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SPORTS AND ATHLETICS - Amateur - Leagues and associations - Licensing and oversight

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 @ 5:22 AM  


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Appeal by Athletes 4 Athletes Foundation from a decision of the Minister of National Revenue that denied its application for registration as a registered Canadian amateur athletic association (“RCAAA”) under the Income Tax Act. The appellant was a society incorporated to promote amateur athletics. The Minister found the appellant did not demonstrate it operated for the exclusive purpose of promoting amateur athletics on a nationwide basis as providing financial assistance to athletes was not accepted as promoting amateur athletics. The Minister further found that based on the appellant’s operating budget, it did not have sufficient capacity to operate programs on a national level.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The Minister did not have the broad discretion to refuse the registration of a Canadian amateur athletic association (“CAAA”) as an RCAAA. The Minister appeared to have read into the definition of a CAAA a requirement that the activities must directly support the promotion of amateur athletics. Neither the definition of CAAA nor the acceptable purposes or functions identified by the Canadian Revenue Agency supported a finding that an organization’s purposes and functions had to directly promote amateur athletics. Providing funding to athletes was not, in and of itself, a valid basis to deny registration. The Minister treated the application process as an audit. It was not necessary for a CAAA to have a physical presence in each province and territory, so long as it promoted amateur athletics in Canada on a nationwide basis. The matter was referred back to the Minister.

Athletes 4 Athletes Foundation v. Canada (National Revenue), [2021] F.C.J. No. 771, Federal Court of Appeal, W.W. Webb, D.J. Rennie and R. LeBlanc JJ.A., July 21, 2021. Digest No. TLD-August232021006