French and English Version

Table of Contents

Cases

Inwest Investments Ltd. v. The Queen, 2015 BCSC 1375

"misrepresentation" informed by narrower French version

Fitzpatrick J., after noting (at para. 101) that the French version of s. 152(4)(a)(i) rendered “misrepresentation” as “misrepresentation of facts” and (at para. 102) that in Canada v. Mossop, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 554 at 618 “the court reiterated… that the French and English versions of legislation are equally authoritative and, where there is a discrepancy, the meaning that furthers the purpose of the legislation is to prevail,” found (at para. 126) that “a statement of a filing position that, even if that position may be incorrect, involves a determination of law or mixed fact and law will not be a misrepresentation if that filing position is reasonable."

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 152 - Subsection 152(4) - Paragraph 152(4)(a) - Subparagraph 152(4)(a)(i) reasonable filing position position cannot be a “misrepresentation” 508
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 232 - Subsection 232(1) - Solicitor-Client Privilege not necessary to provide legal opinion to rely on having consulted legal counsel 215
Tax Topics - Income Tax Regulations - Regulation 400 - Subsection 400(2) no fixed place of “business” if no source of business income 165
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 248 - Subsection 248(1) - Business Marconi test of "business" applied outside source-of-income context 136

ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp. v. Canada (National Revenue), 2016 DTC 5016 [at 6588], 2016 FC 98, 2017 FCA 243 rev'd

ambiguity in French version resolved through English version

After noting ambiguities in the French version of s. 165(3). Boswell J stated (at paras. 45-46):

Under the Daoust approach [2004 SCC 6, at paras. 27 to 31, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 217], the first step is to determine whether there is discordance between the English and French versions of the provision in question. The second step is to determine whether the common or dominant meaning is, according to the ordinary rules of statutory interpretation, consistent with Parliament’s intent. Daoust further states (at para 28) that if there is ambiguity in one version but not the other, the court must look for the meaning common to both versions. If the first interpretation of the French version of subsection 220(2.1) above is used, there is a common meaning between the English and French versions. The shared meaning, as put forward in the English version of the provision, which is not ambiguous, is clearly consistent with Parliament’s intent to define the forms, receipts, and other documents, the filing of which can be waived by the Minister.

Accordingly, since only the French version is ambiguous, the French interpretation that fits with the English interpretation, namely, the first French interpretation above, should be adopted. Pursuant to the shared meaning rule, this common meaning is presumed to be the meaning intended by the legislature... .

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 220 - Subsection 220(2.1) discretion under s. 220(2.1) to waive filing a Notice of Objection 454
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 165 - Subsection 165(1) Minister can consider reassessment without Notice of Objection 206

Brandon (City) v. Canada, 2010 FCA 244

French version brought out the secondary meaning of “maintain” in ungrammatical English version

In addressing the interpretation of ETA Sched. V, Pt. VI, s. 22, which exempted “A supply of a service, made by a municipality … of ... installing, repairing, maintaining or interrupting the operation of a water distribution, sewerage or drainage system,” Pelletier JA first noted (at para. 39) that “no matter how one reads the sentence, it is ungrammatical and ambiguous,” but then stated (at paras. 41, 44-45):

It is clear from the French version that the service supplied by the municipality is that of installing, repairing or maintaining a water distribution network or a sewer or drainage system, or interrupting the operation of such a network or system. Maintaining refers to the network or system and not to the operation of such a network or system.

The primary sense of the verb [“entrenir”] is sufficiently broad to include and, in my view, does include, the operation of a thing or a system. …

As for the meaning of the verbs “to maintain” and “entretenir”, there is an overlap between the two versions, with the French verb emphasizing a meaning which is present in English, though not as the primary meaning. The overlapping meaning is the shared meaning. As a result, I would conclude, as did the Tax Court Judge, that section 22 is broad enough to include the “operation” of the wastewater disposal facility by the City.

Words and Phrases
entretenir
Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Schedules - Schedule V - Part VI - Section 21 s. 21 inapplicable because private company was not contractually obligated to provide its wastewater to the City plant 287
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Schedules - Schedule V - Part VI - Section 22 s. 22 extended to operation of a wastewater facility by City for private company 241

Medovarski v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration); Esteban v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 SCC 51, [2005] 2 S.C.R. 539

McLachlin C.J.C. at para. 24-25:

In interpreting bilingual statutes, the statutory interpretation should begin with a search for the shared meaning between the two versions. ...

