A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association v. Canada Revenue Agency, (2007) 367 N.R. 264 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateMay 16, 2007
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2007), 367 N.R. 264 (SCC);2007 SCC 42;287 DLR (4th) 4;[2007] 3 SCR 217;AZ-50452654;[2007] SCJ No 42 (QL);EYB 2007-124583;JE 2007-1894;160 ACWS (3d) 567;[2007] DTC 5527;367 NR 264;[2008] 1 CTC 32

Amateur Youth Soccer Assoc. v. CRA (2007), 367 N.R. 264 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

.........................

Temp. Cite: [2007] N.R. TBEd. OC.012

A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association (appellant) v. Canada Revenue Agency (respondent) and Canadian Centre for Philanthropy (intervenor)

(31476; 2007 SCC 42; 2007 CSC 42)

Indexed As: A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association v. Canada Revenue Agency

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.

October 5, 2007.

Summary:

A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association applied to be registered as a charity under the Income Tax Act. The Minister of National Revenue denied the application. The Association appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, in a decision reported at 348 N.R. 295, dismissed the appeal. The Association appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal.

Income Tax - Topic 3901

Interpretation - General - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "It is well known that the modern approach to interpretation applies to taxation statutes no less than it does to other statutes, that is, 'the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament' ... However, because of the degree of precision and detailed characteristics of many tax provisions, an emphasis has often been placed on textual interpretation where taxation statutes are concerned ..." - See paragraph 16.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Particular exemptions - Charitable organizations and foundations - Section 249(1) of the Income Tax Act defined a registered Canadian amateur athletic association (RCAAA), as a non-profit organization which had as its "primary purpose and its primary function, the promotion of amateur athletics in Canada on a nation-wide basis" - To qualify as a "charitable organization" under the Act, an organization had to meet the criteria listed in ss. 149.1(l)(a) to 149.1(1)(d), one of which was that the organization had to devote all of its resources to "charitable activities" - The Act did not define "charitable activities" - The Supreme Court of Canada rejected an assertion that the RCAAA provisions occupied the field for amateur sports associations so that any sports associations that failed to qualify as RCAAA's could not qualify as registered charities either - Caution was necessary when assessing claims that implied unexpressed meanings into the RCAAA provisions - Their precise and unequivocal meaning was to grant certain charity-like tax advantages to nationwide amateur athletic associations - They were not an exhaustive statement on the charitable status of all sports organizations in all circumstances - See paragraphs 6 to 18.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Particular exemptions - Charitable organizations and foundations - In Pemsel v. Commissioners of Income Tax, the House of Lords set up a scheme of four classified heads under which recognized charitable purposes had to fall - The fourth head was certain other purposes beneficial to the community which did not fall under the three preceding heads - The Supreme Court of Canada reviewed the test to be applied in determining if an organization was charitable under the fourth head for purposes of registration under the Income Tax Act - The court stated that it was necessary to consider the trend of cases to decide if the purposes were for a public benefit which the law regarded as charitable - It was also necessary to consider the scheme of the Income Tax Act - Finally, it was necessary to determine whether what was sought was an incremental change or a reform best left to Parliament - See paragraphs 24 to 31.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Particular exemptions - Charitable organizations and foundations - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the concern expressed in Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women v. Minister of National Revenue (S.C.C.) about maintaining the distinction that the Income Tax Act (ITA) made between non-profit and charitable organizations - The court added that "Although it might be tempting to consider any non-profit activity for social welfare to be charitable, the ITA clearly anticipates that not all non-profit social welfare activities will be charitable. This signals that the scheme of the ITA does not support a wide expansion of the definition of charity." - See paragraph 43.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Particular exemptions - Charitable organizations and foundations - An association was established to promote soccer, especially amateur youth soccer - The association was denied registration as a charity under the Income Tax Act - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the denial - The association's purposes and activities were not charitable - The caselaw trend supported the proposition that a sport, if ancillary to another recognized charitable purpose such as education, could be charitable, but not sport in itself - While the court was sympathetic to the proposition that organizations promoting fitness should be considered charitable, there was no mention of those objects in the association's letters patent - The association's application for registration as a charity referred to physical fitness and diversion from exposure to anti-social behaviour - However, these were by-products of its main objective, the promotion of soccer - A beneficial by-product was not enough to make an activity or purpose charitable - The recognition of sports and recreation organizations as charities was closer to a wholesale reform than an incremental change and was best left to Parliament - See paragraphs 32 to 44.

Income Tax - Topic 7534

Exemptions - Particular exemptions - Registered Canadian amateur athletic association - [See first and fourth Income Tax - Topic 7533 ].

