Opinion Number. 1631


national health and pensions insurance supplementary opinion: national health and pensions insurance: law imposing taxation: requirement for separate Acts, one fixing contributions from employees and the other fixing contributions from employers

Key Legislation

Constitution s 55


Upon giving further consideration to this matter, I think that to be safe there should be separate Acts, one fixing the contributions from the employee, and the other fixing the contributions from the employers. In its judgment in the case Attorney-General for Canada v. Attorney-General for Ontario, 55 T.L.R. 332 at 334 reported also in 1937 A.C.(1) the Privy Council left open the question whether such legislation was or was not legislation imposing taxation, but the judgment appeared to draw some distinction between contributions from employees and contributions levied upon employers. As to contributions from employees the Privy Council said ‘it might seem difficult to discern how such contributions differ from a form of compulsory insurance or what the difference is between a statutory obligation to pay insurance premiums to the State or an Insurance Company’.(1) Nothing was said, however, as to the position of contributions by employers which might seem more clearly to be taxes. Therefore a position might arise that legislation for contributions from employees might not be legislation imposing taxation, whilst legislation for contributions from employers might be legislation imposing taxation. If this be so, then such legislation could not be included in the one Act for such inclusion would then offend against the first limb of section 55. To be safe therefore there should be two separate Acts, one for contributions from employees, and the other for contributions from employers.

[Vol. 31, p. 273A]

(1) [1937] AC 355.

(2) [1937] AC 355, 366 (Lord Atkin).