Redundancy/reading in words

Table of Contents


Canada (National Revenue) v. Cameco Corporation, 2019 FCA 67

CRA’s broad interpretation of s. 231.1(1)(a) would render s. 231.1(1)(d) redundant

CRA sought to compel Cameco to submit 25 listed employees of it and subsidiaries to CRA interviews. Rennie JA found that s. 231.1(1)(d) was limited to providing CRA aid in its “inspection, search, examination or review of records,” whereas here, CRA sought “oral answers to oral questions” in order to facilitate its “understanding of Cameco's potential tax liability.”

However, the Crown submitted that the word “audit” in the power under in s. 231.1(1)(a) to “inspect, audit or examine” encompassed the authority to ask questions of employees of a taxpayer, including the employees of its overseas subsidiaries, and to require that they be answered orally. In rejecting this submission, Rennie JA stated (at para. 23):

If the requirement to answer questions was implied in (a) then the obligation in paragraph (d) and the express power to compel answers, would be unnecessary. Interpretations that render any portion of a statute meaningless or redundant should be avoided

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 231.1 - Subsection 231.1(1) - Paragraph 231.1(1)(a) Minister cannot under s. 231.1(1) compel oral answers to its questions other than for aid in auditing taxpayer books and records 315
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Ejusdem Generis 3rd word in phrase was limited by focus of other 2 words 126
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Interpretation Act - Subsection 45(2) interpretation informed by legislative amendment narrowing the wording 54

Canada (National Revenue) v. Cameco Corporation, 2017 FC 763, aff'd 2019 FCA 67

presumption against tautology

After indicating that the Minister's expansive interpretation of s. 231.1(1)(a) had the effect of rendering s. 231.1(1)(d) redundant, McVeigh J stated (at para. 42):

The presumption against tautology militates against this interpretation (Placer Dome Canada Ltd v Ontario (Minister of Finance), 2006 SCC 20 at paras 45 and 46).

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 231.1 - Subsection 231.1(1) - Paragraph 231.1(1)(d) s. 231.1(1)(d) does not accord CRA an unfettered right to interview taxpayer personnel 417
Tax Topics - Other Legislation/Constitution - Federal - Tax Court of Canada Rules (General Procedure) - Section 95 - Subsection 95(1) unfettered CRA interview right would undercut Rules and proportionality principle 250

Canada (National Revenue) v. Thompson, 2016 SCC 21, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 381

presumption against tautology

Before finding that CRA was precluded from requiring an Alberta lawyer to provide detailed accounts receivables listings for his clients on constitutional grounds, the Court found that such accounting records were clearly intended in the s. 232(1) definition of solicitor-client privilege to be excluded from the protection for such privilege by the exclusion in the definition of that term for accounting records. In this regard, restrictively interpreting the exception as applying only to accounting records whose disclosure would not trench on privilege:

would violate the presumption against tautology, according to which “[i]t is presumed that the legislature avoids superfluous or meaningless words, that it does not pointlessly repeat itself or speak in vain” (para. 32).

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 232 - Subsection 232(1) - Solicitor-Client Privilege exclusion for accounting records was invalid even where CRA demands related to enforcement action against the lawyer 509
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Hansard, explanatory notes, etc. Hansard indicated an intent for an amendment to trench on privilege 103

Caithkin, Inc. v. Canada, 2015 FCA 118

condition was redundant if broadly construed

The Court affirmed a finding below that a company which placed children in foster homes for children's aid societies and assisted the foster parents was making a "re-supply" to the societies of foster care services which it had "acquired" from the foster parents, but that this resupply was not exempt because the company did not satisfy the requirement that its service be provided "in an establishment operated by the supplier for the purpose of providing such service." In rejecting an argument that "establishment" could encompass the business organization of the company, Rennie JA stated (para. 21):

[S]tatutes are to be interpreted so as to give meaning to every term and to avoid redundancy: Placer Dome Canada Ltd v Ontario (Minister of Finance), 2006 SCC 20 at para 45, [2006] 1 S.C.R. 715 at 739, citing Hill v William Hill (Park Lane) Ltd, [1949] AC 530 (HL). If, as contended, an establishment were to be more than the bricks and mortar of the physical building, the third criterion of the test would have been unnecessary - mere surplus language of no consequence.

