Access to Information Act

Section 18

Cases

Canadian Council of Christian Charities v. Minister of Finance, 99 DTC 5337 (FCTD)

Evans J. indicated (at p. 5342) that although the words "injurious to the financial interest of the government of Canada" in s. 18(d) should not be interpreted as extending to revenue loss resulting from an increase in legitimate claims to a deduction under the Income Tax Act (that would result from disclosure of weaknesses under the existing statutory scheme), in this case the Minister was on firmer grounds in refusing to disclose documents that contained analyses by officials of various options for amending the statute.

Section 24

Subsection 24(1)

Cases

Summers v. Canada (National Revenue), 2014 DTC 5112 [at 7267], 2014 FC 880

taxpayer not entitled to request information about tax-shelter corporation

The taxpayer participated in an alleged tax avoidance scheme involving the subscription of units in a corporation that generated dubious business losses. In the course of largely allowing the taxpayer's application under the Access to Information Act for the Minister's records on the taxpayer, O'Keefe J disallowed the taxpayer's request for the tax information of the corporation, as this would be "the same as allowing a home buyer to access a realtor's tax records" (para. 66). The taxpayer was unable to demonstrate that the corporate information was necessary to prosecute her own appeal.

Other locations for this summary
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 241 - Subsection 241(1) taxpayer not entitled to request information about tax-shelter corporation

Section 21

See Also

John Doe v. Ontario (Finance), 2014 SCC 36, [2014] 2 S.C.R. 3

exclusion for "advice or recommendations" applied to draft policy papers

The appellant, a lawyer, filed a request for information with the Ministry of Finance, pursuant to the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FIPPA"), to compel the disclosure of records relating to one of the Ministry's tax amendments, "including all records which provide the reasons for not deciding to make [certain provisions] retroactive."

Rothstein J upheld the Ministry's refusal to provided various internal drafts of a policy options paper. S. 13(1) of FIPPA makes disclosure optional where it would "reveal the advice or recommendations of a public servant." The purpose of s. 13(1) is to allow public servants to provide "candid and complete" advice on policy options (paras. 43-45). Therefore, the word "advice" must be construed broadly, to include any discussions by a public servant about the range of alternative policy options, as well as any considerations to take into account by the decision maker (paras. 46-47). For similar reasons, there is no requirement that the record be communicated or intended to be communicated for s. 13(1) to apply (para. 51).

(Paragraph 21(1)(a) of Canada's Access to Information Act similarly gives the government the option not to disclose records of "advice or recommendations.")

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Redundancy/reading in words "advice" in "advice or recommendations" can't only entail "recommendations" 152

Section 21.1

Cases

Canadian Council of Christian Charities v. Minister of Finance, 2000 DTC 5337 (FCTD)

Before affirming a decision to withhold disclosure of certain documents, Evans J. stated (at p. 5342) with respect to the scope of the exemptions in ss.21(1)(a) and (b):

"To permit or to require the disclosure of advice given by officials either to other officials or to Ministers, and the disclosure of confidential deliberations within the public service on policy options, would erode government's ability to formulate and to justify its policies."