Coat of Arms

Symbolism of the Heraldic Emblems of the Tax Court of Canada

Coat of Arms

Arms: Purple, the emblematic colour of the Tax Court of Canada, adorns the sashes of its judges’ robes. The chequered pattern alludes to the Court’s predecessor, the Exchequer Court of Canada, whose name derives from the chequered cloth used in medieval times to record monies demanded and received. The double scale of justice represents the two legal traditions of Canada—common law and civil law—as well as fairness in the judicial process. The maple leaves symbolize Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories, and by extension the Court’s accessibility, the fact that it is an itinerant court and that it reaches every part of the country.

Crest: The two maple tree branches represent Canada and its Constitution, described by Lord Sankey in Edwards v. Canada as a living tree able to adapt to ever-changing times. The crown, a symbol of authority, is composed of snowflakes, recalling the Queen’s Snowflake Diadem, a reference to Canada being a northern realm.

Motto: These Latin words mean “Accessibility, independence, impartiality.” They underline the ability of the Tax Court to travel across the country to hear cases directly from taxpayers, in addition to providing an accessible appeal process with straightforward rules and procedures. The words also recall the principle of fairness and equality of rights, and they emphasize the principle of judicial independence.

Supporters: These unique heraldic creatures represent the reach of the Tax Court to all parts of Canada by land and air. They combine the majesty of the lion, king of land animals, and the swiftness of the eagle, king of birds, thus merging the strength, vigilance and insight of both. The ram’s horns symbolize determination and leadership. The creatures, one female and one male, symbolize gender equality. The books embody knowledge, wisdom and the fact-driven decisions that the Court renders.

Original concept of the Tax Court of Canada, assisted by the heralds of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Painter: David Farrar

Calligrapher: Doris Wionzek

Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, Volume VIII, page 30, 15 October 2021.