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
Date Written: 1992
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.
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