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Brockville, Ont. council asking province to resume property tax assessments

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City council in Brockville, Ont. is calling on the government of Ontario to resume property tax assessments, which have not been done since 2016.

“Charging the same property assessment as 2016 is just resulting in a very difficult time during our budget process,” said Brockville city councillor Katherine Hobbs.

Property assessments are carried out by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), which is responsible for assessing the value of all properties across Ontario. The corporation operates under regulations set by the Government of Ontario.

The assessments are carried out every four years, but were put on pause by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have not resumed and property owners are still being taxed based on the value of their property on Jan. 1, 2016.

“Now we are feeling the pinch because all of our services, all the rates have gone up,” Hobbs said. “We would like to see some movement and not be waiting another couple of years for any changes. Four years after, we feel it's time.”

The province takes care of both residential and commercial property assessments and then gives the information to the municipalities, who collect the tax money.

In some cases, that can leave small businesses handcuffed.

“It doesn't take into account how much money that business earned last year, how their employees are doing," said Gage Haudrich, a director with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. "And it doesn't take into account any sort of thing that measures the health of the business. It's just the assessment of that property value.”

The provincial government says it is conducting a review of its system, and will continue to defer property reassessment until it is complete.

"The government is conducting a review of the property assessment and taxation system with a focus on fairness, affordability and business competitiveness, as well as exploring modernized administration tools to support municipalities with ongoing assessment base management.

"In order to maintain stability for taxpayers, the province-wide property reassessment will continue to be deferred until this work is complete.

"This reassessment deferral does not have a financial impact on municipalities as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) continues to maintain the assessment roll and ensure it is regularly updated to reflect changes such as new construction. Reassessments do not increase the overall revenues of municipalities.

"The government is engaging with municipalities and a broad range of stakeholders as we work towards a more accurate and equitable property tax and assessment system for people and businesses."

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