Statutes - Topic 522

Interpretation - General principles - Taxing statutes - [See Income Tax - Topic 3901 ].

Statutes - Topic 2603

Interpretation - Interpretation of words and phrases - Modern rule (incl. interpretation by context) - Intention from whole of section or statute - [See Income Tax - Topic 3901 ].

Cases Noticed:

Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women v. Minister of National Revenue, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 10; 234 N.R. 249, refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Salituro, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 654; 131 N.R. 161; 50 O.A.C. 125, refd to. [para. 8].

Maccabi Canada v. Minister of National Revenue (1998), 229 N.R. 227; 98 D.T.C. 6526 (F.C.A.), dist. [para. 14]; refd to. [para. 54].

Placer Dome Canada Ltd. v. Ontario (Minister of Finance), [2006] 1 S.C.R. 715; 348 N.R. 148; 210 O.A.C. 342; 2006 SCC 20, refd to. [para. 16].

Minister of National Revenue v. Canada Trustco Mortgage Co., [2005] 2 S.C.R. 601; 340 N.R. 1; 2005 SCC 54, refd to. [para. 16].

Minister of National Revenue v. Shell Canada Ltd., [1999] 3 S.C.R. 622; 247 N.R. 19, refd to. [para. 16].

Pemsel v. Special Commissioners of Income Tax, [1891] A.C. 531 (H.L.), appld. [paras. 26, 47].

Dames du Bon Pasteur v. R., [1952] 2 S.C.R. 76, refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. Assessors of Sunny Brae (Town) - see Dames du Bon Pasteur v. R.

Towle Estate v. Minister of National Revenue, [1967] S.C.R. 133, refd to. [para. 26].

Guaranty Trust v. Minister of National Revenue - see Towle Estate v. Minister of National Revenue.

D'Aguiar v. Guyana Commissioner of Inland Revenue, [1970] T.R. 31 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 27].

Nottage, Re, [1895] 2 Ch. 649 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 34].

Mariette, Re, [1915] 2 Ch. 284, refd to. [para. 34].

Inland Revenue Commissioners v. McMullen, [1981] A.C. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 34].

Laidlaw Foundation, Re (1984), 13 D.L.R.(4th) 491 (Div. Ct.), dist. [para. 34].

Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Glasgow (City) Police Athletic Association, [1953] 1 All E.R. 747 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 36].

Laing v. Commissioner of Stamp Duties, [1948] N.Z.L.R. 154 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 36].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Policy Statement: Registration of Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations, Policy Statement Reference Number CPS-011 (October 28, 1996), generally [para. 10].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 7, 1st Sess., 28th Parliament (April 2, 1969), p. 7423 [para. 13].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 6, 2nd Sess., 28th Parliament (April 23, 1970), p. 6235 [paras. 11, 52].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 7, 3rd Sess., 28th Parliament (June 18, 1971), p. 6895 [para. 11].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 7, 3rd Sess., 28th Parliament (October 25, 1971), p. 9009 [para. 11].

Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, vol. 9, 3rd Sess., 28th Parliament (October 25, 1971), p. 9009 [para. 53].

Hansard - see Canada, Hansard, House of Commons Debates.

Driedger, Elmer A., Construction of Statutes (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 87 [para. 16].

Picarda, Hubert, The Law and Practice Relating to Charities (3rd Ed. 1999), p. 128 [para. 36].

Sullivan, Ruth, Sullivan and Driedger on the Construction of Statutes (4th Ed. 2002), pp. 266 [para. 15]; 489 [para. 12].

Tudor on Charities (9th Ed. 2003), pp. 116 to 118 [para. 36].

Waters, Donovan  W.M., The  Law of  Trusts in Canada (3rd Ed. 2005), p. 735 [para. 38].

Counsel:

D. Geoffrey Cowper, Q.C., E. Blake Bromley and W. Stanley Martin, for the appellant;

Wendy Burnham and David Jacyk, for the respondent;

W. Laird Hunter, Q.C., David Stevens, Susan M. Manwaring and Kate Lazier, for the intervenor.

Solicitors of Record:

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent;

Worton Hunter & Callaghan, Edmonton, Alberta; Gowling, Lafleur, Henderson, Toronto, Ontario; and Miller Thomson, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor.

This appeal was heard on May 16, 2007, by McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The court delivered its judgment in both official languages on October 5, 2007, with the following opinions:

Rothstein, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish and Charron, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 45;

Abella, J. - see paragraphs 46 to 59.

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