Smith – Federal Court of Appeal finds that a free parking pass was a taxable benefit notwithstanding business benefits to the employer

A flight attendant for Jazz Aviation LP received a taxable s. 6(1)(a) benefit when his employer provided him with a parking pass at the Calgary airport, notwithstanding that it would have been difficult for him to commute by other means and the airline’s belief that providing a parking pass to flight attendants enhanced their reliability and flexibility. Laskin JA stated:

[I]t is … determinative that Jazz Aviation did not require its flight attendants to commute to work by car, but was content to preserve the personal nature of employees’ commuting choices. This fact demonstrates that the cost of parking at the airport was a consequence of Mr. Smith’s personal choices and not bound up in his employment duties or in the nature of his work as a flight attendant. … [Consistently with Schroter, it] was “an ordinary, every day expense.”

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Smith v. Canada, 2019 FCA 173 under s. 6(1)(a).