Honey Fashion – Federal Court of Appeal requires the CBSA to revisit an adverse decision due to its failure to explain a departure from past practices

In a specialized customs tariff remission context, De Montigny JA agreed with Zinn J of the Federal Court that a decision of the CBSA - to deny a request of a clothing manufacturer (Honey Fashion) to have the name of the importer of record changed from the actual importer to that of Honey Fashion (in order that Honey Fashion could generate remission claims for the importations in question) – should be reversed given that the CBSA decision did not give any explanation as to why it was not following its practice in previous such claims of allowing such a name change. In applying Vavilov, De Montigny JA stated:

A decision maker cannot deviate from earlier decisions or from a longstanding past practice, especially when it is too late for those affected by these decisions to adjust their behaviour accordingly, without providing a reasonable explanation for that departure.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Canada (Attorney General) v. Honey Fashions Ltd., 2020 FCA 64 under Customs Act, s. 7.1.