Tax court ruling underlines grey areas of informal workplace

CRA investigation should have focused on employer: Judge
By Sarah Dobson
||Last Updated: 01/03/2008

The insurable earnings and hours of four orchard workers were the focus of a recent case in the Tax Court of Canada that demonstrates the importance of accurate record-keeping in informal workplaces.

In Jawanda v. R., four members of the Jawanda family (mother, father, son and daughter-in-law) appealed determinations by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of their insurable earnings and insurable hours under the Employment Insurance Act.

The Jawandas did seasonal work in 2000 and 2001, tending trees and picking fruit at Bains Orchards for $9 an hour. However, their employer paid them irregularly, by cheque, money order, bank draft or in cash. Bains also had “inadequate and inconsistent records” and was having difficulties with its own taxes for which collection action was being taken, so it often used cash for sales and expenses, including payroll.