Deegan – Federal Court finds that Canada’s FATCA-related legislation does not contravene the Charter

Mactavish J rejected the position of two American citizens, who had had no significant connection with the U.S. since early childhood, that the information-reporting requirements in ITA Part XVIII resulted in the unreasonable seizure of financial information belonging to U.S. persons in Canada, contrary to s. 8 of the Charter. Although she accepted that these provisions provided for the seizure of the specified account information, she considered such seizure to be reasonable after weighing the “minimally intrusive” nature of the seizure (i.e., of banking information that the individuals already could be required under US law to provide) against “the need to protect Canada as a whole from the economic consequences of FATCA” (i.e., of the disruptive 30% U.S. withholding tax that would have been imposed in the absence of arriving at the IGA).

The individuals’ s. 15 equality rights arguments also did not succeed. Although the legislation distinguished on a ground (citizenship) that was analogous to the enumerated grounds, she found that:

[I]nsulating persons resident in this country from their obligations under duly-enacted laws of another democratic state is not a value that section 15 of the Charter was designed to foster.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Deegan v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 FC 960 under Charter s. 8, s. 15.