In response to the pandemic, the Canadian government launched in the spring of 2020 the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”), a program that provides employers with a subsidy based on the remuneration paid to their employees and income they lost during the pandemic. Section 125.7 of the Income Tax Act (the “ITA”) sets out how the subsidy is to be calculated, and likely caused problems for those who had to interpret this ambiguous provision without supporting doctrine or jurisprudence. For instance, calculating the “qualifying revenue,” which is central to the CEWS calculation, involves many nuances. As an example, it requires that an entity’s revenue during qualifying periods be estimated and that certain items be excluded, such as “extraordinary items,” a term new to the ITA. The calculation of “eligible remuneration,” another important component of the CEWS calculation, also has a number of peculiarities, such as the inclusion of remuneration for related and managerial employees. The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) now has taxpayer’s CEWS calculation in its sights. The CRA began auditing CEWS claims and issuing notices of assessment to taxpayers in an effort to reduce the amount of CEWS originally granted. With reductions in pre-pandemic period qualifying income or the inclusion of items that taxpayers had initially excluded in their qualifying period income, such assessments are likely to have a significant impact on the CEWS amounts to which taxpayers were entitled, especially for companies with a large number of employees. In specific cases, the CRA may also impose penalties which can be as high as 50% of the excess subsidy claimed. Although the time limit for amending CEWS claims has expired, submitting a fairness request to amend a previously filed claim may be possible in some circumstances. Moreover, when notices of assessment are issued, a notice of objection may be filed to contest the adjustments made by the CRA. It is important to keep all documentation related to the calculation of the “qualifying revenue,” your employees’ remuneration and any other accounting documents to support the CEWS amounts claimed. A proactive approach and early intervention in a CEWS audit will not only result in a more favourable outcome in a given case, but will also prevent many back-and-forths with the CRA. Lavery’s tax law team is familiar with the CEWS program and its intricacies, and can assist you should you be audited or should you receive a notice of assessment from the CRA.
Audrey Pelletier, M. Fisc. Lawyer
- Québec, 2018
Audrey Pelletier is a member of the Business Law group and her practice is focused on tax controversy and tax litigation.
Prior to joining Lavery, Audrey Pelletier practised law with a boutique law firm specialized in tax litigation. Prior to that, she worked in an international accounting firm in tax litigation and tax planning, allowing her to diversify her practice and develop a critical approach to taxation.
Her practice covers all aspects of tax litigation, including negotiating out-of-court settlements and representing taxpayers before federal and provincial tax authorities, from the audit process to appeals before the courts.
Her expertise includes corporate and personal income tax, tax fraud, the general anti-avoidance rule and disputes involving alternative audit methods.
- “Décisions récentes en matière de règle générale anti-évitement” (Recent decisions regarding the general anti-avoidance rule), Journal le Stratège, Association de planification fiscale et financière, March 2018 edition.
Ones to Watch, The Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of Tax Law, 2024
- M. Fisc. (Master’s in Taxation), Université de Sherbrooke, 2017
- LL.B., Université Laval, 2015
Boards and Professional Affiliations
- Member of the Canadian Tax Foundation
- Member of the Association de planification fiscale et financière (APFF)
Canadian newspapers’ loss of advertising revenues to the hands of internet giants over the past several years has jeopardized the very existence of many such newspapers. In 2018, our governments announced several advantageous tax measures in order to ensure the survival of independent print media. In 2019, two favourable tax statuses were added to the Income Tax Act1 (Canada) (the “ITA”)—that of qualified Canadian journalism organization (“QCJO”) and registered journalism organization (“RJO”). The statuses of QCJO and RJO offer the following advantages under the ITA: A 25% refundable labour tax credit for salaries or wages payable in respect of an eligible newsroom employee, effective January 1, 2019; A 15% non-refundable personal income tax credit to allow individuals to claim digital news subscription costs paid to a qualifying organization after 2019 and before 2025 The addition of RJOs as qualified donees. The qualified donee status allows an entity to issue donation receipts, and thus allows any person donating money or property to an RJO to benefit from a tax credit or deduction in the calculation of their taxable income. In addition, the status of RJO allows an entity to receive donations from other entities with a favourable tax status, such as a registered charity;2 An exemption from income tax levied under the ITA. An entity must meet several conditions to obtain the statuses of QCJO and RJO, and the application process can take several months. Obviously, having these statuses involves other federal and provincial tax consequences that must be assessed on a case-by-case basis before making such a request to the tax authorities. Our taxation team is experienced in this area of law and can help you to obtain the statuses of QCJO and RJO and assess the tax consequences involved. Subsections 149.1(1) and 248(1) of the Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 1 (5thsuppl.); Subsection 248(1), ITA “registered charity”.
In December 2020, Montreal-based La Presse became one of the first media outlets in Canada to obtain registered journalism organization (RJO) status. The special status, introduced by the federal government and granted by the Canada Revenue Agency, is intended to provide alternative funding options for news organizations hit hard by declining revenues, enabling them to fund themselves through donations. Lavery had the privilege of helping La Presse reorganize its corporate structure, so it could meet all the criteria for the designation and enjoy advantages such as tax-exempt status and the ability to issue donation receipts.We also represented La Presse in talks with the Canada Revenue Agency, emphasizing the distinct nature of a mass media outlet like La Presse and the highly competitive environment in which the organization operates. As a result of our representations, La Presse was able to secure RJO status. La Presse subsequently sought our guidance on establishing new governance rules to meet its obligations as an RJO and on creating a second social utility trust. The Lavery team was led by Luc Pariseau and Audrey Pelletier.