First, one must apply the rules of statutory interpretation to determine whether or not there is an apparent discordance, and if so, whether there is a common meaning between the French and English versions. "[W]here one of the two versions is broader than the other, the common meaning would favour the more restricted or limited meaning". ... The common meaning is the version that is plain and not ambiguous. If neither version is ambiguous, or if they both are, the common meaning is normally the narrower version.

Canada v. Agazarian, 2004 DTC 6366, 2004 FCA 32

Although the French version of s. 152(4)(b)(i) (unlike the preamble to the English version) did not contain the phrase "at any time", thereby perhaps suggesting that only one reassessment could be made under s. 152(4)(b)(i), it had been judicially established "that there is no general rule that the more restrictive version is the intended meaning" (p. 6376). Furthermore, it had been established that "in order to ascertain Parliament's intent in enacting the provision, one may look to the former version of the text", and here both the English and French version of the predecessor to the current s. 152(4)(b)(i) indicated that the Minister had the power to reassess more than once.

Markevich v. Canada, 2003 DTC 5185, 2003 SCC 9, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 94

The Court concluded (at p. 5192) in considering the interpretation of section 32 of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act (Canada) that "the English version best reflects the intent of the legislature".

R. v. Jarvis, 2002 DTC 7547, 2002 SCC 73, [2002] 3 S.C.R. 757

The Court noted (at p. 7562) that "the words employed in the English and French versions of the federal statute are equally authoritative and should be read together in order to ascertain the proper meaning of the terms", but went on to note that in this instance, "the French version ... provides negligible assistance here, since the two terms are rendered in equally wide scope".

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 231.1 - Subsection 231.1(1) cannot use audit powers if CRA predominant purpose is to establish criminal liability 100

S.T.B. Holdings Ltd. v. Canada, 2002 DTC 7450, 2002 FCA 386

Recourse was made to French dictionary definitions to shed light on the meaning of the English version of s. 245(7).

Hogg v. Canada, 2002 DTC 7037, 2002 FCA 177

Reference to the French version of s. 8(1)(h.1) of the Act eliminated any doubt that the motor vehicle expenses in respect of which a taxpayer could claim a deduction under that provision must have been incurred in the course of performing the duties of his office.

See Also

Hughes v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 95 (Informal Procedure)

more lenient French version of the repeated-failure-to-file penalty in s. 162(2) preferred to English version

One of the conditions for the application of the repeated-failure-to-file penalty of up to 50% under s. 162(2) contained in the English and French versions is that CRA have sent a demand under s. 150(2) to file a return for the year, whereas the French version contains an additional condition that the taxpayer have failed to file the return within the time limit set out in the demand. Jorré J found that the French version made more sense and, therefore, was to be preferred over the English version.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 162 - Subsection 162(2) no penalty if return filed within period demanded 261
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 220 - Subsection 220(3) computation of penalty where extension 92

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. The Queen, 2016 TCC 172

finding common meaning of 2 versions of s. 20(1)(bb)

Hogan J noted that the English version of s. 20(1)(bb), using "specific shares," was more restrictive than the French version referring to "certaines actions," which he rendered as "some shares." Before going on to find that the legislative intent was for taxapyers to "benefit from the deduction where the advice on investment matters is clear and concerns shares of a specific issuer" (para. 159), he stated (at para. 156, TaxInterpretations translation):

