Bitton Trust – Supreme Court of Canada finds that the ARQ could issue a requirement to a Calgary branch of a Quebec bank

The ARQ, which was seeking to determine whether a supposed Alberta trust was resident in Quebec, issued a requirement to a Calgary branch of the National Bank of Canada for various bank records respecting the trust under the Quebec equivalent of ITA s. 231.2(1). The requirement was sent directly to the branch rather than to the bank’s head office in Quebec because this was required under s. 462(2) of the Bank Act. Before concluding that the ARQ had not exceeded its territorial competence in making this requirement, Rowe J found that the sending of the requirement to the Calgary branch (which was deemed to be a separate entity only for the limited purposes of s. 462) did not detract from the fact that it was sent to a person (the bank) that operated in Quebec, stating:

It would be absurd if the procedural requirements imposed by s. 462(2) … were understood to affect the ARQ’s authority to issue a formal demand to a bank that operates within its territorial jurisdiction.

He added:

[I]f a corporate entity had no operations in Quebec, it is not clear whether the ARQ would have the authority to issue a formal demand to that entity.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of 1068754 Alberta Ltd., trustee of DGGMC Bitton Trust v. ARQ, 2019 SCC 37 under s. 231.2(1).