2015 Ontario Budget
Chapter IV: A Fair and Sustainable Tax System

Introduction

Ontario’s tax reforms have positioned the province as one of the most attractive jurisdictions in the industrialized world for business investment. Tax reforms have also increased the progressivity of the Personal Income Tax (PIT) system and enhanced tax support for low- to moderate-income individuals and families.

Since 2009, the government has taken several steps to improve the fairness of the PIT system. The rate on the first bracket was cut from 6.05 per cent to 5.05 per cent, resulting in Ontario having the lowest provincial first bracket rate and nine out of 10 Ontario income tax payers receiving a tax cut.

To make the PIT system more progressive, Ontario increased PIT rates for people with higher incomes in 2012, 2013 and 2014. These combined changes affect only the top two per cent of Ontario tax filers.

The government has also enhanced tax credits for lower-income individuals and families, and introduced several targeted credits. Over $1.5 billion annually in additional relief is now provided through the Ontario Trillium Benefit compared to the 2009 Ontario Property and Sales Tax Credits. The Children’s Activity Tax Credit helps parents with the cost of enrolling their children in extracurricular activities; the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit helps with the cost of making seniors’ homes safer and more accessible; and the Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit provides tax relief to farmers who donate agricultural products to community food programs in Ontario, including food banks.

Since 2009, the government has reduced Ontario’s Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rates for large and small businesses, eliminated the Capital Tax, and moved to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). As a result, the marginal effective tax rate (METR) on new business investment in Ontario has been cut in half, placing it below the average METR of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, and well below the average METR in the United States.

Through these changes, Ontario has significantly improved its tax competitiveness and made the province a more attractive location for business investment. The government also partners with businesses to leverage private investment through programs such as the Jobs and Prosperity Fund and regional funds such as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Southwestern and Eastern Ontario Development Funds.

Ontario, like many other governments, is making difficult but strategic decisions to ensure that investments are effective, efficient and fiscally sustainable. This Budget announces measures to better target supports for business, including tax credits and grants, while ensuring that Ontario remains one of the most attractive and competitive locations for business investment.

Business Tax Supports

The government remains committed to supporting Ontario businesses through various tax credits and direct program spending. The recently announced Jobs and Prosperity Fund is one example of a program aimed at directly supporting businesses in Ontario.

The government is taking a balanced approach to ensure that support provided to Ontario businesses contributes to economic growth and job creation, and promotes investment in key industries.

Tax credits can be a valuable and effective tool to support economic growth. Over the last decade, enhancements to various tax credits made sense in the context of an economic downturn and a high Canadian dollar. For example, Ontario’s tax credits have played a key contributing role in the success of emerging industries such as digital media.

However, the government must continue to respond to the evolving conditions of today’s economy. Recent reviews of Ontario’s business support programs emphasized that support should be effective and fiscally sustainable.

“The level of support provided through tax credits may have made sense at a time when provincial tax rates were high and credits could help make Ontario more competitive for business investment. It makes less sense when Ontario’s tax system is already competitive for business investment because of major tax reforms.”

Don Drummond, Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, Public Services for Ontarians: A Path to Sustainability and Excellence, (2012), 313.

Between 2004–05 and 2014–15, refundable business tax credits have grown at an average annual rate of approximately 11 per cent, while overall program spending has grown at an average rate of 4.5 per cent per year.

As part of Ontario’s Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) process, the government proposes the following measures to ensure that supports provided to businesses are effective, efficient and sustainable. These supports will also continue to foster economic growth, job creation, and a dynamic and globally competitive business environment, while respecting taxpayers’ dollars.

Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit

The government has demonstrated a strong commitment to Ontario’s apprenticeship system by providing supports to employers, apprentices and training institutions. The renewal of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, as described in Chapter I, Section A: Investing in People’s Talents and Skills, includes $23 million over two years for the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund and $13 million over two years for pre-apprenticeship programs that help potential entrants develop their job skills and readiness to work as apprentices.

In addition, colleges and other training organizations funded by Ontario will receive an additional $19 million over three years to support equipment upgrades and more lab time during in-school apprenticeship sessions.

These investments deliver on the government’s priority of supporting apprenticeship training by building on the $164.5 million in grants and loans provided to the apprenticeship system in 2014–15.

The Province is also committed to finding smarter, better ways to deliver the best possible value for every dollar spent. Through the government’s PRRT process, the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC) was recognized as a program that could be made more effective.

