An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.

Sponsor

Brian Fitzpatrick  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act to exclude certain allowances in respect of board and lodging from the computation of a taxpayer’s income from an office or employment if those allowances are paid to the taxpayer by a registered charity or a non-profit organization in connection with its operation of a sports team or recreation program for persons under 21 years of age of which the taxpayer is a registered member or participant.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Feb. 28, 2007 Failed That Bill C-294, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing lines 10 to 15 on page 1 with the following: “(A) the taxpayer is, in that month, a registered participant with, or member of, (I) a sports team or recreation program of the employer in respect of which membership or participation is restricted to persons under 21 years of age, or (II) a sports team or recreation program of a college or university,”
June 7, 2006 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

Message from the SenateRoyal Assent

June 22nd, 2007 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House did attend Her Excellency the Governor General in the Senate chamber Her Excellency was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:

Bill C-12, An Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts--Chapter 15;

Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs)--Chapter 16;

Bill S-6, An Act to amend the First Nations Land Management Act--Chapter 17;

Bill C-40, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and to make related amendments to other Acts--Chapter 18;

Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts--Chapter 19;

Bill C-277, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child)--Chapter 20;

Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act--Chapter 21;

Bill C-18, An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to DNA identification--Chapter 22;

Bill C-60, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2008--Chapter 23;

Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption)--Chapter 24;

Bill C-47, An Act respecting the protection of marks related to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and protection against certain misleading business associations and making a related amendment to the Trade-marks Act--Chapter 25;

Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Geneva Conventions Act, An Act to incorporate the Canadian Red Cross Society and the Trade-marks Act--Chapter 26;

Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Quarantine Act--Chapter 27;

Bill C-59, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (unauthorized recording of a movie)--Chapter 28;

Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007--Chapter 29;

Bill C-288, An Act to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto Protocol--Chapter 30.

It being 12:23 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 17, 2007, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).

The first session of the 39th Parliament was prorogued by royal proclamation on September 14, 2007.

Motions in AmendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

June 4th, 2007 / 12:05 p.m.
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Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to contest a ruling by the chair of the finance committee during clause by clause consideration last week. During that consideration, the chair of the committee ruled that an amendment referenced at the committee under the number 2972723 was out of order and could not be moved.

The amendment in question sought to provide a tax reduction to a group of taxpayers who would have otherwise paid 31.5% tax on proceeds from income trusts. Under my amendment, they would pay only 10%. The amendment also provides for a tax refund or credit of this tax for certain taxpayers. Both of these measures are clearly tax reductions.

With respect to the general tax reduction from 31.5% to 10% contained in the amendment, it was in no way questioned by the chair at the meeting. The chair presumably knew that such a tax reduction was in order. However, in committee, the chair ruled out of order another part of the same amendment that I proposed to clause 21 of the bill to reduce the tax on Canadian residents even further by way of a tax refund or credit, in subclause 2.1. Here I will quote the chair of the committee, who said that this “would require government spending”.

He then concluded, again erroneously, that this latter tax reduction required a royal recommendation, which if this was the case obviously could not be moved in committee. Therefore, the chairman mistakenly ruled the amendment out of order and the committee did not consider the amendment that I was proposing.

In addition, a number of amendments standing under my name at the committee simply could not proceed because the central amendment, which I have just described, could not be moved. The chair's ruling thus had an adverse effect not only on the amendment itself but on a number of other amendments as well.

I now want to touch briefly on the procedural arguments as to why I think the committee chair's ruling was erroneous. While I accept that increasing a tax or levy as well as increasing a benefit or grant are prerogatives of the Crown, my amendment did no such thing. It dealt with refunding a tax to a group that would otherwise have paid it.

On Monday, October 9, 1957, Speaker Lamoureux ruled in this place that reducing a tax by way of an amendment and without a royal recommendation was in order. This decision can be found in the Journals of the House of that day at page 254.

