Marceau, J:—The point at issue in this appeal by the Deputy Attorney General of Canada against a decision of the Tax Review Board is narrow and straightforward and one has difficulty in trying to understand how it has not yet given rise to a decision of the Court. It relates to the well known marital exemption section of the Income Tax Act, subsection 109(1) which, for convenience, I should reproduce here:
109. Deductions permitted by individuals.
(1) For the purpose of computing the taxable income of an individual for a taxation year, there may be deducted from his income for the year such of the following amounts as are applicable:
(a) Married status—in the case of an individual who, during the year, was a married person who supported his spouse, an amount equal to the aggregate of
(i) $1,600 and
(ii) $1,400 less the amount, if any, by which the spouse’s income for the year while married exceeds $300;
(b) Wholly dependent persons.—in the case of an individual not entitled to a deduction under paragraph (a) who, during the year,
(i) was an unmarried person or a married person who neither supported nor lived with his spouse and was not supported by his spouse, and
(ii) whether by himself or jointly with one or more other persons, maintained a self-contained domestic establishment (in which the individual lived) and actually supported therein a person who, during the year, was
(A) wholly dependent for support upon, and
(B) connected, by blood relationship, marriage or adoption, with the taxpayer, or the taxpayer and such one or more other persons, as the case may be,
an amount equal to the aggregate of
(iii) $1,600, and
(iv) $1,400 less the amount, if any, by which the income for the year of the dependent person exceeds $300;
The defendant taxpayer Brenda A Robichaud married on December 23, 1977 and from then on resided with her husband. Throughout that year 1977, she and her husband had both been employed; she had earned $8,467.30 while her husband had earned about twice as much. In filing her 1977 income tax return, the defendant claimed entitlement to the deduction allowed under paragraph 109(1 )(a) of the Act on the basis that, in 1977, she had been a married person who had supported her spouse whose income in that year during the seven days they had been married had not exceeded $250. Since her husband had himself already claimed and been allowed a similar deduction under the same section and on the same basis, the Minister denied the defendant’s claim. The Board, on appeal, did not agree with the Minister and decided that the defendant, in the circumstances, was entitled to the marital deduction as well as her husband. Is such a two way marital deduction a possibility for spouses under the Act? This is the point the Minister seeks to clarify by asking the Court to quash the decision of the Board setting aside his assessment.
The member of the Board called upon to hear the appeal first accepted evidence to the effect that the defendant, in the month preceding her marriage, had expended moneys for the mutual benefit of herself and her future husband. He noted that the defendant had indeed, jointly with her future spouse, borrowed $3,000 of which $2,720.30 was used to pay the downpayment on a residence they were acquiring. He noted also that she had paid at one occaion $129.95 and at another $33 to purchase and alter clothing for her spouse; she had given her spouse $37.10 for his personal use; had paid $27.15 for cablevision and $54 towards insurance on their new residence. The member of the Board then recalled three well established propositions with respect to the proper construction to be given to subsection 109(1) namely: (a) the requirement that the taxpayer has supported his spouse during the year is not dependent on any time factor, the phrase “during the year” meaning “in the course of the year” not “throughout the year”; (b) it is not part of the requirement that the taxpayer has “wholly” supported his spouse; (c) the taxpayer may have supported his spouse despite the fact that the latter has had during the year an independent income. On the basis of these three propositions and a finding that the expenses of the defendant, having been made “for commodities which were used after the marriage (suit, food, cablevision)”, had to be “considered as expenses made to support (her) spouse after the marriage”, the member simply declared himself satisfied that the requirements of paragraph 109(1 )(a) were met.
I have some difficulty in following the member’s analysis and especially I don’t see clearly the place assigned in his reasoning to the three propositions referred to. Much emphasis was very ably reserved by counsel for the defendant on the third of the three propositions, for the added support of which special reference was made to the decision of the Supreme Court in Johnston v MNR,  S.C.R. 486;  CTC 195; 3 DTC 1182, where Rand, J in the course of his reasons had said “I think a husband may continue to support his wife within the meaning of the statute although his wife may supply some money toward meeting the cost of maintenance of the household”. However, between the one proposition that a married person may support his or her spouse in spite of the fact that the latter has an independent revenue and contribute some moneys toward household expenses and the other proposition that a married person may at the same time support and be supported by his or her spouse there is, in my view, a gap which I don’t think can be bridged.
It seems to me that the decision of the Board simply eludes the real question that has to be addressed which is whether or not the defendant has “supported” her husband within the meaning of the Act. It simply assumes that because the defendant has made some expenses for the mutual interest of the couple, she has supported her husband but this is a completely unjustified assumption. It is unjustified for the very reason that the words used must be given their meaning and effect. The deduction is for supporting a spouse not merely for making household expenses.
In my view, the English word “support” and the French corresponding phrase “subvenir aux besoins” necessarily convey the meaning of being a source of subsistence, sustenance or living. He who is supported by another, be it totally or only partially, is a dependant of the other, ie derives his or some of his means of subsistence from the other. That being so, it seems to be somewhat difficult to suggest that a dependant could be the supporter of his own supporter.
In my view, the defendant whose wages were half those of her husband has never established that she had supported her husband during the marriage. The assessment of March 19, 1979, by which the Minister disallowed the deduction she had claimed under subsection 109(1) was therefore well founded and must be restored. Judgment will go accordingly.