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

"advice" in "advice or recommendations" can't only entail "recommendations"

In response to the appellant's access to information request under Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FIPPA"), the Ministry refused to disclose various internal drafts of a policy options paper, on the basis that they contained "advice or recommendations" of public servants, which the Minister could therefore withhold under s. 13(1) of FIPPA. The Adjudicator found that the "advice or recommendations" exception did not apply, as "the information in the record must suggest a course of action that will ultimately be accepted or rejected by the person being advised."

Rothstein J stated (at para. 24):

[T]he Adjudicator left no room for "advice" to have a distinct meaning from "recommendation". A recommendation, whether express or inferable, is still a recommendation. "Advice" must have a distinct meaning. ... Otherwise, it would be redundant.

He found that, on a purposive reading, "advice" should be construed broadly. See summary under Access to Information Act, s. 21.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Other Legislation/Constitution - Federal - Access to Information Act - Section 21 exclusion for "advice or recommendations" applied to draft policy papers 192

Envision Credit Union v. The Queen, 2010 DTC 1399 [at 4585], 2010 TCC 576, aff'd 2012 DTC 5055 [at 6842], 2011 FCA 321, aff'd 2013 DTC 5144 [at 6275], 2013 SCC 48

The taxpayer unsuccessfully argued (ca. para. 65) that s. 87(2) was intended to constitute a complete code as to the consequences of an amalgamation, so that it would be rendered redundant if an amalgamation could be governed by general Black & Decker ([1975] 1 S.C.R. 411) principles.

Canada v. Remai, 2009 DTC 5188 [at 6257], 2009 FCA 340

In rejecting an interpretation of the Trial Judge that indicated that s. 251(1)(c) would not apply in any identifiable circumstance, Evans, J.A. stated (at para. 5) "Parliament is presumed not to intend provisions to have no practical application".

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 245 - Subsection 245(4) no abuse in controlling funds established 155
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 251 - Subsection 251(1) - Paragraph 251(1)(c) providing a favour is consistent with arm's length dealing 218

A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association v. Canada (Revenue Agency), 2007 DTC 5527, 2007 SCC 42, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 217

Rothstein J. refused to give an expansive interpretation to what was charitable in the context of a submission that a sports organization should be considered to be charitable in part in light of the consideration that an expansive interpretation would undercut the distinction drawn under the Act between non-profit organizations that were operated exclusively for social welfare, and charitable organizations, and stated (at para. 28):

"When courts consider expanding the definition of charity, therefore, they must consider whether what is being proposed is an incremental change, or one with more complex ramifications that is better left to the legislature."

Placer Dome Canada Ltd. v. Ontario (Minister of Finance), 2006 DTC 6532, 2006 SCC 20, [2006] 1 S.C.R. 715

presumption against tautology

After noting that the interpretation advanced by the taxpayer had the effect of making a statutory definition of "hedging" redundant (as such interpretation had the effect of limiting the taxpayer's mining profits to the consideration actually received from sales of its production, which would have been the case even without their purported expansion to hedging profits), LeBel J. stated (at para. 45):

"Under the presumption against tautology 'every word in a statute is presumed to make sense and to have a specific role to play in advancing the legislative purpose' ... . To the extent that it is possible to do so, court should avoid adopting interpretations that render any portion of a statute meaningless or redundant ...".

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Interpretation Bulletins, etc. shifting CRA position could not be relied upon except to evidence ambiguity 73
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Resolving Ambiguity residual presumption in favour of the taxpayer 125
Tax Topics - Income Tax Regulations - Regulation 1204 - Subsection 1204(1) - Paragraph 1204(1)(b) cash-settled derivatives had the effect of fixing mine production] 399
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 9 - Capital Gain vs. Profit - Futures/Forwards/Hedges “hedging “ includes cash settled derivatives including options 415
Tax Topics - Statutory Interpretation - Regulations addition of regulation did not significantly expand scope of tax 223

Ray v. Canada, 2004 DTC 6028, 2004 FCA 1

Sharlow J.A. reversed a finding of the Tax Court that the words 'as recorded by a pharmacist' in s. 118.2(2)(n) could be ignored stating (at p. 6031) that "it is for Parliament alone to determine whether the words 'as recorded by a pharmacist' should be removed ... ."

