TORONTO - A group of doctors is calling on federal and provincial governments to raise income taxes levied on high-income Canadians.
They are launching a campaign to get support for the idea, using the slogan "Tax us. Canada's worth it."
Doctors for Fair Taxation are proposing new surtaxes that would tax any income over $100,000.
People who earn between $100,000 and $170,000 would pay an extra one per cent on the income between those two figures and income between $170,000 and $640,000 would be subject to an extra two per cent levy.
Income over $640,000 and less than $1.85 million would be hit with an additional three per cent and income over $1.85 million would be subject to an additional surtax of six per cent.
The group estimates that the federal government would earn an extra $3.5 billion a year and Ontario would raise an extra $1.7 billion.
One of the organizers of the campaign, Dr. Michael Rachlis, says more than 50 doctors have signed the petition so far. A website hosting the petition will go live Thursday afternoon.
"Our group considers higher taxes a small price to pay for a more civilized Canada," says Rachlis, a public health physician and associate professor at the University of Toronto.
"We're becoming a more economically unequal society and we feel this is bad for our country's health."
Rachlis says the aim of the campaign is to get Canadians who would be paying the higher taxes to indicate their willingness, saying the organizers feel it would carry more weight that way.
Though the campaign has been started by doctors, anyone earning over $100,000 who supports the proposal can sign the petition.
One of the early signatories is Dr. Irfan Dalla, a Toronto-based physician who is also a member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
"Governments don't have the resources they need to address some of the causes of ill-health and some of the social programs that people want and need. And I think that people like me who are paid reasonably well can afford to contribute a little bit more to ensure that we have a fair society," Dalla says.
Rachlis says action needs to be taken to spare crucial public programs.
"We feel that this is a moral argument. We cannot talk about throwing people out of work and cutting needed programs for people," he says
"If the situations is that dire that governments are really feeling that that should be done, it seems to me that the only way to think of that is to tax higher-income earners who've seen their taxes fall a lot."