Principal Issues: Whether an employer may split a long-term disability plan into two plans - one for unionized staff and one for non-unionized staff. The non-unionized staff would pay XXXXXXXXXX % of the premium while the employer would pay XXXXXXXXXX % of the premium in the plan for unionized staff.
Position: If the Taxpayer can establish that the new plan is separate from the existing plan and that it is an employee-pay-all plan, any benefits received under this new plan will be received by employees tax-free while the benefits paid under the old plan would continue to be subject to tax in the employees' hands to the extent provided paragraph 6(1)(f) of the Act. However, where an employee is receiving benefits under the taxable plan at a time when the new employee-pay-all plan is instituted, the benefits he or she continues to receive, to the extent that they were provided for in the old plan, will remain of an income nature because they continue to flow from the old taxable plan.
Reasons: In order to determine the income tax consequences where an employer has two wage loss replacement plans, it is essential to determine whether there are, in fact, two plans. In this regard, it is our general view that two wage loss replacement plans would be regarded as being in existence provided that there is no cross subsidization between the two plans, and the level of benefits, premiums rates, qualifications for membership and other terms and conditions of each of the plans are not dependent upon the existence of the other plan. Additionally, the administration of the plans must indicate that each plan can be regarded as being separate from the other.