Speaker Lamoureux, in his decision, was basing himself on Erskine May's treatise on parliamentary procedure and form, the 15th edition, which says at page 704 that provisions for the alleviation of taxes are not subject to the rules of financial procedure. At page 572, May also states that a bill diminishing or repealing a tax or other public burden, unless the imposition of a new tax is proposed by way of substitution, needs no royal recommendation.

In our own House in the last Parliament, a number of private members' bills were passed, without royal recommendation, to provide tax alleviation. Two such examples were the bills to provide for a tax deduction for tools for automobile mechanics and a bill to provide similar relief for workers who purchase transit passes.

Only a few weeks ago, we passed private member's Bill C-294 to reduce income taxes for the benefit of lodging and other such allowances to young athletes, mainly hockey players. This bill was sponsored by the Conservative member of Parliament for Prince Albert.

Surely if it is in order to offer an exoneration of taxes for hockey players, which it certainly was and which I supported, it is equally in order to offer an amendment to reduce taxes to Canadian senior citizens who are now the innocent victims of the Prime Minister's broken promise on income trusts.

Finally, I wish to draw to the attention of the House a booklet published by the Procedural Services of the House of Commons under the authority of the Speaker and entitled “Amending Bills at Committee and Report Stages in the House of Commons”. At page 5 of this document, under the rubric “Financial Initiative of the Crown”, it is stated, “Any amendment to reduce public spending or to reduce a tax is admissible”.

Clearly the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance erred when he refused to allow me to move my amendment at committee. Equally clearly, the effect of not being able to move this important amendment was such that other amendments which I was offering either could not be moved because they were subordinate in nature or, in the case where they could be moved, did not carry much support simply because the main subject could not even be debated.

For greater clarity, I note that the Chair of the committee was in error when he suggested that subclause 2.1 was new tax expenditure. It is not. The subclause itself makes this point when it states, “Every individual who is resident in Canada and liable to pay tax under Part 1 may claim a refund or credit against tax otherwise payable”.

This subclause involves no new net tax expenditure by the Crown. It simply allows an individual taxpayer who is a Canadian resident to recover tax already paid on his or her behalf to the Crown.

A taxpayer who is a Canadian resident can recover not one penny more than that which was remitted on his or her behalf already to the Crown. Therefore, there is no new tax expenditure whatsoever.

In short, the withholding in question is then reimbursable to a specific category of investors, namely, Canadian residents, who would get their money back. For example, foreign investors would not qualify because they do not pay sufficient or any Canadian taxes. Pension funds would not qualify either because of their tax exempt status.

Therefore, there is a clear case of tax alleviation as identified by Erskine May, as I mentioned earlier.

That is why I am seeking this remedy in asking the Speaker that my amendment be allowed to be debated and voted on at report stage. The Chair of the committee provided an erroneous ruling which prevented me from doing my work of representing my constituents and Canadians generally at the committee.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

March 30th, 2007 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

moved that Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs), be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members of the House at this stage because the bill has the unanimous support of all 308 members of Parliament in this esteemed chamber.

I think the members understand the specific purpose of the bill but I will quickly go over it again. It is intended to help young people under the age of 21 in amateur sports programs and the organizations that support them by exempting up to $300 of room and board or lodging costs per month from the Income Tax Act.

If the bill is passed, the direct beneficiaries of this measure will be the young people in amateur sports and the organizations that support them.

What is near and dear to my heart and what motivated me to present this bill are the junior A hockey programs in Canada. We have about 140 junior A teams in small cities and towns and in remote and rural areas across Canada that will be the direct beneficiaries of this amendment to the Income Tax Act. It will reduce the cost of their operation probably in the area of $4,000 or $5,000 a year, which in this town might appear to be chump change, but to the organizations that are trying to keep junior A hockey teams viable in their small towns and communities this is significant. It will go a long way to making their hockey operation viable.

Hockey is our national sport. I talked with Mr. Tretiak the other day, the famous Russian hockey coach. He even realized the great goaltenders that came from Saskatchewan, Glenn Hall, Johnny Bower and many others. He learned many of his techniques and skills by studying their methods of playing in goal. We have a rich history of hockey in Saskatchewan and the junior A hockey program is very much a part of that.

