The General Anti-Avoidance Rule - Past and Future

DINNER - MARCH 6, 2019   |   SESSIONS - MARCH 7, 2019

Online registrations are now closed. Please contact us at for any inquiries.
The dinner and symposium will take place in the Imperial ballroom, located in the lobby level of the Fairmont Royal York hotel (100 Front St. W.)

March 6: Join us for cocktails at 6pm with dinner beginning at 7pm.
March 7: The registration desk will open at 7:30am on Thursday and will remain open for the duration of the event. Please check-in at the registration desk upon arrival.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
6:00 PM -
7:00 PM
7:00 PM -
10:00 PM
Personal Reflections on the Enactment of the GAAR

Thursday, March 7, 2019
7:30 AM -
8:30 AM
Registration and light breakfast
8:30 AM -
8:45 AM 
Opening Remarks
8:45 AM - 
9:30 AM
A Look Back at the Legislative History of the GAAR 

  • the historical context that led to the adoption of the GAAR
  • subsequent amendments to the GAAR (2004)

Learn more about this topic

Brian Arnold, Canadian Tax Foundation, London (Active Moderator)
Deen Olsen, Department of Justice, Ottawa
James R. Wilson, Canada Life, Toronto     

9:30 AM - 
9:40 AM
 Question Period
9:40 AM -
10:40 AM

The Case Law Dealing with the GAAR

  • broad themes of the case law on the GAAR with references to the most important cases, but should not just consist of a case-by-case analysis

    • tax benefit

    • avoidance transaction

    • misuse or abuse
  • another possible theme for this session is the relationship between the GAAR and statutory interpretation and the GAAR and specific anti-avoidance rules

Learn more about this topic

Heather L. Evans, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tax Foundation, Toronto (Active Moderator)
Former SCC Justice M. Rothstein, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Vancouver
Matthew Williams, Thorsteinssons LLP,Toronto
Perry Derksen, General Counsel, Department of Justice Canada, BC Regional Office

10:40 AM -
10:50 AM
Question period
10:50 AM -
11:10 AM

11:10 AM - 
12:10 PM
How the Government Has Dealt with the GAAR
  • CRA
    • the GAAR Committee
    • application of the GAAR by Audit, Rulings, and Aggressive Tax Planning
  • Justice
    • the role of Justice with respect to the GAAR
    • how GAAR cases are litigated
  • Finance
    • the role of Finance with respect to the GAAR
    • amending the GAAR

Wayne Adams, Canadian Tax Foundation, Ottawa (Active Moderator)
Brian Ernewein, Department of Finance, Ottawa
Natalie Goulard, Department of Justice, Montreal
Suzanne Saydeh, Canada Revenue Agency, Ottawa

12:10 PM -
12:15 PM
Question period
12:15 PM -
1:15 PM
1:15 PM - 
2:15 PM
How Taxpayers and Tax Professionals Have Dealt with the GAAR

  • tax planning to avoid the application of the GAAR

  • GAAR opinions

  • has the GAAR had any effect as a deterrent?

Learn more about this topic

Carrie Smit, Goodmans LLP, Toronto (Active Moderator)
Doug Powrie, Tech Resources Ltd., Vancouver
Angelo Nikolakakis, EY Law LLP, Montreal
Mark Meredith, KPMG Law LLP, Vancouver

2:15 PM - 
2:20 PM
Question period 
2:20 PM - 
3:20 PM
Thoughts on the GAAR after 30 Years 

  • overall evaluation of the GAAR
    • was the GAAR necessary?
    • has the GAAR been successful in countering abusive tax avoidance?

  • what major deficiencies exist
    • with the wording of the GAAR?
    • with the case law involving the GAAR?
    • with the application of the GAAR?

Shawn Porter, Deloitte LLP, Toronto (Active Moderator)
Brian Arnold, Canadian Tax Foundation, London
Al Meghji, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto
Gabrielle Richards, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto

3:20 PM-
3:25 PM
Question period
3:25 PM -
3:45 PM

3:45 PM -
4:30 PM
Predictions for the GAAR: The Next 30 Years

What statutory amendments to the GAAR should be made to correct the deficiencies identified in the previous session?

  • predicting the future of the GAAR (based on the past 30 years)

Mark Brender, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Montreal (Active Moderator)
Julie D'Avignon, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Calgary
Alex MacLean, Canada Revenue Agency, Ottawa
Justine Malone, Department of Justice, Ottawa

4:30 PM - 
4:35 PM 
Question period 
4:35 PM Adjournment


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11:10 AM -
12:10 PM

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