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Federal Court of Canada

Federal Court of Canada Legal business Quebec Rulings

Former Montreal Crown prosecutor who filed a reprisal complaint wins partial victory

A former Crown prosecutor who filed a reprisal complaint against the Public Prosecution Service of Canada before the federal Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner partially won his case before the Federal Court of Canada.

In a ruling that brings clarity to the role of the whistleblowing commissioner, the Federal Court held that the Integrity Commissioner does not have the charge to decide people’s credibility nor should he address thorny legal questions.

Instead the commissioner’s role lies with determining on an objective basis whether reprisal complaints should be forwarded to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal.…

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Accounting Business Federal Court of Canada Rulings

Federal Court of Appeal allows use of mark-to-market tax accounting

Taxpayers are entitled to use the mark-to-market method to compute income for federal tax purposes if it provides a more accurate picture of a taxpayer’s income, ruled the Federal Court of Appeal.

The federal appeal court decision bolsters the possibility for taxpayers to use methods to compute income that are not forbidden by the Income Tax Act (Act), affirms Canada Revenue Agency’s administrative position that allows regulated financial institutions to tax derivatives on a mark-to-market basis, and may open the door to allow financial accounting to become more influential in determining what constitutes an acceptable method of computing income from business, according to tax experts.…

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Canada Employment & Labour Law Federal Court of Canada Rulings Weekend reads

Montreal tax lawyer fights federal whistleblower watchdog

Yacine Agnaou is one of a handful of Canadian lawyers who took on Quebec tax authorities and plead a case so successfully that now others are trying to follow suit. Last year Agnaou won a precedent-setting ruling that condemned Revenue Quebec to pay nearly $4 million, including a staggering $2 million in punitive damages, to a businessman who was forced to shut down his business after it mishandled his case. Lawyers from different firms, evidently emboldened, are now working together to plead a case before the Quebec Court of Appeal to stop Revenue Quebec’s controversial policy of holding companies liable for the tax delinquencies of its suppliers.

Now Agnaou is immersed in another legal battle against another government department, and once again the odds of winning are stacked against him. Agnaou, a former Crown prosecutor, has filed a motion for leave to appeal before the Federal Court of Appeal in a bid to force the federal whistleblower watchdog to investigate his allegations of wrongdoing against the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.…

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Accounting Business Federal Court of Canada Legal Practice Management Quebec Rulings Tax

Quebec tax authorities chastised for expecting business to act as “tax police”

The Tax Court of Canada, in yet another legal blow to Quebec’s tax authorities, chastised Revenue Quebec for expecting business to act as a “taxation police” after it withheld input tax credits from a meat processing company because it ostensibly had not been diligent in its dealings with its suppliers.

The precedent-setting ruling, the third to harshly castigate the Quebec taxman in recent months, found that nothing in the Excise Tax Act (ETA) allows tax authorities to hold a company liable for the tax delinquencies of its suppliers. In uncharacteristically blunt language, Justice Alain Tardif noted that it would be unreasonable to expect business to perform complete background checks on all its suppliers, especially since legislation grants tax authorities large powers to investigate and demand information.

“If Parliament had intended that a taxpayer doing business with a delinquent subcontractor would be held solidarily liable for the amounts the subcontractor owes to the state, it would have expressly stated that as the legislator did for contributions owed to the CSST,” said Justice Tardif in Salaison Lévesque Inc. v. The Queen, 2014 TCC 36. “It is not for the Court to usurp the function of Parliament.”…

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Charter of Rights and Freedoms Employment & Labour Law Federal Court of Canada Supreme Court of Canada Weekend reads

Truth & Consequences

Edgar Schmidt, a soft-spoken lawyer, joins a growing list of Canadian whistleblowers who quickly discover that disclosing potential wrongdoing in the workplace almost always leaves them vulnerable.

Schmidt’s court case raises thorny issues over the nature of the professional responsibilities and ethical obligations of government lawyers.

But it also underscores the tension that exists between the duty of loyalty an employee owes to his employer, freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and federal and provincial whistleblowing legislation that aims to protect whistleblowers from retribution by their employers. …

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