Canada: Do Any Canadian Laws Need To Be Changed As A Result Of The Brexit Decision?

Last Updated: June 28 2016
Article by Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

On June 23, 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union. On June 24, 2016, the World woke up to change on the horizon. Sometime in the next two years, countries with legislation or regulations specifically naming the "European Union" will need to amend the legislation to refer to Britain separately from the European Union. This got me thinking about which Canadian laws will need to be changed. There are a few.

The obvious first place to look is tax legislation and income tax treaties. Good news, Canada does not have a tax treaty with the European Union. There is the Convention between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Canada-United Kingdom Protocol (2003) and the Canada-United Kingdom Protocol (2014). So, changes will not be required to these agreements unless Scotland or Ireland hold referendums to leave the United Kingdom.

Subsection 261(1) of the Income Tax Act refers to "the currency of the European Monetary Union" as a "qualifying currency". This will not need to be changed because the Great Britain Pound was never abandoned for the Euro.

Paragraph 8(d) of the Bank of Canada Act states that "[t]he Bank may ... buy and sell securities issued or guaranteed by the Government of the United States of America or Japan or the government of a country in the European Union...". This law will need to be amended. Changes to a statute must be tabled in the Canadian Parliament.

The Schedule to the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act refers to the "European Union". Section 2 of the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act provides that the Minister may, by order, amend the schedule by adding the name of a state, international organization of states or dependent territory of a state, or a customs territory, that participates in the Kimberley Process or by deleting the name of an entity that ceases to participate in that Process.

Subsection 10(1) of the Protection of Passenger Information Regulations refers to the European Union and decision adopted by the European Commission pursuant to Article 25(6) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995. As a result, this regulation will need to be amended. Since we are talking about a regulation, the Governor-in-Council may make the necessary amendments at the right time without tabling legislation in the Canadian Parliament.

Section 2 of the Designation of Countries (Standards Council of Canada) Order designates "any country that is a members state of the European Union" or the purposes of paragraph 4(2)(d) of the Standards Council of Canada Act. As a result, this Order in Council will need to be amended. Since we are talking about an Order, the Governor-in-Council may make the necessary amendments at the right time without tabling legislation in the Canadian Parliament.

The definition of "domestic requirements" in section 1 of the Protection for the Income of Milk Producers Regulations (1996) refers to the "European Union". As a result, this regulation will need to be amended. Since we are talking about a regulation, the Governor-in-Council may make the necessary amendments at the right time without tabling legislation in the Canadian Parliament.

Schedule IV of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Regulations refers to the "European Union". Schedule IV identifies countries whose flag flown by a vessel is subject to section 5.2 of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Regulations. As a result, this regulation will need to be amended. Since we are talking about a regulation, the Governor-in-Council may make the necessary amendments at the right time without tabling legislation in the Canadian Parliament.

In addition, it may be necessary to change the World Trade Agreement Implementation Act when changes are made to the WTO.

Based on the foregoing list of required amendments, it may be concluded that the June 23, 2016 Brexit decision will not have Canadian bureaucrats working long hours changing legislation. A few changes are required – but nothing extraordinary.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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