Canadian Contractor

I'm currently in a battle with (Quebec's) CSST over autonomous vs hourly labour… The investigator's quota is set. This in other circles would be called exortion.

Sean Keane, suing Ontario's WSIB for $6-million for an allegedly punitive audit that cost him his firm, will have noted that a Quebec-based firm has successfully sued Quebec's tax authorities for a similar amount for their own "abusive" audit.

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February 21, 2014 by Steve Payne

Editor’s Note:

We’ve had a lot of posts about our recent coverage on Ontario drywall contractor Sean Keane, who is suing Ontario’s WSIB for $6-million, for allegedly running a punitive audit on his firm, Keyon Drywall, with the “clear and cogent” intent to put Keyon out of business. (Keane did in fact close the firm down.)

Some posters on this site feel that Keane’s lawsuit faces long odds. But Keane himself has posted here, in essence, “Just Watch Me.” He feels he has an extremely well-documented, well-researched case. It will go back to court this fall.

Keane has lots of support, however, among our readership. Including a construction company manager in Quebec (we will keep the firm anonymous at this point) who emailed me a clipping from an accountancy trade publication (The Bottom Line, December 2013) with the headline “Revenu Quebec slammed for ‘abusive audit.’

In this case in Quebec Superior Court at the end of last year, The Bottom Line reported that Justice Steve Reimnitz found Revenu Quebec guilty of abusing its powers in its audit of Groupe Emico Inc., an industrial robotics firm. Enico’s founder, Jean-Yves Archambault, who had been forced to close down his once-lucrative firm, was awarded almost $6-million in damages. 

The Bottom Line reported that the judge ruled that Revenue Quebec acted maliciously and in bad faith in the way it handled Enico’s tax file. The judge also found that the auditor in the case may have been motivated by a bonus system. “If one compensates a civil servant for the amounts that he recuperates, it will incite him to recover more, with the risk that it can bias his judgment when doing his auditing work. His interest is evident.” 

This quota system was brought up by my correspondent at the Quebec construction firm, who said the following:

“I’m current in a battle with CSST over autonomous versus hourly labour.” (For those not familiar with CSST, it is Quebec’s workplace health and safety board, similar to Ontario’s WSIB.) “I’ve been advised to approximate the hours their investigator will spend on my file, multiply by $250 and negotiate in that range. Apparently, the CSST calculates $250 an hour as a reasonable return on time investigated and (with that figure) the investigator’s quota is set. This in other circles would be called extortion.”

Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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1 Comment » for I'm currently in a battle with (Quebec's) CSST over autonomous vs hourly labour… The investigator's quota is set. This in other circles would be called exortion.
  1. Is it any wonder why people don’t want to get into the trades? After you put in all the hard work of learning a trade, some parasitic bureaucrat comes along with a list of idiotic laws and regulations designed to suck the life out of any one interested in actually PRODUCING anything of value!
    I for one will train or employ no one until this shit show is sorted out.
    Sorry, generation Y maybe someone in Alberta can afford to hire you.