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P.E.I. potato farmers sue federal government over release of tax information

A Prince Edward Island farm household is suing the federal authorities over how their earnings tax data had been dealt with.

Alex Docherty and his son Logan Docherty, in addition to their Elmwood firm Skye View Farms, had been the topic of an environmental investigation after a 2016 fish kill in Clyde River.

It took years, however they gained their case in courtroom, with judges ruling of their favour thrice alongside the best way.

Now, the household has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court docket alleging that workers performing for the federal authorities broke the regulation in relation to the dealing with of their private and company tax info.

Named within the go well with are the Legal professional Normal of Canada, the Canada Income Company, and New Brunswick-based Surroundings Canada enforcement officer Fernand Comeau. 

“The CRA has a privateness assertion on its web site,” Alex Docherty mentioned in a information launch saying the lawsuit. “It tells us to belief them, that they’ll preserve our info safe, that we’ve got a proper to confidentiality. 

Greater than 300 useless fish had been collected from the Clyde River after the July 2016 rainstorm, which dumped about 70 millimetres of rain on the Docherty farm within the area of some hours. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

“I feel that is a lie. It seems they hand over our info to authorities workers from different departments once they need to understand how a lot we receives a commission — and that is simply unsuitable.” 

2016 rainstorm began course of

Two years after a torrential rain in July 2016, the Dochertys had been charged with regulatory infractions below part 40(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act. 

Farm chemical compounds that they had utilized to their potatoes on a dry day three days earlier than the extraordinary rainstorm, recognized within the prices as “a deleterious substance,” had washed into close by Clyde River, resulting in the loss of life of about 300 fish. 

Individually, Alex Docherty was fined by the province in 2017 for having allowed his pesticide sprayer’s licence to run out.

Alex Docherty and spouse, Valerie Docherty, exterior courtroom in Charlottetown after the farmer was acquitted on a Fisheries Act cost in July 2019. The choose dominated fisheries officers did not get a search warrant earlier than they went on his property after a fish kill on the Clyde River in the summertime of 2016. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Federal Court docket seeks $450,000 in damages.

It says an worker for the Canada Income Company shared three years of non-public tax data for Alex and Logan Docherty, in addition to three years of company data for his or her farm, with Comeau.

The lawsuit says the Surroundings and Local weather Change Canada enforcement officer needed the data in order that the federal authorities would understand how large a wonderful to ask for, if it had been to win the case.

Nonetheless, Canadian regulation prohibits sharing taxpayer info besides within the case of legal investigations.

The lawsuit factors out that the infractions below the Fisheries Act had been regulatory, not legal — one thing legal professionals for the federal authorities had themselves identified in the course of the earlier courtroom proceedings.

It has been an eventful 12 months for Skye View Farms. Right here, Alex Docherty appears to be like at considered one of his farm buildings that was destroyed by post-tropical storm Fiona. Early within the 12 months, the Dochertys needed to destroy truckloads of seed potatoes due to a unbroken export ban because of potato wart. (Laura Meader/CBC)

“Whereas arguing the enchantment, counsel for the Legal professional Normal of Canada argued that the Fisheries Act prices had been regulatory in nature and had been to not be handled akin to a legal continuing whereas responding to the plaintiffs’ Constitution arguments, which had been initially efficiently argued at trial.”

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