I want to acknowledge some of the people who should be acknowledged on this bill. The real champion of this bill and who took the bull by the horns was Roy Bailey, a good friend of mine and a former colleague in this House in the 37th Parliament. He fought hard to get this injustice sorted out when it occurred. He did not really accomplish that but he laid all the groundwork for it. I am basically finishing the job that Roy started.

I once again want to thank MPs from all parties who contributed to this matter. They have been very good in discussing the matter. When we are talking hockey, I think partisanship disappears and we are all on the same side.

The member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and her staff have been very helpful on this matter. I specifically want to thank the member for the accommodations that were made to expedite this bill.

At report stage the bill received the unanimous support of the House. I do not intend to go over all the merits of the bill. We have done that before. I think the members of the House understand the bill quite well. Not much would be accomplished by going over the benefits of the bill, except that it is a good news story for amateur sport and young people in Canada. This is good public policy.

The cost of this amendment to the taxpayer would be minimal. I do not think it would amount to more than $700,000 or $800,000 a year, which, in the age of obesity and all the problems we are having with type two diabetes, it is a measure that would encourage people to be active and be healthy, which is something we should all be encouraging.

I will not be using all my allotted time on this matter. I commend the bill to the good judgment of the 308 members of Parliament in the House of Commons. I trust they will continue to do the right thing and push this bill into reality and make it the public policy of this country.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2007 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think, with the permission of the sponsor, the hon. member for Prince Albert, and with the consent of all members present in the chamber this evening, you might find unanimous consent to pass Bill C-294 at report stage.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2007 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-294.

Call in the members.

The House resumed from February 23 consideration of Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs), as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of Motion No. 1.

Motion to AmendIncome Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 23rd, 2007 / 1:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-294, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing lines 10 to 15 on page 1 with the following:

“(A) the taxpayer is, in that month, a registered participant with, or member of,

(I) a sports team or recreation program of the employer in respect of which membership or participation is restricted to persons under 21 years of age, or

(II) a sports team or recreation program of a college or university,”

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will, of course, support Bill C-294, now before us, because it helps young athletes.

The situation in which athletes find themselves is a reflection of the importance given to sports. And there is work to be done, considering that this country will host the 2010 Olympic Games.

The Bloc Québécois strongly supports this bill, which is a step forward to help athletes directly, because, in many cases, they must pay to participate in their sport, particularly young athletes, who receive very little help, both in terms of money and visibility or credibility.

There is only one program providing direct financial assistance to athletes, and that is the Assistance Athlete Program, or AAP. The funds earmarked for this program account for only 13% of the overall budget for sports in Canada.

So, despite the minister's announcement earlier this year that this program would be improved, the fact remains that athletes need more support from the federal government, which seems to perceive these athletes more as a source of visibility and pride, than as people who should get support.

So, the Bloc Québécois supports this bill, which provides additional assistance to athletes, particularly young athletes, who must often spend large sums of money to train in order to perform, on things such as food and housing, sportswear, transportation, tuition fees, medical expenses, travel and competition expenses, registration fees at competitions, training session costs, membership fees, food supplements, and so on.

The amendment that I presented at report stage, and which is proposed by the Bloc Québécois, seeks to recognize the important role of Quebec and Canadian university sports, as regards sport issues.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the amendment that you read is to add a second part to clause 1(A), so as to include a sports team or a recreation program of a college or university. That is an addition. The bill already includes all the teams whose members are under 21 years of age. However, university teams should be supported, because they include young athletes. In many cases, some members of those teams will be over 21 years of age, and it would be unfortunate to exclude them for that reason.

To highlight the importance of university sports in Quebec, I would like to speak about an event that takes place every year from September to March. More than 10,000 student-athletes participate in 11 sport disciplines, with a schedule of close to 3,000 events. These events lead to the ultimate goal in university sports: claiming the National Championship title. This weekly competition provides student-athletes with the best there is to offer in Quebec and in Canada.

