TORONTO, March 22, 2023 – A recent decision by the Ontario Divisional Court represents significant progress towards increasingly equitable and fair taxation in Ontario municipalities. The decision comes after the Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario (TAPMO), with leadership from the County of Wellington, advocated for changes in how aggregate producing sites are taxed.
Aggregate producers in Ontario have benefitted from a property assessment approach that favourably classifies their land since 2008. These land classifications have resulted in lower tax rates for aggregate sites, sometimes resulting in active gravel pits incurring less property tax than single family homes.
The Ontario Divisional Court’s ruling will see the formula for assessments corrected. In turn, this will bring about fairer taxes and cost-of-living benefits for residents and strengthened public services by injecting proper resources back into communities equitably. The ruling is particularly timely as inflation and cost- of-living concerns rise across the province.
“We recognize the significant economic benefit that aggregate producers contribute to municipalities, and our goal in advocacy efforts has simply been to ensure fair taxation that is sensible and reflective of land use,” says Marcus Ryan, Warden of Oxford County and the Mayor of the Township of Zorra. “We’d like to thank the County of Wellington for their key role in achieving this successful outcome by leading assessment appeals and supporting advocacy efforts. We’re grateful for this result.”
In Ontario, lower property tax rates for one class of properties mean higher rates for other classes of properties. Residents and small businesses in aggregate producing municipalities have had higher property taxes due to how aggregate sites have been assessed. Ontario municipalities have also faced significant tax write-offs and losses as the land, and economic value of aggregate sites, haven’t been appropriately accounted for in tax dollars.
“One of the key principles to taxation in Canada is fairness, and it was that principle that guided us through the extensive appeals process,” says Ken DeHart, Treasurer with the County of Wellington. “This ruling will positively impact the 70 per cent of Ontario municipalities with at least one aggregate site. This decision will help infuse more resources into public services, establish fairer tax bases, and promote equitability in how we live and work in our communities.”
The County of Wellington led the effort to make various appeals to the Assessment Review Board (ARB) that challenged the property assessment formula used by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). The ARB ruled primarily in favour of the County of Wellington’s position, which the Ontario Divisional Court further upheld in early February 2023. That position is consistent with TAPMO’s advocacy efforts in this area.
The Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario (TAPMO) have joined to work with industry partners and provincial decision-makers to develop a sustainable plan for aggregate extraction in Ontario. Learn more at www.tapmo.ca.
Ken DeHart, Wellington County Treasurer T 519.837.2600 x 2920