Proclamation of a constitutional amendment issued to repeal outdated tax exemption

OTTAWA, ON, May 6, 2022 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of working closely with our provincial and territorial partners to achieve mutual goals to improve the lives of all Canadians.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, together with the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, announced that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, on the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council, issued a proclamation amending the Constitution of Canada to repeal section 24 of the Saskatchewan Act, retroactive to 1966.

By repealing section 24, the constitutional amendment removes an outdated tax exemption from 1880 that was benefitting the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) which recognized CPR’s investments in building the trans-Canadian rail line in the 19th century. 

This constitutional amendment was reached using the bilateral constitutional amending procedure. In accordance with the procedure, the provincial Legislative Assembly, the House of Commons, and the Senate authorized the amendment. This measure will enhance the fairness of Saskatchewan’s tax system.

Quotes

"This constitutional amendment was initiated by the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan and approved by both Houses of Parliament. Canadians should be proud of our flexible federalism and a Constitution that reflects a fair and just Canadian society. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories on ways to improve the lives of all Canadians."

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Our government is committed to working collaboratively with all provinces and territories to achieve results for Canadians. This constitutional amendment removes certain outdated tax exemptions and will uphold a just taxation system for residents and businesses."

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick Facts

  • On November 29, 2021, the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan unanimously adopted a resolution requesting an amendment to the Constitution of Canada to repeal section 24 of the Saskatchewan Act retroactive to 1966.
  • Section 24 limits Saskatchewan’s taxing power over the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in respect of certain tax exemptions contained in an 1880 contract that recognized CPR’s investments in building the trans-Canadian rail line in the 19th century.
  • While arrangements were made between the Government of Canada and Canadian Pacific Rail in 1966 to forego the exemption, the Constitution was not amended at the time given there was no amendment protocol in place.
  • The bilateral amending procedure is used to amend provisions of the Constitution of Canada that apply only to specific provinces, and has been employed on a number of occasions in the past, most recently in 2001 when the "Province of Newfoundland" changed its name to the "Province of Newfoundland and Labrador".

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SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

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