Annually, regional champions from the four conferences vie to compete in the following disciplines or championships, which are held in November of every year: women's field hockey; men's and women's cross country; women's rugby; men's and women's soccer; the Mitchell Bowl, which is the football semi-final; the Uteck Bowl, which is also a football semi-final; and the Vanier Cup football final.

In March of every year, the following championships take place: women's and men's wrestling; women's ice hockey; men's and women's swimming; men's and women's volleyball; men's and women's indoor track and field; men's and women's basketball; and the University Cup for men's ice hockey.

There are many events at the university level which deserve to have this clause included in the bill.

No other sport organization in the country can match the breadth and scope of such a program. From Victoria to St. John's, student-athletes competing for national honours represent an exciting vibrant dimension of Quebec and Canadian society. Every Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) student-athlete must attend an annual drug education seminar as part of the CIS drug education and doping control program. The seminar highlights key issues and health concerns of drugs in sport. This seminar is extremely beneficial as it allows the student-athletes to discuss the ethics of drugs in sport and educates them about CIS's zero tolerance policy.

Internationally, student-athletes can experience the excitement of the Winter and Summer World University Games, the second largest international multi-sporting events in the world, second only to the Olympics. Every two years, student-athletes have an opportunity to compete with the best from around the globe in 12 sporting disciplines at the summer games and seven sporting disciplines at the winter games. These games provide Canadian university athletes with a unique experience both culturally and athletically and are often the platform for student-athletes to launch their international athletic careers.

My purpose in summarizing these various activities was to emphasize the contribution of university sports to the next generation of Quebec and Canadian athletes, and to support the motion in amendment I tabled at the report stage.

The purpose of Bill C-294 is to amend the Income Tax Act to provide additional support for athletes by excluding from their taxable income allowances from non-profit groups or associations. Concretely, the bill proposes adding a provision to the existing Income Tax Act to exclude from their taxable income any allowances for board and lodging and any other reasonable expenses of the taxpayer that are paid to or on behalf of the taxpayer by a non-profit organization in connection with its operation of a sports team or a sports or recreation program, to a maximum of $350 for each month of the year, adjusted annually to reflect inflation. This applies in two cases: if the taxpayer is registered during the year with the organization as a member of the sports team or as a participant in the sports or recreation program; and if the taxpayer is under 21 years of age. In fact, membership in the team or participation in the program must be restricted to persons under 21 years of age. We are proposing this amendment because we found that the part that allowed only for teams whose members were all under 21 years of age automatically excluded many university students.

I would like to take a moment to illustrate how important Sport Canada is. This bill does much more than give tax credits to athletes, it reopens the debate on funding for amateur sport and the general situation of athletes in Canada and Quebec. Sport Canada is the public agency that administers sport in Canada. The agency comes under the Department of Canadian Heritage and under the direct political responsibility of the Secretary of State for Sport, who reports to the minister. Its mandate is to help athletes achieve excellence in high-level sports and build a Canadian sports system in order to reinforce the unique contribution sport makes to Canada's cultural identity.

Unfortunately, I will not have time to talk about the various programs Sport Canada offers, but the purpose of my presentation was to demonstrate that, even though some efforts are being made, we are not providing enough support for our athletes, especially young athletes. The Bloc Québécois will support this bill. We encourage all parliamentarians to support our amendment in order to ensure that this bill includes university sports.

Speaker's RulingIncome Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 23rd, 2007 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

There is one motion in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-294. Motion No. 1 will be debated and voted upon.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs), as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

February 13th, 2007 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the tenth report of the Standing Committee on Finance, on Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs).

I would like to congratulate the member for Prince Albert on being able to advance this private member's bill through committee. I think all members of this place share in respecting the diligence and effort that is required to advance a private member's bill in this place. The member has shown great persistence in doing so. We congratulate him as we present this report to you, Mr. Speaker, and to our colleagues.

February 8th, 2007 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to do that.

The amendment is in front of all members. Is there anyone who does not have a copy of this amendment to Bill C-294? The amendment is that the bill, in clause 1—there is only clause—be amended by replacing lines 7 to 24 on page 1 with the following.

