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Recent Webinars Explore the Latest in Taxation Policy

November 23, 2023

Avnee Paranjape

This year marked not only the 30th anniversary of Osgoode Professional Development’s Professional LLM in Taxation Law, but also the inauguration of a series of timely seminars for the tax community hosted by the faculty.

The seminars began in June, with a special event responding to a newly released, and much-anticipated, Supreme Court decision in tax law. Led by Prof. Jinyan Li and John Tobin, co-directors of the LLM in Tax Law, “Deeper into the Knight: Exploring Deans Knight Income Corp. v. Canada and its Effects on the GAAR” brought leading tax experts from across the country to OsgoodePD’s downtown location.  

After an initial discussion of the background to the Supreme Court’s decision with former Supreme Court Justice the Hon. Marshall Rothstein, speakers then examined the decision in detail and discussed its implications for future tax law cases in courts. Finally, panelists looked ahead to what the decision might mean for legislative amendments proposed by the federal government. Overall, over 100 tax professionals joined OsgoodePD, either in-person or remotely, for the afternoon’s discussion.

The second seminar, held in October, placed tax policy in the context of disability rights. “Promises and Pitfalls of the Canada Disability Benefit” was a joint effort of Prof. Li, Prof. Hengameh Saberi, Adjunct Professor Hart Schwartz, and Steven Muller, Vice-President of Litigation at Share Lawyers. This organizing committee sought to explore the implications of the newly passed Canada Disability Benefit Act, which promised to provide benefits to millions of working-age Canadians.

In this half-day webinar, which brought together experts from policy, law, and economics, speakers examined the questions that lawmakers would have to consider when implementing the benefit, and its potential effects. Panels discussed how regulations associated with the Canada Disability Benefit Act might be written and implemented, and the challenges that those seeking the benefit may face in the future. The speakers included employment lawyers, advocates from the Income Security Advocacy Centre and the National ME/FM Action Network, and professors in law and economics. With over 260 registrations from across Canada, this topical event opened a dialogue between academics, legal practitioners, advocates, and citizens.

More recently, the co-directors of the LLM in Tax Law hosted a special session on proposed legislative amendments to Canadian tax rules. “Will an Explicit Economic Substance Test Strengthen the GAAR in Courts?” featured key thinkers in the area both nationally and internationally. In addition to Steve Suarez, Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais, and the Hon. Marshall Rothstein, the virtual session welcomed Prof. Craig Elliffe, a leading tax scholar and expert in international tax from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. This illuminating session discussed the New Zealand experience with certain tax laws in the context of potential developments in Canada, giving current LLM students plenty to think about for their continuing classes.

The efforts of co-directors Prof. Jinyan Li and John Tobin over this past year are quickly establishing OsgoodePD as a leading venue for discussion and debate of tax law in Canada. Even 30 years in, the LLM in Taxation Law is still growing, innovating, and reaching out to new audiences.

Want to learn more about the Professional LLM in Taxation Law? Sign up for an Information Session!