An Ottawa-area father who raised two children on his own for
eight years claims the Canada Revenue Agency stripped him of child tax benefits
after he moved in with a common-law spouse.
Yannick Cloutier says Revenue Canada stripped him of child bene fits after he moved in with his common-law spouse. (CBC)
Yannick Cloutier said he received a letter from the federal
agency recently advising him that the benefits would be transferred to his
common-law spouse — two years after she moved in with him.
The agency ruled that under the so-called "female presumption
rule", the benefits must now go to his girlfriend, despite the fact she has no
biological connection to Clouthier's son and daughter, and did not raise them.
His partner, Chantal Huot, was given 30 days to reply to the
letter. If she failed to reply within the time limit, the benefits would be
Cloutier said the rule is based on sexist assumptions about
the family that have no connection to m odern reality.
"I don't know why the government would think today now
there's a woman that my rights are gone," he said. "I told them I didn't realize
I called the 1950s."
Huot said she filed the necessary paperwork in time.
But both Cloutier and Huot said the rules must change to take
present-day situations into account.
"I think it's wrong. I think the parent should be getting it
whether you're a woman or a man," Huot said.
"Not everybody's like me…Anybody could just go for it and say
'yeah I want the money'. It's not right. Nobody should get this letter."
Revenue Canada declined to be interviewed. However, it did
say that this gender rule has gone before the courts and the Canadian Human
Rights Commission in the pa st, and the policy upheld.