Brian Ernewein on Multilateral Instrument

Brian Ernewein, the General Director (Legislation) of the Department of Finance's Tax Policy Branch, presented an update at the 2016 CTF Annual Conference. The following presentation notes are from the portion of that presentation (following an extended discussion of the WIP of federal bills and those current projects which he felt at liberty to discuss) that dealt with mutual assistance and with multilateral instruments.

Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters

The Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters, of which Canada and another 89 jurisdictions are members, has effectively extended Canada's tax information exchange agreement and exchange-of-information relationships with those 89 jurisdictions. Not all are covered by our 92 Treaties or 22 bilateral TIEAs. There are 19 jurisdictions, not covered by Treaties or TIEAs, for which the multilateral convention provides for exchanges of information with Canada.

More comprehensive information on this will be provided on the Treaty section of the Finance website, which will set out a complete list of countries that are members of this multilateral Convention.


Late last week, the OECD released the multilateral instrument to implement the BEPS Treaty-changes arising from the BEPS recommendations. The agreement itself is quite extensive, and will be the subject of further discussion in different places.

The publication of the multilateral instrument is something that Canada played a role in - our chief treaty-negotiatior, Stephanie Smith, was extensively involved in its work - but its publication is not the equivalent of an endorsement by any country to use the multilateral instrument, absent Treaty-changes. There is a separate decision to be made by the Canadian federal government, and every other government, as to which items in the multilaral instrument each country will choose to adopt. Our government has to make that decision. That may be something we will be able to report on by the time of the next federal budget.