Employee Benefit Plan

Cases

MNR v. Chrysler Canada Ltd., 92 DTC 6346 (FCTD)

After finding (below) that the Chrysler employee stock ownership plan was both an employee benefit plan and an agreement to issue shares to employees within the meaning of section 7, Strayer J. found that section 7 had "priority" over paragraph 6(1)(g).

Re MNR and Chrysler Canada Ltd., 91 DTC 5526 (FCTD)

Chrysler (U.S.) contributed treasury shares to a trust for the benefit of its employees and those of Chrysler Canada. Chrysler Canada reimbursed Chrysler (U.S.) for the shares contributed for the benefit of Chrysler Canada's employees. The trustee allocated the shares notionally to employees, reinvested dividends and further shares which are similarly allocated and at the termination of the plan (which occurred some seven years later) distributed the shares or cash proceeds thereof.

This arrangement was held to entail both the issue of shares as described in ss.7(1) and (2), and an employee benefit plan as described in s. 248(1). After noting that Canadian employees agreed to make wage concessions partly in return for right of participation in the plan, Strayer J. stated (p. 5531):

"I can see no reason why the 'agreement' referred to cannot be an oral agreement or an implied agreement - even an implied agreement based on a collective bargaining arrangement ..."

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 7 - Subsection 7(2) oral agreement 170

See Also

Bedard v. MNR, 91 DTC 573 (TCC)

One-half of the $32,000 received by the taxpayer from his former employer following his dismissal represented compensation for the defamation which he suffered as a result of his employer publicizing its purported reasons for dismissing him. The damages for defamation were non-taxable.

Crighton v. MNR, 91 DTC 511 (TCC)

Upon terminating the taxpayer's employment, his employer offered to pay him the sum of $150,000 "in whatever form you choose which best suits your financial and tax requirements". After negotiation, it was agreed that $52,000 would be contributed to his RRSP, and the balance of $98,000 to an employee benefit plan established for his benefit. Watson D.J.TC held that although the outright acceptance of this offer by the taxpayer may very well have resulted in him being considered to have received a retiring allowance or a s. 56(2) benefit, no such entitlement to a retiring allowance occurred. Instead, the $98,000 was paid to a qualifying employee benefit plan.

Administrative Policy

S2-F1-C1 - Health and Welfare Trusts

Overview

1.1 A health and welfare trust is not defined in the Act. In general terms, a health and welfare trust described in this Chapter is a trust arrangement established by an employer for the purpose of providing health and welfare benefits to its employees. Under this type of trust arrangement, trustees (usually with equal representation from the employer and the employees or their union) receive contributions from the employer and in some cases from employees, to provide certain health and welfare benefits agreed to between the employer and the employees. Multiple employers can participate in the same health and welfare trust.

Health and welfare benefits administered

1.2 A health and welfare trust may only administer the following:

  1. a group sickness or accident insurance plan;
  2. a private health services plan;
  3. a group term life insurance policy; or
  4. any combination of the above plans.

1.3 With the exception of a group term life insurance policy, a health and welfare trust can provide health and welfare benefits under plans described in ¶1.2 through third-party insurance contracts (an insured plan), directly from the property of the health and welfare trust (a self-insured plan), or through a combination of both.

Group sickness or accident insurance plan

1.4 The term group sickness or accident insurance plan is not defined in the Act. Generally, a group sickness or accident insurance plan may be described as an arrangement between an employer and employees which provides for the payment of benefits (periodic or lump sum) to an employee who suffers a loss as a result of sickness, maternity, or accident. To qualify as a group plan, a group sickness or accident insurance plan must have at least two employee plan members. Reference to a group sickness or accident insurance plan includes:

  1. a sickness or accident insurance plan;
  2. a disability insurance plan; and
  3. an income maintenance insurance plan. ...

Coverage

1.14 A health and welfare trust cannot provide benefit coverage to non-employees such as partners of a partnership, shareholders, or independent contractors, even if these individuals pay for the coverage themselves.

Use of trust property

1.15 The funds of the trust and any income earned in the trust cannot revert to the employer or be used for a purpose other than providing health and welfare benefits under plans described in ¶1.2. Trust property may not be invested in, or used by, the employer, a person who does not deal at arm's length with the employer, or a person who is a member of a group of persons not dealing at arm's length with the employer. ...

1.16 The distribution of surplus funds to employees, including a transfer to a pension plan, a group registered retirement savings plan, or to individual employee registered retirement savings plans, is not an acceptable use of trust funds and may disqualify the trust as a health and welfare trust.

1.17 Where a health and welfare trust is wound up, any funds remaining in the trust may be used to provide additional benefits under plans described in ¶1.2 to the beneficiaries of the trust (that is, employees), or may be distributed to the employees or to a registered charity.

Independence from employer

1.18 The trustees must act independently of the employer.

2013 Ruling 2012-0470801R3 - Employee Benefit Plan - Redemption Window

redemption of notional units

RE "amendments is to permit a Participant to elect to redeem a portion of the Participant's Notional Units during a redemption window that may be opened by the Trustee from time to time, without ceasing to be a Participant in the Plan."

23 February 1995 Internal T.I. 7-942508 -

Where there is a transfer of funds from a U.K. pension to a registered pension plan, the transaction will not be a taxable event if (a) the transfer occurs at the time the individual is not resident in Canada, or (b) the terms of the registered pension plan provide for such a transfer and the transfer is not made at the employee's request.

23 January 1992 External T.I. 5-913366 -

Where a change in the trustees of an employee benefit plan was provided for in the terms of a grandfathered plan, a change of the trustees would not by itself result in adverse tax consequences. However, additional considerations would arise if the proposed trustees were not dealing at arm's length with the plan beneficiaries.

21 October 1991 T.I. (Tax Window, No. 11, p. 5, ¶1532)

Where a corporation sells its business at a time when there is a surplus in its health and welfare trust, the funds should remain in the existing trust, rather than being transferred to an established trust of the purchaser or to a new trust established by the purchaser with respect to the purchased operation.

10 June 1991 T.I. (Tax Window, No. 4, p. 28, ¶1293)

An arrangement under which the employer pays an insurer in respect of legal services to be provided to its employees does not constitute an employee benefit plan or an employee trust.

12 January 1990 T.I. (June 1990 Access Letter, ¶1248)

The inclusion of a funeral expense benefit would result in an otherwise non-taxable plan becoming an employee benefit plan or employee trust.

Articles

Simon Thompson, "Canada's Income Tax Rules for Non-Registered Plans: Implications for Foreign Pensions", A Journal of International Taxation, Vol. 15, No. 10, October 2004, p. 34.

D. Bruce Ball, Brenda Dietric H., "Canadian Taxation of Foreign Pensions", Personal Tax Planning, 2000 Canadian Tax Journal, Vol. 48, No. 6, p. 1908.

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