Most Canadians would pay higher taxes to reduce social inequality, with an overwhelming majority supportive of raising taxes on the wealthy.

The Broadbent Institute poll found that in Canada even top earners favour higher taxes.

Some 64% of 2,000 respondents said they were willing to pay "slightly higher" taxes in order to protect state-run health, pension and post-secondary education programmes.

23% said they were "very willing."

An overwhelming majority of 83%, including top earners, support increasing income taxes on the wealthiest Canadians, according to the survey.

Canada's inheritance tax was scrapped in the 1980s, but the poll found that 69% of the public back the introduction of a 35% inheritance tax on any estate valued above $5m.

In the US, President Barack Obama has made the "Buffett rule" - a proposal for a minimum tax of 30% on those earning $1m a year - a key plank of his 2012 re-election bid.

The rule is named after famed investor Warren Buffett, one of the world's wealthiest individuals, who has said the US tax code unfairly favours millionaires and billionaires, who make most of their income from investments.

Obama's Republican rivals have said any tax hike would endanger the economic recovery and that proposals to tax the wealthy amount to "class warfare."