Legal clinic challenges part of Income Tax Act

February 13, 2018
Article Source
Law Times

A legal clinic is challenging the constitutionality of part of the Income Tax Act that bars refugee claimants from receiving Canada child benefits. 

The Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic has filed Notices of Constitutional Question with the Canada Revenue Agency for clients, disputing the constitutional validity of s. 122.6 of the act.

The section holds that individuals are eligible for the CCB if their spouse is a Canadian citizen, if they are in a humanitarian designated class, a permanent resident, a temporary resident or a protected person, within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The legal clinic argues this imposes a blanket exclusion against refugee claimants and those with a precarious immigration status.

Some of those excluded have been individuals who have worked and paid income tax in Canada.

"Something needs to be done because of the disproportionate impact on women, but in particular racialized women and women who have precarious status," says the clinic's director, Avvy Go.

The challenge may have important impacts for the refugee and immigration bar, say lawyers.

Over the years, the clinic has seen clients who have been denied the CCB or who were receiving the benefit only to abruptly receive a letter saying they were ineligible and had to refund the benefits, says Go. Each time clients have come up against this issue, it has been because of the eligibility requirement under the ITA.

Go says that in recent years there have been more and more cases of clients being given the benefit only to be told a year or two later that they have to return the funds to the CRA. 

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