Pelletier – Court of Quebec finds that employer payment of the law society dues of a tribunal member was not a taxable benefit

Lapierre JCQ found that the payment of the Quebec Bar dues of a commissioner of the Quebec Employment Injury Board by his employer did not give rise to a taxable benefit. Lapierre JCQ distinguished Tremblay, where the payment by the Quebec government of the bar dues of a Crown employee gave rise to a taxable benefit, on the basis that the Crown attorney would have had to pay his dues personally if they had not been covered by his employer - so that the reimbursement enriched him.

Here the exercise by the commissioner of his adjudicator role did not require him to maintain his membership in the Barreau du Québec. The only reason why his dues were paid for him by his employer was a statutory requirement that he be a member of the bar.

Without this requirement, Mr. Pelletier would have had no need to maintain his professional status in order to exercise his employment. He could have instead, as in the case of judges, ceased to pay the dues, which brought him nothing to the extent that he did not act as a lawyer. … This is especially true given that Mr. Pelletier’s function was not subject to the authority of the Barreau du Québec … nor to the Code of Professional Conduct of Lawyers.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Pelletier v. Agence du revenu du Québec, 2018 QCCQ 1655 under s. 6(1)(a).