First Nations Chief challenges Harper’s income splitting policy as inequitable

This week Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a $2.7 Billion income-splitting policy which will provide the greatest benefit to the highest income earners while short-handing low-income families.

Nearly half of all benefits will flow to those making over $100,000 a year. The single biggest share of the almost $3 billion plan (23.9%) will be received by men earning more than $182,000 with spouses who have no or little income.

“This inequitable policy will continue to provide large tax-breaks to well-off, statistically non-native families,” said AIAI Grand Chief Gordon Peters. “The conservative government is giving hand-outs to the most affluent Canadians mere months before the federal election, and leaving our kids behind in the process.”

The median income for First Nations people is $22,500 (off-reserve) and $14,000 (on-reserve). A First Nations family with two income-earners might make an average household income of $28,000 – $45,000 based on these statistics.

The tax benefit for a couple in this range would be between $14 and $38. Meanwhile, the top 1% of Canadians who make just under a half-million dollars will see a benefit of over $3,000.

Despite being advertised as a policy to help kids and families, income splitting only favors certain kinds of families and does not apply to single-parent households.

This affects many of the most vulnerable populations in Canada and will have a much higher impact on First Nations families where rates of single-parent homes are much higher. 34.4% of First Nations kids live in single-parent homes, compared to 17.4% of non-native kids.

AIAI is mandated as a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at, on Twitter@AIAI_comms and on Facebook.

For more information, please contact Suzanne Morrison at or 519.281.6238.