The disagreement between Ottawa and Quebec over the legal age for cannabis consumption has centred on what is known as the black market (or the underground economy). The federal argument has been that if Quebec raises the age to 21, those between the ages of 18 and 21 will look to the illegal or black market, which will only expand the underground economy.
StatsCan took a cue from the debate and issued a report on just how big the underground economy is in this country. Saskatchewan, it turns out, is in the middle of the pack. About 2.5 per cent of all economic activity in our province falls into this category. That is right on the national average and stands sixth among the provinces.
Three industries account for the bulk of this activity, with residential construction topping the list. Retail is second. Food and beverage third. These have been at the top of the rankings for decades.
Unreported income is more than $50 billion a year in this country and most common place to see it is in undeclared tips.