A Federal Court of Appeal decision in which an application from eBay Canada Ltd. to prohibit the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) from garnering access to the records of their top online sellers housed on servers outside of Canada was dismissed is crucial for anyone maintaining records of Canadian activity to be knowledgeable about, says Beverly Gilbert, National Leader of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Commodity Tax Group.

'Anyone who is keeping records of Canadian activity needs to be very aware of the case,' says Gilbert. 'They could very well be the next target of the CRA. If you give the CRA this power, they will take advantage of it.'

This decision provides the CRA with powerful advantages including the ability to access information stored on servers outside of Canada. 'The fact that the server was sitting outside Canada at first glance would seem to make it foreign-based,' says Gilbert. 'Generally, where the server has been located has been a big part of who owns the information. This case throws that out.'

And this dismissal may prompt other types of businesses to think about the manners in which they store information. 'If they give permission to access that information, it will be available to others.'