Subsidizing the poor

By Ian Bolduc | November 27 2008 01:42PM

In Canada, the idea of the tax free savings account has been percolating for some time. Back in 2001, the C.D. Howe Institute recommended that Ottawa introduce a new retirement savings option that the authors called "the prepaid tax savings plan." The characteristics were those of the future TFSA. The Institute affirmed that Canadians with very low income would benefit from contributing to this type of account for retirement. In addition, the document stated that all workers and the Canadian economy would gain from a new tax provision for savings.

On Sept. 30 of this year, C.D. Howe again called on the federal government to introduce special incentive measures to encouraged disadvantaged Canadians to save. TFSA contributions of low income individuals could then be matched by a fund financed by taxpayers, similar to the subsidy paid under the Registered Educations Savings Plan (RESP).