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Canada Looks At Rules Revamp

The Canadian government has set up an advisory panel to look at how the country's international tax rules can be used to improve fairness and competitiveness in the economy.

The Canadian government has set up an advisory panel to look at how the country's international tax rules can be used to improve fairness and competitiveness in the economy.

"Government has an important role to play in creating the right conditions for Canadians and Canadian businesses to invest and thrive," target="_blank" style="">said finance minister Jim Flaherty. "Lowering taxes is not enough. The tax system must also be fair, ensuring that tax considerations do not unduly influence business and investment decisions," he added.

Peter Godsoe, a director of companies such as Barrick Gold Corporation, Onex Corporation and Rogers Communications, will chair the panel.

The other members are Kevin Dancey, a former chief executive officer and senior partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Canada; James Love, the founding partner of Love & Whalen, a Toronto law firm; Guy Saint-Pierre, a former chairman of the Royal Bank of Canada; Cathy Williams, recently retired as chief financial officer of Shell in Canada and Finn Poschmann, research director of the CD Howe Institute, which carries out research into economic and social policy in Canada.

The panel's objectives are to:

• to improve the fairness, economic efficiency and competitiveness of Canada's system of international taxation;

• to minimise compliance costs for business and facilitate administration and enforcement by the Canada Revenue Agency; and

• to develop practical and readily-applicable changes, taking into account existing rules and tax treaties as well as fiscal implications.

Building on the significant policy changes for business taxation contained in this year's federal budget is another goal.

The business community will be encouraged to participate in the discussions via a series of roundtables.

The panel will submit its final report to the minister of finance by December 1 2008.

"Their [the panel's] task will be challenging," said Flaherty. "But I believe it will lead to a tax system that is internationally competitive, encourages further investment and strengthens the economy."