Legistics
Formula Descriptions

Background

It is important to remember that, when referring to formulas and the description of formula elements in a legislative text, the English and French versions reflect different conceptual approaches.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the wording set out below be retained in the English version, rather than trying to reflect the different French wording and approach.

Examples

Consider the following provision:

19. The monthly amount of the earnings loss benefit under section 18 that is payable to a veteran is to be determined in accordance with the formula

A – B

where

  • is 75% of the veteran’s imputed income for a month; and
  • is an amount that is payable to the veteran for that month from prescribed sources.

The English version, when referring to the portion of text that describes how to calculate the amount or value of a formula element, would use the wording "the description of B in section 19".  (The French version would use the wording "l'élément B de la formule figurant à l’article 19".)  The English version does not treat the descriptions as integral to the formula itself and rarely, if ever, refers to "elements" or "variables".

For example:

(a) no amount may be deducted under subsection 118(1) because of paragraphs (a) and (b) of the description of B in that subsection by an individual in a taxation year for more than one other person;

Also, when referring to determined amounts or values, the English version uses the wording "the amount (or value) determined for B".

For example:

(a) the amount determined for E in the definition "cumulative eligible capital" in subsection (5) in respect of the disposition of the property by the transferor;

Conclusion

It is recommended that legislative counsel use the wording above when drafting the English version of legislative texts.  The differences in conceptual approach and wording in the English and French versions are not to be regarded as discrepancies.  They are used consistently throughout the legislative corpus.

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