[W]hen there is a discrepancy between the two versions of the same legislation, the principles of bilingual statutory interpretation guide us towards an interpretation that educes the common meaning of both provisions.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 18 - Subsection 18(1) - Paragraph 18(1)(a) - Legal and other Professional Fees investment dealer fees incurred respecting the advisability of making hostile takeover were fully deductible under s. 9 393
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 20 - Subsection 20(1) - Paragraph 20(1)(bb) investment dealer fees re advisability of making hostile takeover were fully deductible 515
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 20 - Subsection 20(1) - Paragraph 20(1)(cc) legal fees incurred in securing regulatory approval for a hostile bid related to the bidder's business of earning income from shares and interaffiliate sales 170
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 20 - Subsection 20(1) - Paragraph 20(1)(g) takeover bid circular costs did not qualify 96
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 14 - Subsection 14(5) - Eligible Capital Expenditure fees incurred in order to acquire shares were excluded/butterfly expenses excluded as taxpayer was not in the business of implementing corporate reorganizations 343
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 169 - Subsection 169(2.1) raising general question of deductibility of fees and listing s. 20(1)(e) did not satisfy s. 165(1.11) 228
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 20 - Subsection 20(1) - Paragraph 20(1)(e) failure to advance evidence showing allocation of fees to share consideration 131
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 40 - Subsection 40(1) - Paragraph 40(1)(a) - Subparagraph 40(1)(a)(i) expenses incurred in butterfly spin-off recognized as disposition expenses 61

Gill v. The Queen, 2016 TCC 13 (Informal Procedure)

interpretation of French version confromed to prior interpretation of more ambiguous English version

One of the requirements (in ETA s. 254(2)(b)) for the GST rebate for new homes is that “at the time the particular individual becomes liable…under an agreement of purchase and sale of the complex…[with] the builder…the particular individual is acquiring the complex… for use as the primary residence of the particular individual or a relation… .” The French version may be most consistent with the relevant time for determining this primary-residence intention being the closing of the acquisition,.

In finding that the relevant time for determining whether the appellant satisfied this intention test was the purchase agreement's signing, Smith J stated (at para. 22, TaxInterpretations translation):

[T]he expression “aux termes du contrat de vente” [“under an agreement of purchase and sale”] in the French version of paragraph 254(2)(b) of the ETA must be interpreted broadly to include a promise to purchase or, to refer to the wording of Article 1785 of the Civil Code, “a preliminary contract by which a person promises to buy the immovable.” This interpretation accords a common meaning to the two versions of the provision.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Section 254 - Subsection 254(2) - Paragraph 254(2)(b) primary-residence intention determined at signing of purchase contract 224
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Section 254 - Subsection 254(2) - Paragraph 254(2)(g) post-acquisition occupation was "temporary and sporadic" 65

Bolduc v. The Queen, [2013] GSTC 38, 2013 TCC 77

narrower English version prevailed

Subparagraph 304(5)(b)(iv) of the French ETA requires that the person applying for an extension have reasonable grounds to do so. This requirement was missing from the English version. Paris J found that, because the more restrictive version prevails in the event of a direct conflict (Daoust, 2004 SCC 6, at paras 27-29), the appellant was entitled to rely on the English version. Because the Minister's dismissal of the appellant's extension relied heavily on subparagraph (iv), and given that the applicant had met the requirements in subparas. (i)-(iii), Paris J reversed the Minister's dismissal.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Excise Tax Act - Section 304 - Subsection 304(5) narrower English version prevailed 94

Genex Communications inc. v. The Queen, 2010 DTC 1064 [at 2840], 2009 TCC 583, rev'd 2011 DTC 5061 [at 5707], 2010 FCA 353)

rev'd on other grounds 2011 DTC 5061 [at 5707], 2010 FCA 353)

Although the French version was ambiguous, the English version of the definition of "commercial debt obligation" in s. 80(1) clearly included non-interest bearing debt obligations. Favreau J. cited Medovarski to establish that, where one language version is ambiguous and the other not, the unambiguous version prevails. Therefore, the taxpayers could not benefit from the potentially narrower interpretation of the French version.

943372 Ontario Inc. v. The Queen, 2007 DTC 1051, 2007 TCC 294

After noting that in the English version of s. 152(4.01) the "matter" in respect of which the Minister may reassess outside the normal reassessment period must be a matter in respect of which the taxpayer has made a misrepresentation of the type described in s. 152(4.01), Bowman C.J. noted that the French version contained no such limitation, and that the more restrictive English version appeared to be more consistent with the scheme of the Act.

Cleveland v. The Queen, 2003 DTC 2199, 2004 TCC 34 (Informal Procedure)

S.118.5(1)(b) of the Act, which required the taxpayer to be in full-time "attendance" at a foreign university in order to qualify for the tuition tax credit, was found to require physical presence at the university, a conclusion that was "strongly supported" by reference to the French version, which used the "fréquente".