Doctrine of legitimate expectations only applied to procedure to be followed

Income Tax – Tax credits

Minister of Canadian Heritage refused taxpayer’s request for film or video production certificate for television series on grounds that production would be production in respect of game, questionnaire or contest under s. 1106(1)(b)(iii) of Income Tax Regulations. Canadian Audiovisual Products Certification Office (CAVCO) was unit within Department of Canadian Heritage that administered certificates . In absence of certificate, taxpayer could not obtain tax credit. Taxpayer brought application for judicial review . Application dismissed . Decision was reasonable. There was nothing in evidence to indicate that decision was not made in good faith, that it constituted abuse of power or that it was otherwise contrary to objectives of legislation. Architecture of legislative scheme required that Minister determine whether production was excluded, which was precisely what had been done. Evidence showed that CAVCO examined material submitted, matter was considered by compliance committee and decision was communicated to taxpayer in notice of refusal. Facts did not support conclusion that taxpayer was caught off guard and that CAVCO applied proposed changes to its guidelines retroactively. Doctrine of legitimate expectations was only procedural in nature and in this proceeding, there was no deadline, neither express nor implied, for process applications. Doctrine of legitimate expectations only applied to procedure to be followed and in this case, taxpayer was given notice of refusal as well as opportunity to make representations before Minister’s final decision. This was all that procedural fairness required.

Productions GFP (III) Inc. c. Canada (Procureure générale) (2019), 2019 CarswellNat 7890, 2019 CF 1613, William F. Pentney J. (F.C.).

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