MEDIA RELEASE: CRA loses $2-billion Cameco court case appeal, revealing fundamentally broken corporate tax system

Photo: In 2014, Saskatchewan Citizens for Tax Fairness erected this billboard in Saskatoon demanding Cameco pay its taxes. 

MEDIA RELEASE: CRA loses $2-billion Cameco court case appeal, revealing fundamentally broken corporate tax system

Governments, including Canada’s, can no longer afford not to reform tax rules that allow multinationals to use profit-shifting, tax havens to avoid taxes

For Immediate Release – June 27, 2020

OTTAWA – The Federal Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Saskatchewan mining giant Cameco Corp over a $2-billion tax bill strongly demonstrates once again that the federal government must urgently reform its laws to prevent this type of tax dodging through tax havens.

For decades, Cameco has shifted billions in profits to a tiny trading subsidiary in Switzerland while declaring little or no profits in Canada, and paying little or no corporate income tax. The Canada Revenue Agency reassessed Cameco for $2 billion in unpaid taxes and penalties, but has lost its cases at court three successive times.

“The Canadian government has more than 2 billion reasons why it’s time to reform our tax laws and support fundamental changes to international corporate tax rules that currently allow multinationals like Cameco to avoid paying their fair share at home,” said Toby Sanger, director of Canadians for Tax Fairness.

For many years, Canadians for Tax Fairness has campaigned for tax justice on this case, together with Saskatchewan Citizens for Tax Fairness and SumOfUs, delivering a 35,000-name petition to the Prime Minister’s office and to the Cameco executive offices.  

"It's a merry go round when the CRA tries to take on the corporate tax dodgers. Even though it conducts formal investigations, the corporate side is able to use the weak regulatory structure and process to  continue with impunity to funnel billions of dollars out of Canada," said Don Kossick, who led the Saskatchewan Citizens for Tax Justice campaign on Cameco

“The federal government loses over $8 billion annually through this type of corporate tax dodging and the Cameco case is just one glaring example of that,” Sanger said. “Even the former head of the IMF stated last year that the international corporate tax system was broken and in need of fundamental reform.”

Canadians for Tax Fairness has urged the federal government to stop international corporate tax dodging by reforming tax laws to treat multinational enterprises as unitary entities for tax purposes, apportioning the profits of multinational corporations between countries based on real economic factors, and strengthening rules to prevent other common forms of tax avoidance and evasion.  These types of reforms have recently been considered in international tax discussions taking place through the OECD, now in question because of the US pull-out. But there is no reason why Canada can’t introduce significant reforms on its own.

“This is money that could be spent on hospital beds, testing, research, prevention measures, and additional supports for Canadians who need it during this crisis. Our weak corporate tax laws have come back to bite us at a time when we are already incredibly vulnerable,” Sanger said.

Media contact:

Erika Beauchesne, Communications Coordinator, Canadians for Tax Fairness 613-315-8679

Canadians for Tax Fairness is a non-profit organization that advocates for progressive taxes to fund important public services, reduce inequality and strengthen the economy.