Minority Women v. MNR, (1999) 234 N.R. 249 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, Iacobucci, Major and Bastarache, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateFebruary 23, 1998
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1999), 234 N.R. 249 (SCC);[1999] 1 SCR 10;169 DLR (4th) 34;234 NR 249;85 ACWS (3d) 196;53 DTC 5034;1999 CanLII 704 (SCC);59 CRR (2d) 1;[1999] 2 CTC 1;[1999] SCJ No 5 (QL)

Minority Women v. MNR (1999), 234 N.R. 249 (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: [1999] N.R. TBEd. JA.018

Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women (appellant) v. Minister of National Revenue (respondent) and Minority Advocacy and Rights Council, Canadian Ethnocultural Council, Centre for Research Action on Race Relations and Canadian Centre for Philanthropy (interveners)

(25359)

Indexed As: Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women v. Minister of National Revenue

Supreme Court of Canada

L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory,

McLachlin, Iacobucci, Major and

Bastarache, JJ.

January 28, 1999.

Summary:

The Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women applied for chari­table tax status under ss. 149.1 and 248(1) of the Income Tax Act. The Minister of National Revenue dismissed the application. The Society appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 195 N.R. 235, dismissed the appeal. The Society appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Gonthier, L'Heureux-Dubé and McLachlin, JJ., dis­sent­ing, dismissed the appeal.

Civil Rights - Topic 933

Discrimination - Government programs - Taxation - General - The Minister of National Revenue denied charitable tax status to a Society whose primary purpose was "to provide educational forums, classes, workshops and seminars to immi­grant women" to enable them to find "em­ployment or self employment" - The Supreme Court of Canada rejected the assertion that the rule in Commissioners for Special Purposes of the Income Tax v. Pemsel (H.L.) respecting categories of charities, as incorporated in ss. 248(1) and 149.1(1) of the Income Tax Act, contra­vened the s. 15 Charter rights of immigrant women - Any organization, by restricting itself to charitable purposes and activities, could qualify for registration as a chari­table organization - This also applied in its inverse form: every organization, to qualify for registration under s. 248(1), had to restrict itself to charitable purposes and activities - Nothing prevented immigrant and visible minority women from forming the beneficiary class of a properly consti­tuted charitable organization - See para­graphs 81 to 83.

Civil Rights - Topic 1001

Discrimination - Immigration - General - [See Civil Rights - Topic 933 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 1184

Discrimination - Exemptions or exceptions - General - Nonprofit, charitable, edu­cational organizations, etc. - What consti­tute - [See Civil Rights - Topic 933 ].

