In MNR v. RBC Life Insurance Company, 2013 FCA 50, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) confirmed that it has the inherent power to prevent an abuse of the court process – including and perhaps especially by government agencies.  This inherent power includes an overriding discretion in either the grant of, or the review of, any order that authorizes the Minister of National Revenue (Minister) to require a person to provide information relating to unnamed third parties (s. 231.2(3) and s. 231.2(6)).  In this particular case, the FCA affirmed the lower court’s decision that the Minister failed to disclose all relevant information to the court when the Minister initially sought and obtained an order requiring RBC Life Insurance Company (and others) to produce information relating to customers who had purchased a tax-advantaged insurance product.  The relevant information (produced in a review of the original order) showed that the Minister’s primary goal was in fact to “chill” the particular tax-related insurance business, which the Minister disliked on policy grounds.  Verifying compliance with the Income Tax Act was merely a secondary or subservient purpose.  As a result, the audit authorization was improperly obtained and therefore invalid.  The FCA’s decision means that the bar is now set very high for the Minister to tell the whole story when seeking an ex parte order under s. 231.2(3).