I would ask my good friend Mr. Del Mastro to read the rest of it. I am a little incapacitated at the moment.

February 8th, 2007 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Brian Pallister

Before Finance officials leave, I understand we may need some answers to some questions during clause-by-clause. I'd encourage you to stay for a few minutes, anyway. I would appreciate it if Finance officials would hang around just for 20 minutes, just in case there are some questions pertinent to the issue.

All right, we're into clause-by-clause consideration now of Bill C-294.

(On clause 1)

You have in front of you an amendment. I would emphasize to committee members, for the maximum effective use of time, that the cameras are off.

It's Diane's amendment, isn't it? Would you like to speak to that?

February 8th, 2007 / 11:05 a.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Brian Pallister

Welcome, members of the committee.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, June 7, 2006, Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs), we have some witnesses here today.

Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. We're going to start with my colleague Mr. Fitzpatrick. We'll allocate a brief time, five minutes, for a presentation or an overview and then get right into some discussion and some questioning on the issue.

Whenever you're ready, Brian, take it away. I'll give you five minutes to give us an overview on your proposal.

February 1st, 2007 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Brian Pallister

Order.

Committee members, allow me to review quickly the work schedule for committee members and their staff.

First of all, in terms of orders of business for the coming week, next Tuesday, February 6, we will be dealing with a draft report on income trusts. I'm going to endeavour to get the room fifteen minutes earlier so that you can come in and read the draft prior to beginning discussion, just to expedite the process of dealing with the draft report.

Next Thursday, February 8, we have private members' bills. We have Bill C-294, Bill C-253, and Bill C-305 to deal with at that point in time.

Following that, very likely beginning on Tuesday, February 13, we will be dealing with Bill C-37, the Bank Act review, which should encompass a fair bit of the committee's time over the next while. I would suggest to you, committee members, that you forward names of witnesses to the clerk's office. Begin that process now and we'll give you some deadlines later on, but give some thought to Bill C-37, the Bank Act review, as soon as you wish.

At this juncture, Mr. McCallum, I believe you have a motion that you'd like to bring forward. I'd like for us to deal with it now if we could.

October 31st, 2006 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Brian Pallister

Thank you, Madam Ablonczy. Thank you, all. Thanks to committee members for their attention, despite their chocolate levels here this morning.

We will excuse the panel now, and the cameras will be off momentarily so we can continue our civil discussions this morning.

I think I can deal, actually, with Monsieur St-Cyr's issue in advance. It may save us time, and we'll then move to Madam Wasylycia-Leis's motion. Also, I should notify the committee that we've received notice from Mr. Paquette of his desire to present a motion on Thursday.

I want to quickly give you an overview of the work we have before us. This Thursday we will continue dealing with Bill C-25. I will encourage all committee members, if they have amendments to this bill, to bring them forward in advance of the discussions. It would facilitate discussion of the bill. I would encourage you to give those to the clerk by 5 p.m. tomorrow, knowing, of course, that you can bring amendments during the discussion if you so desire. It would facilitate our discussion at that time.

Also, we have C-28, the budget implementation bill, before us, which we must deal with by.... When? Is there a deadline on that? It should be as soon as possible.

We also have Bill C-294. Supplementary estimates also have to be dealt with by December 5. We have the fall fiscal forecast. And the minister will be appearing, we think, but not until the week after, we hope, the Remembrance Day recess.

We also have, of course, the priorities that I've asked you to identify and forward to us, because we want to get those over to Finance so they can come to speak to those and provide us with further information. That process will begin next Tuesday. So those priorities, I'd remind you.... When did we say we wanted those in by? They should be in by tomorrow at noon. Please do so, because we do want to make sure that Finance officials have a bit of lead time to prepare fully for your questions.

As well, we have private members' bills and the tabling of reports on the pre-budget consultations. We need to prepare that as a result of our weeks of deliberations. That has to be done by December 4. As well, Mr. McCallum has a notice of motion on the record in regard to GST rebates.

We have 10 meetings to do all of that. That being said, Mr. St-Cyr has raised with the chair his concern about--