From Niels Veldhuis <[email protected]>
Subject A recap of our year so far
Date July 8, 2021 2:15 PM
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Dear John,

Can you believe we are already half way through 2021?

Here at the Fraser Institute we remain as busy as ever, measuring information that is vital to Canadians as vaccination rates increase and Canada begins to open up again.

With so many new policies, changes to restrictions, and spending announcements happening across the country, I think you’ll agree that the work we do is more important than ever.

Do you support the work we do? If so, consider donating today [[link removed]]!

Here are just a few examples of the vital research we have done in 2021 so far:

COVID responses around the world

In May, we released a detailed, 86-page study which includes statistical analysis of nearly 200 countries and their experiences with, and responses to, COVID-19.

The study found that Canada has performed poorly compared to other industrialized countries. It found that aside from measures enacted early on in the pandemic, levels of stringency or ramping up of stringency of restrictions did not significantly reduce COVID-19 cases per million.

It also found that protracted restrictions were of limited effectiveness in combating the pandemic – but quite effective in reducing economic activity, and that stringency measures such as lockdowns were found to be best employed as short, sharp measures early on in the pandemic, rather than as a protracted, longer-term tool.

Canada’s relative debt position is much worse than reported

The Trudeau government continues to rationalize its debt-financed spending claiming that Canada has the “lowest level of debt in the G7.”

Unfortunately, that is simply not true: the Trudeau government uses the assets of the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan to distort the gravity of Canada’s indebtedness. In June, we released a study which finds Canada’s debt ranking falls from best in the G7 to 5th worst of 29 advanced countries when total debt is measured.

Tax Freedom Day

Our annual Tax Freedom Day in Canada fell on May 24 this year – but unfortunately there is no reason to celebrate, as all signs point to a rising tax bill in the future. In 2021, the average Canadian family (with two or more people) will pay $48,757 in total taxes – or 39.1% of its annual income.

To see how the $233.5 billion budget deficits our federal and provincial governments are running this year impact Tax Freedom Day, we also calculated the Balanced Budget Tax Freedom Day: the day of the year when the average Canadian would finally start working for themselves if all governments paid for all their spending with taxes collected this year.

In 2021, the Balanced Budget Tax Freedom Day won’t arrive until July 7 – 44 days later.

Improving health care

Did you know that Canada remains one of only a handful of countries that funds hospitals primarily with lump sum payments, regardless of how many patients they treat?

It’s true – virtually every other developed country with universal healthcare has moved to funding hospitals based on services provided to patients.

In April, we released a study showing that switching to such an activity-based model would create powerful incentives to deliver a greater volume and quality of services, with the potential to reduce wait times.

John, I’m happy to report that all of these studies received widespread attention across the country, generating thousands of news stories in the media, and reaching millions more people on the Fraser Institute’s own channels.

You may have assumed, based on the content of our studies, that we do not accept handouts from governments. You’d be correct – we rely entirely on supporters like you.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for being on our email list. I hope you appreciate receiving our research delivered to your inbox each week.

If you are able to, please consider making a donation today [[link removed]]. Every donation of any size helps us continue doing the important work we do.


Niels Veldhuis




The Fraser Institute has been ranked the #1 think tank in Canada, and the 14th best think tank out of more than 8,200 around the world! We keep Canadians – and decision-makers! – informed.

But we are only as strong as our supporters. We do not accept government grants or payments for research - we depend on individuals like you to continue our good work! We are a charity - your donation entitles you to a generous tax credit at tax time!

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