Irvin Leroux’s two-decade long, multi-million dollar battle with the Canada Revenue Agency came to an end in B.C. Supreme Court today. Both sides have reached a deal, as the 72-year-old Leroux has agreed to pay $10 towards the CRA’s legal fees.
“I can honestly say I’m pleased that it’s over, but I’m disappointed at the results,” said Leroux.
Leroux’s story goes back almost 20 years, when the Prince George businessman was audited by the CRA in 1996. The government concluded he owed $1 million, but Leroux said he did nothing wrong, and that he wasn’t paying.
“They took out a writ to seize and sell all my assets,” he said when Global News first reported on Leroux years ago.
WATCH: 16×9 profiled Leroux and his case in 2012
“You can go through the system, but they’ll bury you, they’ll eat you alive. The average taxpayer does not have the funds to fight,” said Leroux.
Even though Leroux was unsuccessful in getting the CRA to pay him millions in financial losses, he is hailed as a bit of Canadian hero.
“Mr. Leroux has blazed a trail for us when it comes to what the CRA owes every taxpayer that they audit, that they work with. To him, we owe him a debt of gratitude,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Gratitude because in 2014, a judge ruled the CRA was essentially negligent and owed Leroux a duty of care, even though the court ruled against awarding him money for his losses.
“This court case is of particular importance because it gives the public a tool to hold the government to account for that kind of behaviour,” said Terry Gill, a tax lawyer.
Today, after two years of Leroux fighting that 2014 case, the Supreme Court made their final ruling.
The CRA did not return calls from Global News. As for Leroux, he walks away from this fight broke – but not broken.
“Never in the history of Revenue Canada have they been held to a duty of care where they have to get it right, that’s huge. Before they’d just run amok. They can’t do that anymore,” he said.
“I think what it shows is the little man can still make a difference.”
– With files from Rumina Daya