Sex, Tax and the Charter: A Review of Thibaudeau v. Canada

Review of Constitutional Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 221-304, 1995

42 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2010

See all articles by Lisa Philipps

Lisa Philipps

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Margot E. Young

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 1995

Abstract

Section 15 of the Charter offers the promise of redressing many systemic inequalities in the law. This paper considers the implications of section 15 for the taxation of child support payments, an issue raised in the Thibaudeau case. While endorsing the Federal Court of Appeal's decision that the current tax regime is unconstitutional, the authors take issue with the Court's reasoning in reaching this result. In the first part of their paper, the authors address a number of shortcomings in the Court's equality analysis, arguing that the process employed by the Court ignored critical aspects of equality theory. The process of categorization in equality analysis (its inevitability, inexactness and complexity) is discussed. In the paper's second part, the arguments raised by the federal government to justify its legislative scheme are examined. Most troubling, the authors argue, is that each rationale proceeds from and reinforces familial ideologies which render child support largely a matter of private transfers from men to women. Lastly, a cautionary note about the use of the Charter to redress social and economic inequality is provided. Judicial decisions under section 15 of the Charter should be considered only as the beginning of a larger political process intended to relieve conditions of dis-advantagement.

Suggested Citation

Philipps, Lisa and Young, Margot E., Sex, Tax and the Charter: A Review of Thibaudeau v. Canada (1995). Review of Constitutional Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 221-304, 1995, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1594357

Lisa Philipps (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/faculty/Philipps_Lisa_C.html

Margot E. Young

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Faculty of Law ( email )

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
Canada

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