Canada (National Revenue) v. Kitsch, 2003 DTC 5540, 2003 FCA 307

S.231.2(1)(a) of the Act, which referred to a right of the Minister to require the production of "any information", was found not to be restricted to the production of documents and records given that documents and records were specifically dealt with in s. 231.2(1)(b) of the Act. After referring to the statement in Communities Economic Development Fund v. Canadian Pickles Corp. [1991] 3 S.C.R. 388 that "it is a principle of statutory interpretation that every word of a statute must be given meaning", Malone J.A. stated (at p. 5543):

"Applied in this case, that principle dictates that meaning must be given to both paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection 231.2(1), and unless there is good reason to the contrary, a different interpretation must be given to both paragraphs and different meanings to the words 'information' and 'document'."

Montgomery v. Canada, 99 DTC 5186 (FCA)

Rothstein J.A. found that to infer that the requirement in s. 8(1)(I)(i) that professionals be "recognized" by statute meant that a statute must provide for the regulation of the professional organization, would entail reading words into the statute that were not there.

GSW Appliances Ltd. v. The Queen, 98 DTC 6010 (FCA)

In responding to the taxpayer's submission that "the use of the word 'encore' in conjunction with 'ou' in paragraph 20(1)(gg), where the English uses only the word 'or' indicates that the entire clause which follows is separate from the preceding clause", Linden J.A. stated (at p. 6012):

"The word 'encore' seems to be more accurately interpreted as a linguistic flourish which allows the drafters to join the two clauses together more smoothly. It is a matter of esthetics not one affecting the meaning of the provision."

Bolton v. The Queen, 96 DTC 6413 (FCA)

right to appeal assessment because of Minister's delay would be redundant if assessment were automatically vacated

The taxpayer argued that his assessment should be vacated because the Minister failed to act with all due dispatch to reconsider his assessment. Hugessen JA dismissed the taxpayer's appeal. Ginsberg, decided a week before, establishes that this is not a basis to vacate an assessment. Moreover, the taxpayer's right to appeal under s. 169(b) (i.e. where the Minister has taken 90 days or more to respond to a notice of objection) would be nonsensical if the effect of the Minister's failure were already to vacate the assessment.

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 165 - Subsection 165(3) Minister's failure to act with all due dispatch is not a basis for vacating an assessment 87

Extendicare Health Services Inc. v. MNR, 87 DTC 5404, [1987] 2CTC 179 (FCTD)

At 5407:

"It has been recognized as a 'settled canon of construction' that 'a statute ought to be so construed that, if it can be prevented, no clause, sentence, or word shall be superfluous, void or insignificant.'"

Locations of other summaries Wordcount
Tax Topics - Income Tax Act - Section 246 - Subsection 246(2) 21

Shell Canada Resources Ltd. v. MNR, 84 DTC 6129, [1984] CTC 169 (FCA)

An interpretation was preferred which avoided rendering an exception to an exemption provision redundant.

The Queen v. Savage, 83 DTC 5409, [1983] CTC 393, [1983] 2 S.C.R. 428

An interpretation was avoided which would have rendered s. 56(1)(n) redundant (5416).

Goyer Estate v. The Queen, 78 DTC 6159, [1978] CTC 205 (FCTD)

Reference was made to the principle that "'a court of law is bound to proceed on the assumption that the legislature is an ideal person that does not make mistakes'."

See Also

Cascades Inc. v. The Queen, 2008 DTC 2387, 2007 TCC 730

In rejecting the Crown interpretation of s. 40(3.5)(c), Lamarre J. noted that the interpretation had the effect of making the stipulation therein that it applies "where subsections (3.3) and (3.4) apply to the disposition by a transferor of a share of the capital stock of a corporation" redundant.