Friday, October 08, 2021

Canadian Court Says Tai Chi Institute Is A Religious Institution

In Fung Loy Kok Taoism Institute v. City of Montreal, (Quebec Super. Ct., Sept. 20, 2021), a Canadian trial court in Quebec held that a Taoist Tai chi Institute is entitled to an exemption from property, municipal and school taxes. The court's 50-page opinion includes a lengthy discussion of what constitutes a "religion". Summarizing its ultimate conclusion on the tax issues, the court says in part:

These ... requests ... raise two major questions: what is a religion? What is a religious institution?....

... [S]hould Taoist Tai chi , as practiced, taught and disseminated in Canada by the Chinese monk Moy Lin-Shin ("master Moy"), be regarded as a religion in its own right rather than for proper gymnastics to promote internal balance and health?

... The Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism ... which offers classes or sessions of tai chi for a monetary contribution from the participants, does it qualify as a religious institution within the meaning of the law allowing it to benefit in Quebec from an exemption from property taxes? ...

At the end of its analysis, the Tribunal comes to the conclusion that both the first and the second of these two questions must be answered in the affirmative.

Windsor Star reports on the decision.