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that registration as a charitable organization under ss. 248(1) and 149.1(1) of the Income Tax Act required that: (1) the organization's purposes be charitable and define the scope of the organization's activities; and (2) all of the organization's resources be devoted to those activities unless the organization fell within the specific exemptions of s. 149.1(6.1) or 149.1(6.2) - In the absence of legislative reform providing guidelines, the best way to discern the charitable quality of an organization's purposes was to proceed by way of analogy to those purposes already found to be charitable by the common law, and conveniently classified in Commis­sioners for Special Purposes of the Income Tax v. Pemsel (H.L.), subject to the gen­eral requirement of benefitting the com­munity and with regard to society's current social, moral and economic context - See paragraphs 16 to 33.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the Income Tax Act would accept as char­i­table an organization/trust/corporation that devoted "substantially all" rather than all of its resources to charitable activities or purposes only if the requirements of ss. 149.1(6.1) and 149.1(6.2) respecting pol­iti­cal activities were met - However, "... the pursuit of a purpose which would be non-charitable in itself may not disqualify an organization from being considered chari­table if it is pursued only as a means of fulfilment of another, charitable, pur­pose and not as an end in itself. That is, where the purpose is better construed as an activi­ty in direct furtherance of a charitable purpose, the organization will not fail to qualify as charitable because it described the activity as a purpose" - See paragraphs 30 to 32.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed advancement of education in the context of charitable classifications for income tax purposes - See paragraphs 35 to 48 - The court stated that "[t]o limit the notion of 'training of the mind' to structured, sys­tematic instruction or traditional academic subjects reflects an outmoded and under inclusive understanding of education which is of little use in modern Canadian society. ... the purpose of offering certain benefits to charitable organizations is to promote activities which are seen as being of special benefit to the community, or ad­vancing a common good. In the case of education, the good advanced is knowledge or training. Thus, so long as information or training is provided in a structured manner and for a genuinely educational purpose - that is, to advance the knowledge or abili­ties of the recipients - and not solely to promote a particular point of view or political orientation, it may properly be viewed as falling within the advancement of education." - See paragraph 43.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Minister of National Revenue denied charitable tax status to the Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women (Income Tax Act, ss. 149.1 and 248(1)) - The Society appealed, asserting that its activities were charitable on the basis of, inter alia, benefitting the com­munity - The Society's primary purpose was "to provide educational forums, classes, workshops and seminars to immi­grant women" to enable them to find "em­ployment or self employment" - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Society's purpose did not constitute a charitable purpose under this head of chari­ty - See paragraphs 49 to 63.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that although some substantial change in the law respecting charitable tax status was desirable, such change had to be left to Parliament - The court commended for consideration a general framework sug­gested as a useful guide for the legislator -See paragraphs 70 to 77.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Minister of National Revenue denied charitable tax status to a Society whose primary purpose (purpose (a)) was "to provide educational forums, classes, work­shops and seminars to immigrant women" to enable them to find "employment or self employment" - The Supreme Court of Canada held that purpose (a) was chari­table under advancement of education and, although purposes (b) and (c) of the Society contemplated political activities, they did not disqualify the Society where they were "incidental and ancillary" to purpose (a) (Income Tax Act, s. 149.1(6.2)) - However, purpose (e), which mandated that the Society do all things "incidental or conducive" to attain its other purposes, disqualified the Society where it was too vague to say that it was in pursuit of purpose (a) - The Society's activities of providing a job skills directory and support groups for professionals supported the conclusion that purpose (e) accommodated non-charitable activities - See paragraphs 16 to 69.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - The Minister of National Revenue denied charitable tax status to a Society whose primary purpose was "to provide edu­cational forums, classes, workshops and seminars to immigrant women" to enable them to find "employment or self employ­ment" - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the denial - Even if all of the stated purposes were charitable, several of its activities, including a job skills di­rectory, networking, liaising for accredita­tion of credentials, soliciting job opportun­i­ties, and offering referral services, were not - These activities could not be said to be carried on in furtherance of, or inciden­tal or ancillary to, any valid charitable purpose - Thus, it could not be said that the Society's activities were restricted to charitable activities or that substantially all of it resources were allocated to such activities - See paragraphs 78 to 80.

Income Tax - Topic 7533

Exemptions - Charitable organizations - [See Civil Rights - Topic 933 ].

Cases Noticed:

Native Communications Society of B.C. v. Minister of National Revenue, [1986] 3 F.C. 471; 67 N.R. 146 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 10, 100].

Commissioners for Special Purposes of the Income Tax v. Pemsel, [1891] A.C. 531 (H.L.), appld. [paras. 11, 105].

D'Aguiar v. Guyana Commissioner of Inland Revenue, [1970] T.R. 31 (P.C.), refd to. [paras. 13, 130].

Positive Action Against Pornography v. Minister of National Revenue, [1988] 2 F.C. 340; 83 N.R. 214 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 17, 112].

Morice v. Durham (Bishop) (1805), 10 Ves. 522; 32 E.R. 947 (L.C.), refd to. [para. 18].

Morice v. Durham (Bishop) (1804), 9 Ves. 399; 32 E.R. 656 (M.R.), refd to. [para. 18].

McGovern v. Attorney General, [1982] Ch. 321 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 19, 115].

Scottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society Ltd. v. Glasgow (City) Cor­poration, [1968] A.C. 138 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 20, 120].

Dames du Bon Pasteur v. R., [1952] 2 S.C.R. 76, refd to. [paras. 21, 117].

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, reving. [1965] 2 Ex. C.R. 69, refd to. [paras. 21, 117, 204].

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

Verge v. Somerville, [1924] A.C. 496 (P.C.), refd to. [paras. 21, 125].

Human Life International in Canada Inc. v. Minister of National Revenue, [1998] 3 F.C. 202; 232 N.R. 174 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 23, 149].

R. v. Salituro, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 654; 131 N.R. 161; 50 O.A.C. 125; 68 C.C.C.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 24].

British Launderers' Research Association v. Hendon Borough Rating Authority, [1949] 1 K.B. 462 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 30, 122].

Interfaith Development Education As­sociation, Burlington v. Minister of National Revenue (1997), 216 N.R. 371; 97 D.T.C. 5424 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 35, 156].

Briarpatch Inc. v. Minister of National Revenue (1996), 197 N.R. 229; 96 D.T.C. 6294 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 35, 156].

Maclean Hunter Ltd. v. Minister of National Revenue (Customs and Excise) (1988), 87 N.R. 195; 88 D.T.C. 6096 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 35, 157].

