Roofmart – Federal Court of Appeal states that Hydro-Québec regarding limitations on unnamed person requirements (UPRs) “ought not to be followed”

Roofmart, a large supplier of roofing materials to residential and commercial contractors in Ontario, has unsuccessfully appealed the Federal Court’s granting of an application by the Minister under s. ITA 231.2(3) and ETA s. 289(3) for Roofmart to disclose various particulars for all of its customers who in the past 4 ½ years had made purchases of construction materials from Roofmart exceeding specified dollar thresholds.

In rejecting Roofmart’s reliance on the statement in Hydro-Québec that "[w]hen the group is generic and has no connection to the ITA, and information can be requested outside of the scope of the ITA (such as identifying the business clients of a public utility) there is no longer any limit on the fishing expedition," Rennie JA stated that this “passage is not a legal test but analysis of whether, on the facts of that case, there was an ‘ascertainable group’ and whether the information was required for the purposes of verifying compliance,” and that ”the suggestion in the reasons that the information sought was available through other means and therefore could not be obtained through a UPR [unnamed person requirement] is inconsistent with this Court’s jurisprudence, and ought not to be followed.” He further stated that the “fact that the UPR may target an unspecified or large number of accounts or that a significant amount of financial information may be captured does not affect its validity,” and that “GMREB established that a pending or existing tax audit of a particular individual is not a precondition to the exercise of power under subsection 231.2(3).”

Neal Armstrong. Summaries of Roofmart Ontario Inc. v. Canada (National Revenue), 2020 FCA 85 under s. 231.2(3) and s. 231.2(3)(a).