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CUSTOMS AND EXCISE - Declarations - Report of goods - Tariff classification

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 @ 7:56 AM  

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Appeal by Hociung from a decision of the Federal Court granting the respondent’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing his action. The Canada Border Services Agency seized several precious metal coins when the appellant failed to declare the coins as goods upon his entry into Canada from the United States. The appellant purchased the coins for $5,700 USD. The denomination value of the coins was $220 USD. The Minister’s delegate found there was a contravention of s. 12 of the Customs Act but reduced the penalty for the release of the coins from $1,607 to $321. The appellant’s subsequent action included an appeal of the Minister’s decision and claimed damages based on alleged torts committed during his interaction with CBSA’s employees. The Federal Court found that anything other than whether the appellant contravened the Customs Act was beyond the scope of a s. 135 action and was to be pursued in other proceedings. It found the coins in issue were goods within the meaning of s. 12 of the Act and were to be declared.

HELD: Appeal allowed in part. The Federal Court erred in concluding the appellant could not join any other cause of action in an action involving his appeal pursuant to s. 135 of the Customs Act. It could not simply dismiss the action in its entirety on the sole basis that there was a contravention of the Customs Act without examining if and how all the causes of action and relief sought were affected by such determination. The obligation to declare pursuant to s. 12 of the Act was distinct from the obligation to pay duties. The Customs Tariff indicated the legislature’s intention that the coins with legal tender were to be included within the ambit of the word “goods” in s. 12 of the Customs Act. The Federal Court did not err in law when it concluded the coins were goods subject to the obligation to declare provided for in s. 12 of the Customs Act. The appellant’s allegations of bias against the Federal Court were baseless. The appellant’s appeal pursuant to s. 135 of the Customs Act and his claims based on fraud and misrepresentation as to the right of the CBSA to seize his coins did not raise any genuine issue for trial. The matter was remitted back to the Federal Court to determine whether the remaining claims should be summarily dismissed.

Hociung v. Canada (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), [2019] F.C.J. No. 929, Federal Court of Appeal, J. Gauthier and W.W. Webb JJ.A. and M. Rivoalen A.C.J., August 7, 2019. Digest No. TLD-September232019008