The president of the Montreal Casino Croupiers Union last week advised its members not to necessarily declare all tips received.
On August 16, during a union meeting attended by several workers, Denis Galy made remarks that shocked some of his members.
His statements were recorded. The people who gave the recording to TVA Nouvelles did not want to be identified.
“What do you mean, you say what you want, we didn’t invent the four-hole button, the restaurant business has been doing this for moons, the bars have been doing this for moons, the valet has been doing this, poker has always been doing this since the beginning , it is your responsibility to declare what you want; If you think the 2% increase isn’t big enough, it’s up to you to double it,” Denis Galy said of tips.
Voices rise in the audio clip. The croupiers express their dissatisfaction with the words of their president.
“Our integrity is at stake, it’s like being asked to cheat the state,” croupiers told TVA Nouvelles over the phone.
“We say things in the general meeting that perhaps we shouldn’t have said. But no, we have no influence on that. They are told to report tips as required by law because they will lose 23% of their benefits and pension plan. That too was said at the AGM,” defended Jean-Pierre Proulx, union adviser to the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Denis Galy’s words don’t go through, both in the Ministry of Finance and in Loto-Québec.
“In Quebec, tips must be declared. Tips are taxable income. Québec tax laws must be applied fairly to all taxpayers, regardless of their area of activity. We cannot tolerate anyone who encourages tax avoidance,” said Catherine Robitaille, spokeswoman for Treasury Secretary Eric Girard.
Loto-Québec distances itself from the comments in the excerpt that reached TVA Nouvelles.
“The company requires its tipped employees to report all of their income in accordance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act. Periodic reminders will be sent out to let them know, as tipping is the responsibility of the employee,” said Renaud Dugas, spokesman for Loto-Québec.
“During recent negotiations with the Casino de Montréal croupiers, the union asked to manage the distribution of tips to its members, which the employer is required to accept under the Labor Standards Compliance Act. It’s their prerogative, because by law, the tip still belongs to those who rendered the service. The majority of Quebec casino employees have been using this method for several years. Tips for croupiers at Casino de Montréal have been distributed by the employer since 1999. We are also in the process of finalizing the final details of the agreement with the croupiers at Casino de Montréal, including work schedules,” Mr. Dugas continued.