Canada's Richest Person Is Worth Billions — Here's How Much He Could Give Every Canadian

If you had billions, would you share it?

Canadian dollars.
Senior Editor

Canadian dollars.

If you had enough money to share it with the whole of Canada, would you?

Forbes recently released its latest edition of the World's Billionaires List, ranking the richest people in the world based on their estimated net worth.

Towards the top of the list are the usual suspects, like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, who are worth a staggering nearly $400 billion between them.

And the True North has no shortage of billionaires either, with a whopping 63 individuals from Canada featured on Forbes' seriously-rich list.

To give you an idea of just how wildly wealthy these billionaires are: if your salary was $100,000 and was not taxed, it would take you 10 years to become a millionaire. It would take you 10,000 years to become a billionaire.

In other words, billionaires almost make millionaires like Beyonce and Tom Cruise look broke.

Sitting at the helm of Canada's wealthiest people is media magnate David Thomson and his family, who are thought to have an astounding net worth of around US$56.4 billion (around CA$75 billion).

With the median net worth in Canada estimated to be around CA$329,900 (as of 2019), the Thompson family outshines the average Canadian household by a pretty astonishing margin.

And this family is playing in the big leagues, too. As of July 12, Forbes puts David Thomson as the 23rd richest person globally.

Thomson and his family control what Fobes calls a "media and publishing empire," which was founded by his grandfather, Roy Thomson.

They also own more than 320 million shares (yup, you read that right) of Thomson Reuters, where Thomson is chairman, and own a stake in telecom giant Bell Canada. That's not all — they also own the Globe and Mail newspaper and a minority stake in the Montreal Canadiens.

Many of us have probably imagined what we'd spend our money on if we won the lottery or perhaps inherited a multi-billion dollar media and publishing empire.

Maybe you'd splurge on a lavish holiday or two, a fancy car, or even purchase one of Canada's most extravagant properties. But if you bought all of this and still had billions left to spare, what then?

How much money would you have to have before you started sharing it with the rest of Canada?

Well, as far as the Thomson family is concerned, it seems like that figure is more than US$56.4 billion.

While Canada's richest family has made no known plans to redistribute their wealth to Canadians up and down the country, they could afford to. In fact, they could give every single individual in Canada over US$1,000 right now.

The math is pretty simple. Per Forbes, David Thomson has a net worth of US$56.4 billion and split between 38,764,095 (the number of people in Canada as of July 12, according to Worldometers), everybody would get US$1,454.95 (around CA$1,909).

Instead, Forbes says Thomson spends his money on art, and he's believed to have a diverse collection that includes pieces from Pablo Picasso. He also owns the world's premier private collection collection of English painter John Constable.

He's also personally invested in the NHL's Winnipeg Jets and is now part-owner.

If all of that made you feel poor, get this: Bill Gates – Microsoft co-founder and the world's sixth-richest man – could afford to give everyone on Earth around $13.

Gates has actually committed to donating a large percentage of his personal fortune, although dishing out dollars to everyone around the world isn't quite part of his plan. Instead, he intends to give a significant chunk of change to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to fight poverty, hunger and diseases.

Tweeting last year, Gates said, "I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives. And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too."

While it sounds like, at least for now, the world's wealthiest billionaires don't have plans to share their fortunes with us mere mortals, it's good to know some are promising to donate their money to good causes.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.