Child Care Expenses and the Charter: Where Sex Meets Class

Canadian Journal of Women & Law, Vol. 5, pp. 498-516, 1992

20 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2010

See all articles by Audrey Macklin

Audrey Macklin

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 1992

Abstract

This comment examines the deductibility of child care costs as a business expense. The taxpayer, a female lawyer, argued for an interpretation of the Income Tax Act that would allow such a deduction and argued further that its denial violated the equality guarantee of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The author contends that the statutory interpretation argument is tenable. Child care expenses are no more or less tied to the commercial needs of a business than expenses that the courts have previously permitted businessmen to deduct. Conversely, the author finds the Charter argument to be doctrinally and politically troubling. It implicitly invokes a "similarly situated" analysis now rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada. While such an analysis may operate to the taxpayer's advantage in the particular case, it ultimately harms women by assisting the least needy and legitimating the inequality of the most disadvantaged. Indeed, the remedy sought by the taxpayer can only benefit a highly select group of economically privileged women, namely, business women with enough income to hire a domestic worker. The author concludes that Symes' Charter claim does less to advance the interests of women than it does to champion class privilege.

Suggested Citation

Macklin, Audrey, Child Care Expenses and the Charter: Where Sex Meets Class (1992). Canadian Journal of Women & Law, Vol. 5, pp. 498-516, 1992, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1629519

Audrey Macklin (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
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