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When it comes to a Direct Selling Company’s legal relationship with its Distributors, Canadian direct sellers are treated differently from those in the US, where IRS deeming rules operate to clarify that Distributors are independent contractors and not employees!

In Canada, there is no such special status, and the “common law” determines employee vs. independent contractor (“IC”) status, making this a perennial compliance issue.

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The direct selling industry poses a number of unique challenges for Canadian sales tax regimes.  The patchwork of separate federal GST/HST and provincial PST/QST regimes only further complicate the matter, making it difficult for new entrants to the Canadian market to determine their collection, remittance, and reporting obligations.  This revised article from our 2023 primer provides a brief overview these optional sales tax rules.

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Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) has announced that the final iteration of its recent revamping of Canada’s import systems will arrive May 13, 2024.

Direct Sellers importing their products into Canada for further distribution or sale to their salesforce or customers (including with the assistance of a customs broker) – will be particularly concerned with these changes!

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Direct Sellers and the distributor and representative businesses that work closely with them should be no stranger to oversight and scrutiny from all levels of government, no matter where they operate.

The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) recently added one more headache for in-house Law Departments and other Compliance Professionals with Direct Selling Companies, issuing a warning exclaiming: “Watch out for tax schemes involving multilevel marketing businesses!” (the “Warning”).

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Quebec’s controversial Bill 96, officially titled “An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec” (“Act”), was passed in 2022. Bill 96 amends the Charter of the French Language (“Charter”) to try and ensure that French remains the predominant language in commercial activities within Quebec. Practically speaking, Bill 96 has made things extremely complicated for any English-based Canadian or US business trying to operate in Quebec, including both Canadian and US Direct Sellers.

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