Inland Revenue Commissioners v. McMullen, [1981] A.C. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 40, 160].

Hopkins' Will Trusts, Re; Naish v. Francis Bacon Society Inc., [1964] 3 All E.R. 46 (Ch. D.), refd to. [para. 40].

Koeppler Will Trusts, Re; Barclays Bank Trust Co. v. Slack, [1986] Ch. 423 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 41, 195].

Societa Unita v. Gravenhurst (Town) (1977), 16 O.R.(2d) 785 (H.C.), affd. (1978), 6 M.P.L.R. 172 (Ont. Div. Ct.), refd to. [para. 41].

Watkins v. Olafson et al., [1989] 2 S.C.R. 750; 100 N.R. 161; 61 Man.R.(2d) 81; 61 D.L.R.(4th) 577; [1989] 6 W.W.R. 481; 39 B.C.L.R.(2d) 294; 50 C.C.L.T. 101, refd to. [para. 42].

Oppenheim v. Tobacco Securities Trust Co., [1951] A.C. 297 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 48].

Stone, Re (1970), 91 W.N.(N.S.W.) 704 (S.C.), dist. [paras. 55, 169].

Wallace, In Re, [1908] V.L.R. 636 (S.C.), dist. [paras. 56, 167].

Everywoman's Health Centre Society (1988) v. Minister of National Revenue, [1992] 2 F.C. 52; 136 N.R. 380 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 57, 105].

Cohen, In Re, [1954] N.Z.L.R. 1097 (S.C.), dist. [paras. 58, 171].

Morrison, Re (1967), 111 Sol. Jo. 758; 117 New L.J. 757 (Ch. D.), refd to. [paras. 58, 171].

Central Employment Bureau for Women and Students' Careers Association Inc., Re, [1942] 1 All E.R. 232 (Ch. D.), refd to. [paras. 59, 158].

Fitzgibbon, Re (1916), 27 O.W.R. 207 (H.C.), not appld. [paras. 62, 173].

Institution of Mechanical Engineers v. Cane and Westminster Corp., [1961] A.C. 696 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 68, 196].

Vancouver Regional FreeNet Association v. Minister of National Revenue, [1996] 3 F.C. 880; 199 N.R. 223 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 115].

Turner v. Ogden (1787), 1 Cox. Eq. Cas. 316; 29 E.R. 1183, refd to. [para. 118].

Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales v. Attorney General, [1972] Ch. 73 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 118].

Strakosch, Re; Temperley v. Attorney General, [1949] Ch. 529 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 120].

Jones v. Eaton (T.) Co., [1973] S.C.R. 635, refd to. [para. 122].

Brewer v. McCauley, [1954] S.C.R. 645, refd to. [para. 123].

Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Baddeley, [1955] A.C. 572 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 125].

National Anti-Vivisection Society v. Inland Revenue Commissioners, [1948] A.C. 31 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 125].

Touchet v. Blais, [1963] S.C.R. 358, refd to. [para. 126].

Foveaux, In Re, [1895] 2 Ch. 501, refd to. [para. 126].

Williams' Trustees v. Inland Revenue Commissioners, [1947] A.C. 447 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 129].

Peggs v. Lamb, [1994] 2 All E.R. 15 (Ch. D.), refd to. [para. 129].

Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association v. Chester (1974), 3 A.L.R. 486 (Aust. H.C.), refd to. [para. 132].

Peel (Regional Municipality) v. Ontario, [1992] 3 S.C.R. 762; 144 N.R. 1; 59 O.A.C. 81; 98 D.L.R.(4th) 140, refd to. [para. 133].

Scarborough Community Legal Services v. Minister of National Revenue, [1985] 2 F.C. 555; 56 N.R. 369 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 136].

Toronto Volgograd Committee v. Minister of National Revenue, [1988] 3 F.C. 251; 83 N.R. 241 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 136].

Alberta Institute on Mental Retardation v. Minister of National Revenue, [1987] 3 F.C. 286; 76 N.R. 366 (F.C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1988] 1 S.C.R. xiii; 87 N.R. 397 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 144].

Public Trustee (Ont.) v. Toronto Humane Society (1987), 60 O.R.(2d) 236 (H.C.), refd to. [para. 145].

STV Stop the Violence...Face the Music Society v. Minister of National Revenue (1996), 208 N.R. 144; 97 D.T.C. 5026 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 150].

Attorney General v. Ross, [1985] 3 All E.R. 334 (Ch. D.), refd to. [para. 152].

Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Oldham Training and Enterprise Council, [1996] B.T.C. 539 (Ch. D.), refd to. [para. 154].

Mariette, Re, [1915] 2 Ch. 284, refd to. [para. 173].

Leonard Foundation Trust, Re (1990), 37 O.A.C. 191; 69 D.L.R.(4th) 321 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 188].

Canada Trust Co. v. Human Rights Com­mission (Ont.) - see Leonard Foundation Trust, Re.

N.D.G. Neighbourhood Association v. Minister of National Revenue (1988), 85 N.R. 73; 88 D.T.C. 6279 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 191].

Notre Dame de Grâce Neighbourhood Association - see N.D.G. Neighbourhood Association.

Communities Economic Development Fund v. Canadian Pickles Corp. et al., [1991] 3 S.C.R. 388; 131 N.R. 81; 76 Man.R.(2d) 1; 10 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 196].

Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130; 184 N.R. 1; 84 O.A.C. 1; 126 D.L.R.(4th) 129, refd to. [para. 207].

Statutes Noticed:

Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985 (5th Supp.), c. 1, sect. 149.1, sect. 149.1(6.1), sect. 149.1(6.2), sect. 248(1)(a) [para. 14].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bagambiire, Davies B.N., Canadian Immi­gration and Refugee Law (1996), p. 35 [para. 54].

Bromley, E.B., "Contemporary Philanthro­py -- Is the Legal Concept of 'Charity' Any Longer Adequate?", in Waters, Donovan W.M., Equity, Fiduciaries and Trusts 1993 (1993), pp. 65, 66 [para. 134].

Cairns, Elizabeth, Charities: Law and Practice (3rd Ed. 1997), p. 5 [para. 154].

Canada, Revenue Canada, Interpretation Bulletin IT-486R, Intergenerational Transfers of Shares of Small Business Corporation (December 31, 1987), gen­erally [para. 145].

Concise Oxford Dictionary (9th Ed. 1995), pp. 278, 686 [para. 202].

Cullity, Maurice C., The Myth of Chari­table Activities (1990), 10 Est. & Tr. J. 7, generally [para. 143].

Drache, Arthur B.C., Canadian Taxation of Charities and Donations (1994) (Loose­leaf Update 1997), pp. 1-26, 1-27 [para. 200].

Fridman, Gerald Henry Louis, Charities and Public Benefit (1953), 31 Can. Bar Rev. 537, pp. 551, 552 [para. 76].

Jones, Gareth, History of the Law of Charity 1532-1827 (1969), pp. 57, 58 [para. 118].

Ontario, Law Reform Commission, Report on the Law of Charities (1997), generally [para. 44].

Smith, David W., Tax appeal procedure for charities needs improving, Article in The National (April 1985), vol. 12, No. 4, p. 21 [para. 149].

Tudor on Charities (8th Ed. 1995), pp. 60, 61, 62 [para. 48].

United States, Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Cumulative Bulletin 1976-1, Rev. Rul. 76-205, p. 154 [para. 60].

Waters, Donovan W.M., Equity, Fidu­ciaries and Trusts (1993), pp. 65, 66 [para. 134].

Waters, Donovan W.M., Law of Trusts in Canada (2nd Ed. 1984), p. 550 [paras. 18, 22].

Counsel:

David W. Mossop, for the appellant;

Roger Leclaire and Johanne D'Auray, for the respondent;

Emilio S. Binavince and Uzma Ihsanullah, for the interveners, Minority Advocacy and Rights Council, Canadian Ethnocul­tural Council and Centre for Research Action on Race Relations;

W. Laird Hunter and Arthur B.C. Drache, Q.C., for the intervener, Canadian Centre for Philanthropy.

Solicitors of Record:

Community Legal Assistance Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

George Thomson, Deputy Attorney Gen­eral of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent;

Emilio S. Binavince, Ottawa, Ontario, for the interveners, Minority Advocacy and Rights Council, Canadian Ethnocultural Council and Centre for Research Action on Race Relations;

Worton & Hunter, Edmonton, Alberta, and Drache Burke-Robertson & Buchmayer, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener, Ca­nadian Centre for Philanthropy.

This appeal was heard on February 23, 1998, by L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci, Major and Bastarache, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The judgment of the court was delivered on January 28, 1999, in both official languages, including the following opinions:

Iacobucci, J. (Cory, Major and Bastarache, JJ., concurring) - see para­graphs 1 to 84;

Gonthier, J. (L'Heureux-Dubé and McLachlin, JJ., concurring), dissenting - see paragraphs 85 to 210.

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