The provincial government’s Taxpayers’ Fairness (CPR) Act came into effect on Friday. The bill had passed through the legislature in the spring with unanimous support.
The act is intended to supplement two other recent pieces of legislation that affect taxation for railways in Saskatchewan. The first was the Constitution Amendment (Saskatchewan Act), 2022, which was passed by the province, the House of Commons and the Senate. Provisions of the Budget Implementation Act were passed by Parliament in June.
“We always want to ensure that the people of Saskatchewan receive their fair share from companies doing business in our province,” Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. “The argument that any company is exempt from taxation is unfair to taxpayers and other businesses that operate here.”
CP Rail is currently suing the government of Saskatchewan over taxes paid since 2002. The rail line argues that a clause in a contract in 1880 between CPR and the federal government made them exempt from taxation. They are trying to recoup $341 million in taxes paid.
The act that took effect Friday states any taxes imposed on, collected from or paid by the CPR company are conclusively deemed to have been validly imposed, collected or paid for all purposes.
Similar lawsuits have been brought up against the Alberta, Manitoba and federal governments. The lawsuit against the Government of Canada was dismissed by the Federal Court in September. The lawsuits against Alberta and Manitoba have not gone to trial yet.