effectively eliminated provincial business income taxes over the period if they had eliminated provincial business subsidies.

“Rather than give preferential treatment to certain companies and industries, governments could reduce business income taxes and help foster a pro-economic growth environment that gives all businesses the opportunity and incentives to succeed,” Hill said.

Tegan Hill, Economist
Fraser Institute

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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