Marking a century of federal income tax

The roots for Canada’s current income tax system go back to First World War
By Sheila Brawn
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 01/31/2017
Parliament Hill’s West Block includes a statue of PM Robert Borden, who introduced federal income tax in 1917. (Michel Loiselle/Shutterstock)

While Canadians will celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this year, there is another milestone happening in 2017 over which some people may not rejoice. Federal income tax turns 100 this year.

Income tax deductions are such an integral part of employer source deductions and remittances today that it is hard to imagine a time when they did not exist. However, up until 1917, Canadians did not pay federal income tax.

Provincial and municipal income taxes existed in some jurisdictions, but today’s system of paying and reporting income taxes to the federal government was not in place then.