I have no idea how the Canadian Medical Association got involved with issue but apparently they did sending a letter to Jim Flaherty and receiving a response back both of which I have linked to below:
Perhaps we need to get other “professional” organization outside of banking and finance to take a stand on this issue.
@Tim, that is a very interesting find. You’re right, professional organizations could be very helpful if they would step up and do the same as the CMA has.
I had been hoping that given the involvement of pension plans in lobbying against FATCA, they would also alert their members (ex. FATCA letter from OTPP Teachers Pension Plan – http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Services/tax/d159f7cae8616310VgnVCM1000001a56f00aRCRD.htm ). That doesn’t seem to be the case, even thought you would think that it would be in the best interests of a plan to alert members to a possible threat to their retirement assets (re witholding), or to the forcible imposition of a ‘foreign’ US IRS reporting regime that would pit them against certain members in terms of privacy concerns, or just to tell them about any expected cost of compliance – raising operational costs, to be recouped from everyone. It seems to me that a plan should also do that in order to enlist the support of members to lobby the federal government.
On the other hand, perhaps the plans haven’t notified their members because they see it as simpler for them to make a decision without consultation, and then implement it – rather than give the plan members a voice.
What about some of the unions?
Well, you must have a lot of US Doctors in Canada practicing medicine. Any one have any idea what the percentage is? Of course, it could be a small percentage, but in positions of influence with the Association. I think that would heavily influence their decision on getting involved in this matter and writing a letter.
Secondly, I see that Flaherty has bought into to the notion that the IRS has issued guidance that is responsive to the Canadian Government pleas. When is he going to realize that the US just repackaged existing regulations and actually did NOTHING new specifically for Canadians? Maybe the Minister wants to believe that the US really is listening, but the IRS is not going to change policies to be Canadian specific, no matter how special the relationship. Someone needs to explain that to him.
The only language anyone will listen to is when a doctor with no US financial ties goes to a Canadian court and challenges a bank’s actions on FATCA (or possibly the government’s) and a court says NO.
Then the ball gets pass to parliament to play the game to actually change Canadian Law to accommodate the IRS. Politically that should be a vote winner for some Canadian politician.
While these letters make the point, the IRS doesn’t read them.
However it court probably won’t hear the “case” until a party actually suffers damages by a bank’s or the government’s actions.
One issue is none of the banks have done anything from a customer facing perspective to actually comply with FATCA yet. So there are no grounds for any action really. I don’t really think any of the “professionals” involved in implementing this realized how much of a political football it would become especially in Canada.
I guess my biggest source of frustration is the fact ACA refuses to say publically say who are the biggest proponents of all of this in Congress. If they did I would personally be launching a smear campaign quite quickly.
This likely won’t surprise anyone, but the letter Flaherty sent back in reply is a stock letter. I got the same one a month or so ago and quoted a couple of passages from it, notably the one at the end of the letter regarding it being unacceptable that Canadian financial institutions be turned into IRS tax collectors …
I agree that Flaherty is being overly optimistic that the December 7 announcement was in respone to his interventions, as you point out the announcement didn’t actually change a thing for most persons affected. The rest of the letter is encouraging to me, though.
Another professional association that might have, or might be encouraged, to send something to Flaherty, is the Canadian Association of University Teachers. They have, certainly had in the past, a fair number of US duals in their membership. I’m not a member, but if anyone on this forum us, I urge you to contact CAUT and urge your “union” to stand up for you with our government on this issue. Not sure whether they include community college teachers as well, but if that’s a separate association, there’s another one that might have a number of US-dual-citizen members and might be motivated to write.
Not sure what other unions to approach, but I think one should focus on those likely to have a meaningful number of members affected by this. If CMA is concerned, maybe the dentists, pharmacists and nurses would be too. There’s probably as much cross-border movement in those professions as there is among CMA members, I’m guessing.
And federal government employees – surely there are some, and they must have a union. Since they all have to be Canadian citizens, there must be some that are also duals.
What’s the federal, or even provincial and municipal governments’ stand on the US reaching into Canada, and making Canadian/dual employees with any ‘signatory’ or ‘co-signatory’ powers report governmental or quasi-governmental accounts to the IRS on FBARs and FATCA?
@Just Me, Schubert
I notice the date of that letter is Jan 30. It’s quite possible that Flaherty’s perceptions of the FS have changed by now.
Just archiving another link to the reply from CMA to Flaherty.