Lavery is pleased to announce that 68 of its lawyers have been recognized as leaders in their respective fields of expertise by The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024. The following lawyers also received the Lawyer of the Year award in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada: Josianne Beaudry : Mining Law Jules Brière : Administrative and Public Law Bernard Larocque : Professional Malpractice Law Carl Lessard : Workers' Compensation Law Consult the complete list of Lavery's lawyers and their fields of expertise: Josianne Beaudry : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Mining Law Laurence Bich-Carrière : Class Action Litigation / Contruction Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation / Product Liability Law Dominic Boivert : Insurance Law Luc R. Borduas : Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law Daniel Bouchard : Environmental Law Elizabeth Bourgeois : Labour and Employment Law (Ones To Watch) René Branchaud : Mining Law / Natural Resources Law / Securities Law Étienne Brassard : Equipment Finance Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Real Estate Law Jules Brière : Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice / Administrative and Public Law / Health Care Law Myriam Brixi : Class Action Litigation Benoit Brouillette : Labour and Employment Law Richard Burgos : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Corporate Law / Commercial Leasing Law / Real Estate Law Marie-Claude Cantin : Insurance Law / Construction Law Brittany Carson : Labour and Employment Law Karl Chabot : Construction Law (Ones To Watch) Chantal Desjardins : Intellectual Property Law Jean-Sébastien Desroches : Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law Raymond Doray : Privacy and Data Security Law / Administrative and Public Law / Defamation and Media Law Christian Dumoulin : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Alain Y. Dussault : Intellectual Property Law Isabelle Duval : Family Law Philippe Frère : Administrative and Public Law Simon Gagné : Labour and Employment Law Nicolas Gagnon : Construction Law Richard Gaudreault : Labour and Employment Law Julie Gauvreau : Intellectual Property Law / Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice Audrey Gibeault : Trusts and Estates Caroline Harnois : Family Law / Family Law Mediation / Trusts and Estates Marie-Josée Hétu : Labour and Employment Law Édith Jacques : Energy Law / Corporate Law / Natural Resources Law Marie-Hélène Jolicoeur : Labour and Employment Law Isabelle Jomphe : Advertising and Marketing Law / Intellectual Property Law Guillaume Laberge : Administrative and Public Law Jonathan Lacoste-Jobin : Insurance Law Awatif Lakhdar : Family Law Bernard Larocque : Professional Malpractice Law / Class Action Litigation / Insurance Law / Legal Malpractice Law Éric Lavallée : Technology Law Myriam Lavallée : Labour and Employment Law Guy Lavoie : Labour and Employment Law / Workers' Compensation Law Jean Legault : Banking and Finance Law / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Carl Lessard : Workers' Compensation Law / Labour and Employment Law Josiane L'Heureux : Labour and Employment Law Despina Mandilaras : Construction Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Ones To Watch) Hugh Mansfield : Intellectual Property Law Zeïneb Mellouli : Labour and Employment Law / Workers' Compensation Law Isabelle P. Mercure : Trusts and Estates Patrick A. Molinari : Health Care Law Jessica Parent : Labour and Employment Law (Ones To Watch) Luc Pariseau : Tax Law / Trusts and Estates Ariane Pasquier : Labour and Employment Law Jacques Paul-Hus : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Audrey Pelletier : Tax Law (Ones To Watch) Hubert Pepin : Labour and Employment Law Martin Pichette : Insurance Law / Professional Malpractice Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation Élisabeth Pinard : Family Law François Renaud : Banking and Finance Law / Structured Finance Law Judith Rochette : Insurance Law / Professional Malpractice Law Ian Rose FCIArb : Director and Officer Liability Practice / Insurance Law / Class Action Litigation Sophie Roy : Insurance Law (Ones To Watch) Chantal Saint-Onge : Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Ones To Watch) Ouassim Tadlaoui : Construction Law / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Bernard Trang : Banking and Finance Law / Project Finance Law (Ones To Watch) Mylène Vallières : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Securities Law (Ones To Watch) André Vautour : Corporate Governance Practice / Corporate Law / Information Technology Law / Intellectual Property Law / Technology Law / Energy Law Bruno Verdon : Corporate and Commercial Litigation Sébastien Vézina : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Mining Law Yanick Vlasak : Corporate and Commercial Litigation / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Jonathan Warin : Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law These recognitions are further demonstration of the expertise and quality of legal services that characterize Lavery’s professionals. About Lavery Lavery is the leading independent law firm in Quebec. Its more than 200 professionals, based in Montréal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, work every day to offer a full range of legal services to organizations doing business in Quebec. Recognized by the most prestigious legal directories, Lavery professionals are at the heart of what is happening in the business world and are actively involved in their communities. The firm’s expertise is frequently sought after by numerous national and international partners to provide support in cases under Quebec jurisdiction.