HOW DO YOU CALCULATE INCOME WHEN YOU EMPLOYER GIVES YOU THINGS BESIDES MONEY?
The Honourable Justice Shaw dealt with this issue in McMillan v. McMillan, 2013 ONSC 5144. In that case, the Husband worked in a remote camp in Nunavut on a two week on-two week off work schedule. His lodging and food were supplied to him. He calculated that the company’s food and lodging was a taxable benefit worth $32,845.00. The Wife wanted this amount added to the Husband’s wages of $99,297.55 when calculating the amount of the Husband’s spousal support payments to the Wife. The Husband argued that paying the increased amount would make his disposable income (money in the bank) substantially less than that of the Wife.
Justice Shaw decided that the taxable non-monetary benefits should not be included in calculating the Husband’s income. Justice Shaw felt that these benefits (room and lodging) were necessary if the Husband was to earn his wage. Justice Shaw distinguished these necessary expenses “perks” such as a company car.
Justice Shaw made it clear that this was a decision on an interim or temporary order. The trial judge could overturn his decision.
This decision makes sense, because the purpose of spousal support is to prevent one of the party’s lifestyles to diminish dramatically. Room and board in Nunavut do not improve the Husband’s lifestyle, and therefore should be irrelevant. But what if the claim was child support? The purpose of child support is different. Would this analysis still apply?