Santa Claus lives and pays taxes in Canada, government affirms

Published Dec. 12, 2018 11:41 a.m. ET
Updated Nov. 6, 2019 11:02 a.m. ET

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Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to spectators in this undated file photo. (AP)

This article was originally published on Dec. 24, 2018

OTTAWA -- He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. No, it's not the head of the country’s spy agency, but another all-knowing Canadian: Santa Claus.

That’s right, according to various government departments and agencies, Good Ol' Saint Nicholas is a Canadian citizen who lives, and pays taxes here.

"As is the longstanding view of the Canadian government and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, Santa and Mrs. Claus are Canadian citizens and reside in the North Pole," a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen said in an email to

The minister's office would not confirm whether or not the Clauses have the papers to prove it, citing privacy reasons.

Spokesperson Mathieu Genest said that the couple are always dressed in patriotic colours and that the Clauses "embody the compassionate, giving spirit of what it means to be Canadian."

The Canada Revenue Agency also says it has a trove of tax records on the notable couple from Canada’s North.

"The confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act prevent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) from commenting on specific cases… However, on special exception, and with the kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. Claus (henceforth known as 'the Taxpayers'), the CRA has been permitted to share some confidential filing information," CRA spokesperson Michael Hanlon told in an emailed statement.

The CRA said the Clauses do benefit from the Northern Residents Deduction, meaning they've had to live in Northern Canada for more than six consecutive months.

"We are pleased to report that the Taxpayers have filed Canadian income tax returns on time every year since… well since as far back as CRA records go," Hanlon said.

Apparently the Clauses' filings have raised eyebrows at Canada's tax centre on a few occasions, including that they pay their employees in "holiday cheer"; have accepted payments in "cookies and carrots"; and have expensed a considerable amount for single-day travel and list-making materials.

The CRA also divulged that Santa Claus has teamed up with the tax agency to insure that all CRA email and phone scammers have been put on the 2018 naughty list.

Canada Post said it wouldn't speak for whether or not Mr. Claus is Canadian, but his address is. "We can assume that when Santa flies home after his night of work, he's flying home to his Canadian address in the North Pole" a Canada Post media relations spokesperson said in an email.

And of course, Canada is part of the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command, otherwise known as NORAD, which for decades has been tracking Santa's Christmas Eve journey across the globe.

"The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to protect Canada and the United States," said Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander NORAD and U.S. Northern Command in a statement announcing the kickoff of the 2018 tracking program.

Last Thursday, Transport Canada announced that Minister Marc Garneau has cleared Santa for take-off for tonight's round-the-world journey, which will also see Mrs. Claus co-pilot this year.

"While reviewing this year’s pre-flight checklist with Mrs. Claus, Minister Garneau stressed how important it is for her, Santa and the reindeer to get adequate rest and to avoid consuming alcohol or drugs to ensure that everyone is #FitToFly on this very important mission," the statement said.

More to it than saying Santa is Canadian

There is more to the lighthearted-though-largely-unsubstantiated assertions that Santa Claus is Canadian. The land where his workshop is said to be—the North Pole—is a hotly contested geographical zone, key to Canada's Arctic sovereignty and facing challenges from other nations.

It is 817 kilometres north of Alert, Nunavut—the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world— where there's a Canadian Armed Forces post as well as an Environment Canada station.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's office did not respond to's request for his input on Santa's citizenship status, though past Conservatives have been ardent in their assertion that Santa Claus is Canadian.

In 2013, then-citizenship minister Chris Alexander issued Santa Claus a Canadian passport. In the same year, then-Tory MP Paul Calandra implored the Liberal party to help the government "keep Santa Claus Canadian."

That Conservative-gifted passport came shortly after the federal government announced it would be making a claim to the UN for the North Pole, and more broadly the continental shelf in the Arctic.

The current Liberal government has planned to boost Canada's Arctic presence and operations, and Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc has been mandated to develop a new Arctic policy alongside Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett. The consultation period on this policy ended earlier this year. As part of the consultation period, the federal government held roundtables and discussions with Indigenous communities, residents, and regional governments on this new policy. It is unclear whether or not Santa Claus was consulted as part of this work.

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