Thank you for your question.
There are probably two components to the design of the measure or the drafting of the measure. There are purely technical considerations in the way they interact with other provisions of the act, in particular with developments that have come since its introduction. For example, the definition of “qualifying child” references section 122.8 of the Income Tax Act, which was repealed and no longer exists. That's where the child fitness tax credit was. There are things like that.
I could discuss those in more detail later, but the fundamental design of the rule is also a question.
There are different ways to design a tax credit. Many of them are based upon a taxpayer claiming a credit for a specific expense that they've incurred that is in accordance with the goals of the credit. Examples are things like the adoption tax credit, the public transit credit, home renovation tax credit, or the teachers' tax credit. All of those require a specific expense to be incurred; you claim against that, and they have rules preventing the multiplication of those deductions.
There are others, like the volunteer firefighter credit and the volunteer search and rescue credit, between which I think this proposal would be placed in the act, since they provide tax credits in response to a particular activity, not necessarily in respect of a particular expense incurred. If you look at the wording of the bill as drafted, it does not work from a specific expense incurred, so there are concerns that it could be multiplied or claimed even when your employer is paying for it.
Probably the best way to go through it is to look at a very simple example. Let's say my son, who's my qualifying child, takes a first aid course in 2018, after this credit has received royal assent and is in the Income Tax Act. For the purposes of the example, he's a smart kid who successfully completes the course in 2018, and I'm filling out my tax return and deciding if I can claim it. For the taxation year in which he successfully completed the course—so that's 2018—I can make a deduction against my tax payable, so I can take the tax credit. It would be deducted, multiplying the lesser of $200 or the cost of the program.
Let's say the cost of the program was $100, but his employer—let's say he's a lifeguard—reimbursed him for the cost of the expense. It says the cost of one such program, and not the cost to the individual of the tax program or the amount paid or the amount paid to the extent that it was not reimbursed. Then there's a concern that while the cost is $100, you can deduct it. That's why you see in the teachers' tax credit, the one for school supplies, a specific rule saying that you don't get the credit to the extent that you're reimbursed.
The concern is that in that case people would claim the credit. Maybe they wouldn't win in court, but there is still a concern that people would claim it.
Also, if you run through that same example for my spouse, my spouse would look at that and say, “Well, our child did it in that year; he passed, and the course cost $100, so I can claim it.”
If the credit is a reward for successful completion of the course, maybe that's in accordance with policy, and maybe that's how people would interpret it. That's why you have, for example, with the public transit tax credit in subsection 118.02(3), I think it is, an apportionment rule saying that if one spouse claims it, the other can't, even though their kid took the course.
There are concerns like that. In my example, maybe the child—although I think you'd have to be 15, so you wouldn't expect them to have much income—both parents would get a credit and the employer would get a deduction, as we discussed earlier.
There are those kinds of design concerns, and that's what my colleague Pierre was saying about the potential for inappropriate access.