Bouchard, Marcotte, Cotnam
Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court allowing in part an application for declinatory exception and to dismiss and an application for authorization to institute a class action. Allowed.
The appellant faults the respondents for misleading billing practices and claims compensatory and punitive damages. The trial judge found that the compensatory aspect of the proposed class action was actually an action seeking a refund of sales tax, which in his view fell under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tax Court of Canada and the Court of Quebec.
The judge committed a reviewable error. It is true that the appellant insists in her proceeding on the erroneous collection of taxes by the respondents. Her cause of action can nevertheless be distinguished from a simple application for a tax refund because it is based on an alleged violation of the Consumer Protection Act (CQLR, c. P-40.1), and specifically s. 227.1 thereof, which governs false or misleading representations concerning taxes payable under tax statutes. In such a context, the litigation is not covered by the wording of the provisions setting out the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tax Court of Canada and the Court of Quebec. The Superior Court therefore retains jurisdiction to hear the matter. The fact that it might be asked to interpret the Excise Tax Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. E-15) or the Act respecting the Québec sales tax (CQLR, c. T-0.1) changes nothing.
*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca