updated 2:11 PM CET, Oct 31, 2023

Long-awaited 'Gwen and Kazia' FATCA appeal hearing in Canada takes place today

 An anti-FATCA demonstration in Ottawa in 2013 by members of the Isaac Brock Society An anti-FATCA demonstration in Ottawa in 2013 by members of the Isaac Brock Society An anti-FATCA demonstration in Ottawa in 2013 by members of the Isaac Brock Society An anti-FATCA demonstration in Ottawa in 2013 by members of the Isaac Brock Society

A long-awaited appellate court hearing in a years-long challenge of Canada's Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act-implementation legislation is set to get underway today, in a hearing room in Canada's Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver, British Columbia.

As reported, the Gwendolyn Louise Deegan et al. v. Attorney General of Canada Et al. will begin at 9:30am local time (5:30pm BST, 6:30pm CEST). 

Members of the public who are wishing to watch the proceedings may find out how to do so by clicking here, and following the instructions.

Today's hearing represents the latest in a series of actions that have taken place over the past six years, as a group of dual Canadian/U.S. citizens resident in Canada have sought to challenge the constitutionality of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that Canada uses to implement the U.S. tax evasion-avoidance law known as FATCA.

At issue in today's hearing will be a July 22, 2019 dismissal, by a Federal Court judge in Ottawa, of the latest legal effort by two dual Canadian Americans /U.S. citizens to block Canada’s implementation of the U.S.’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

As reported, that ruling, by Federal Court of Canada Justice Anne Mactavish, came some six months after a five-day trial that took place earlier that year in Vancouver.

It came just three days after a French court decided in favor of allowing France’s FATCA implementation regime to stand, and was declared, by supporters of the plaintiffs, to have dealt a blow to thousands of Americans with dual citizenship and consequent tax obligations, not just in Canada but around the world.

The Canadian/Americans filed their appeal against the dismissal on Sept. 30, 2019.

Toronto-based lawyer and American expat rights advocate John Richardson says that what supporters of the dual Canadian/U.S. citizen plaintiffs will be hoping for out of today's hearing will be the assurance that the case will go to the Canadian Supreme Court, even if the plaintiffs were to lose, which he notes the Supreme Court could decide to do, on the basis that it concerns an issue of "public importance". 

'Gwen and Kazia'

The two plaintiffs in the case – Gwendolyn ("Gwen") Louise Deegan and Kazia Highton – have lived most of their lives in Canada, and have been relying on donations to fund their campaign.

They argue that the Canadian government, by providing the U.S. IRS with the financial information about those of its citizens who are also considered by the U.S. to be Americans, typically because of having been born there, as it's obliged to under the FATCA IGA, violates the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty, as well as Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The case has been supported ever since it began by a lobbying group called the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty, whose board members include, in addition to Richardson, its chair, University of Toronto professor Stephen J. Kish; ADCS treasurer/secretary Patricia Moon; and Calgary-based director Carol Tapanila.

Greg DelBigio, of the Vancouver law firm Thorsteinssons, is representing the plaintiffs in the matter, according to an 85-page court document outlining their arguments, which was filed in December, 2020.

A link to this Memorandum of Fact and Law, along with links to other relevant documents and background about the case, may be viewed on the home page of the ADCS's website, by clicking here.

The case has been covered ever since its earliest stages by the Isaac Brock Society, an advocacy blog/website that was launched in 2011 by a handful of Canadian Americans who even then had begun to become increasingly frustrated by the American government's intensifying efforts to come after them. (The photograph at the top of this article was taken during an anti-FATCA Isaac Brock Society's demonstration in Ottawa in 2013.)

The site takes its name from a British military hero named Isaac Brock, who is remembered for his role in helping to defend what is now Canada from an American invasion in 1812.

To read the latest Isaac Brock Society comments about the Gwen and Kazia campaign and other issues on the Brock site, click here.