As you may have seen, Fiera Foods has been mentioned in a recent podcast regarding a tax-related story that presents several misleading allegations related to a dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency. The podcast, which has affiliation with CityNews, does not do original reporting and fact checking, nor does it claim to do so. Rather, it relies on individuals to tell their stories.
We are disappointed that an individual reporter was given a platform to cast misleading inferences and inaccurately comment on our company’s legal proceedings with the CRA. We wish to assure our customers that we are and have been fully compliant with the law and are confident that this will be reinforced in court. In keeping with our commitment to transparency, please find Fiera Foods’ statement below:
Fiera Foods is confident that it complied with all applicable tax laws and regulations and that the company was entitled to the input tax credits in question. Our payments to the 13 agencies were appropriate for work that was completed and Fiera Foods has always cooperated with the Canada Revenue Agency in its review of this matter. In fact, the Canada Revenue Agency thanked Fiera Foods for its cooperation and confirmed that it was not the subject of a criminal investigation.
Further, it is incorrect to suggest that input tax credits (ITCs) are a financial windfall for Fiera Foods and are somehow an incentive for Fiera Foods to use agencies. HST is payable on the supply of temporary labour, and all of the agencies were HST registrants. As such, Fiera was legally obligated to pay the HST on the invoices, which it did. On making this payment, Fiera is entitled to claim an ITC equal to the amount of the HST it paid. In the court case Fiera is only asking to receive the ITCs to which it is entitled, for HST amounts that it paid. The agencies failed to remit the HST to the CRA as required by law. That is irrelevant to whether Fiera is entitled to the ITCs, as there is no evidence, nor was it alleged by the Crown, that Fiera benefited in any way from the agencies’ failure to remit, or even knew about it.
Over the past decade, we have taken important steps to strengthen accountability for all our temporary placement agency partners, with rigorous oversight that includes routine audits and documentation reviews. It is our expectation that our partner agencies live up to their respective legal and contractual obligations and we take steps as part of our work together to ensure this is the case. At Fiera Foods, we continue to welcome third-party audits of our HR, health and safety and general working conditions and conduct regular team member surveys. We also continue to report to and receive advice from our Advisory Committee chaired by David Young, former Attorney General of Ontario and which includes Linda Jeffrey, former Ontario Minister of Labour.
We know that every member of our team, whether temporary or permanent, deserves equitable wages and safe working conditions. This is a commitment we make to them, and one we keep. We have taken steps to build our team and provide valuable growth opportunities, including transitioning over 300 temporary workers to full-time positions.
We remain extremely confident in the merits of our legal case, and we are proud of the learnings and evolution Fiera Foods has had to be a better company.