[So..... Canadian citizens who live almost their entire life in Canada but who had unwanted, unaccepted, U.S. personhood imposed on them by a foreign country --- can now expect from the Canadian Federal Court little expectation of privacy because that foreign country thinks that it owns them and its laws are supreme?]
Today, July 22, 2019, Canadian Federal Court Justice MacTavish ruled against Plaintiffs Kazia and Gwen in our FATCA IGA legislation lawsuit.
Here is the link to the decision.
— Our Vancouver lawyers, ADCS Board, and Plaintiffs are now considering the text of the decision and will get back to you, as soon as we can, on next steps.
Some excerpts (so much mention by the Justice of “limited privacy interests” of these “U.S. persons” living out in Canada; if U.S. threatens financial harm, very “important” that Canada complies; no… these “U.S. persons” rounded up and turned over are NOT less worthy “as members of Canadian society”…):
“I am, however, satisfied that U.S. persons still have only a limited expectation of privacy in the accountholder information at issue in this case. This is because U.S. persons have a pre-existing legal obligation to provide their banking information to the IRS in accordance with the provisions of FATCA, quite apart from the disclosure requirements of the Impugned Provisions. In addition, some of this information is also subject to disclosure to the U.S. government by way of FBAR reports…
The fact that the Plaintiffs and other U.S. persons have the pre-existing obligation to report their banking information to the IRS under American tax laws (as well as the obligation to file the FBAR reports that are required under the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act) suggests that their privacy interest in that information is limited…”
“… That said, it is doubtful that Canada could have negotiated a better deal with the United States. The evidence before the Court is that some 100 countries have entered into intergovernmental agreements with the American government in efforts to mitigate the consequences of FATCA in each of these countries. Some of these countries, like Canada, are major trading partners with the United States. There is, however, no suggestion that any of these countries were able to negotiate agreements with the American government that were any more advantageous or less intrusive than the Canada…”
“…From this, it is apparent that the sharing of taxpayer information between countries has received international acceptance, further suggesting that the sharing of U.S. persons’ accountholder information with the IRS pursuant to the Impugned Provisions is indeed reasonable…”
“…The reasonableness of seizures that are carried out in accordance with the Impugned Provisions is further confirmed by the fact that the banking information in issue is shared with the IRS in confidence…”
“..I have concluded that the principle purpose underlying the Canada‑U.S. IGA and the Impugned Provisions – namely avoiding the consequences of the direct application of FATCA in Canada – is an important one. I have also found that individuals have a limited privacy interest in their banking records, and that the method used to collect this information is minimally intrusive. I have also found that the information that is shared with the IRS is afforded protection under the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty…”
“…I am therefore satisfied that the Impugned Provisions draw a distinction between U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons based, at least in part, on their citizenship and/or their national origin…”
“…I find that the Impugned Provisions do not reinforce, perpetuate or exacerbate disadvantage, nor do they violate the norm of substantive equality in subsection 15(1) of the Charter. I am also not persuaded that the Impugned Provisions involve the oppression or unfair dominance of one group by another, or a denial to one group of protections that are basic or necessary for full participation in Canadian society…”
“… While these individuals’ frustration may be understandable, when viewed objectively, the decision of the Canadian government to share these individuals’ banking information with the IRS because their American citizenship or national origin makes them subject to American tax laws does not devalue their worth as individuals. Nor does it send the message that U.S. persons are less capable or less worthy of recognition as human beings or as members of Canadian society. It is thus not discriminatory.
The justification for our ADSC-ADSC (Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty) lawsuit, which began on August 11, 2014, is that Canada’s FATCA IGA legislation, infringes on privacy (Charter section 8) and equality (section 15) rights of Canadian citizens, and the sovereignty of our country.
—- Plaintiffs and their supporters went to Federal Court because they/we feel that privacy, equality, and sovereignty matter.
Justice Mactavish came to a different Conclusion in her decision:
“ Having failed to establish that the Impugned Provisions violate either section 8 or section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it follows that the Plaintiffs’ action will be dismissed.”