In it, they accuse
Under the terms of the legislation that took effect last month, banks must share all personal and joint account details of anyone deemed to be a "U.S. person." This includes American citizens and people born in the U.S., even those with no existing ties to the country.
The U.S. claims that more than 77,000 financial institutions around the world have agreed to co-operate with the law.
Hillis and Deegan, both of whom were born in the U.S. but have lived in
"I don't believe that my rights as a Canadian citizen should be abrogated by my government," Hillis said in an interview from
Hillis, a retired lawyer who holds Canadian citizenship, said those who resist the new regulations could be branded as official tax cheats by the U.S. government.
Failure to comply with the laws, she said, could result in stiff financial penalties or even jail time.
A large number of Canadians are impacted by the law, she said, since FATCA's definition of a "U.S. person" is extremely broad and applies even to those who do not hold an American passport and have never worked in the country.
But Hillis also fears for Canadians who hold joint accounts with people targeted by FATCA.
Joint account details are also fair game for the
"It's the account information itself that would be relayed by CRA to the
Gruber said the lawsuit is arguing that the federal government has breached the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in three ways — by violating affected people's right to liberty and security, by failing to protect them from unreasonable search and seizure, and by discriminating against them on the grounds of their country of birth.
"There's a distinction drawn in the law between Canadian citizens who fall within this definition of a U.S. person and other Canadian citizens, in that the first class of people have this intrusion into their privacy ... and the other class will not," he said. "That differential treatment of Canadian citizens, we say, is discriminatory."
It's this last point that rankles with Hillis, who feels let down by the country she calls home.
"I'm shocked at
Under the law, foreign banks that don't agree to share information with the
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