The ATTC is a tax incentive available to businesses that hire and train apprentices. This credit was introduced in 2004 to encourage registrations in apprenticeship programs and is based on the salaries and wages paid to eligible apprentices in designated construction, industrial, motive power and certain service trades. The ATTC provides a 35 per cent refundable tax credit (45 per cent for small businesses) on salaries and wages paid during the first 48 months of an apprenticeship program, up to an annual limit of $10,000 per apprentice.

In 2009, as part of the strategy to support the recovery from the global economic crisis, the ATTC was enhanced to provide an additional incentive to employers to hire and train apprentices. However, this has resulted in very modest growth in annual apprenticeship registrations in trades eligible for the ATTC.

In addition, the overall completion rate of apprenticeships has remained at approximately 50 per cent. Completion of apprenticeship programs is important for developing a skilled workforce, as it contributes to labour force mobility, higher earnings and entrepreneurship. Apprentices who obtain certification have higher hourly wages than those who completed an apprenticeship but did not obtain certification.

The government proposes the following changes to the ATTC, effective for eligible expenditures related to apprentices who commenced an apprenticeship program after April 23, 2015:

  • Decreasing the general tax credit rate from 35 per cent to 25 per cent and the rate for small businesses with salaries or wages under $400,000 per year from 45 per cent to 30 per cent;
  • Decreasing the annual maximum per apprentice from $10,000 to $5,000; and
  • Reducing the eligibility period from the first 48 months of an apprenticeship program to the first 36 months of an apprenticeship program.

With these proposed changes, the ATTC would return to the level of support offered prior to the 2009 enhancements, and Ontario’s tax support for employers hiring and training apprentices would remain among the most generous in Canada.

The savings associated with these changes would be used to fund the Canada–Ontario Job Grant and a number of targeted initiatives that support youth employment through the renewal of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, as described in Chapter I, Section A: Investing in People’s Talents and Skills.

The Province will continue to review the ATTC to ensure it is encouraging businesses to help apprentices gain the certifications and skills they need to maximize their earnings, improve their labour market mobility, and contribute effectively to the economy. The Province will engage with stakeholders to ensure that employer support for apprenticeship training reflects the diverse needs of apprentices, employers, and other key employment and training partners.

Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

The Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) is a refundable tax credit available to qualifying corporations for expenditures related to the creation, marketing and distribution of eligible interactive digital media products.

The credit was introduced in 1998 with broad eligibility criteria to support an emerging industry. Since 2009, OIDMTC rates have increased from 30 per cent to 40 per cent for companies that develop their own products, and from 25 per cent to 35 per cent for companies that develop products under a fee-for-service contract. Ontario’s 40 per cent tax credit rate under the OIDMTC is higher than the credit rates offered by the Province’s key competitors.

In recent years, as interactive digital media products have become mainstream, tax support through the OIDMTC has grown at an unsustainable rate. Between 2003–04 and 2014–15, the OIDMTC is estimated to have grown by over 40 per cent annually. The broad eligibility criteria of the OIDMTC limit the ability of the credit to target innovative products. Ontario announced a review of the OIDMTC in the 2014 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. Further to this announcement, the government has held discussions with key industry stakeholders on ways to contain costs and modernize support to the industry.

The government proposes to amend the OIDMTC by focusing the credit on entertainment products and on educational products for children under the age of 12. Certain products would be specifically excluded, such as search engines, real estate databases, or news and public affairs. The government also proposes to strengthen the rule that excludes promotional products.

The changes would apply to expenditures incurred after April 23, 2015. However, products started before April 24, 2015, that would no longer be eligible for the credit would be eligible for relief in respect of expenditures incurred before April 24, 2015. Information about the proposed changes and examples of products that would be eligible for the credit will be provided in a bulletin.

The Province also proposes to improve the certification process by amending the requirement that all or substantially all (at least 90 per cent) of a product be developed in Ontario by the company claiming the credit. To provide certainty to applicants and reduce processing times for product certification, the requirement would be replaced by a rule based on the labour costs of the company developing the product. The proposed rule would require that 80 per cent of total labour costs for eligible products be attributable to qualifying wages and qualifying remuneration paid to individuals or corporations that carry on a personal services business. As well, 25 per cent of total labour costs for eligible products would be required to be attributable to qualifying wages of employees of the qualifying corporation. The new rule would apply to all products, including those awaiting certification. However, the new rule would not apply to products that were certified before April 24, 2015.

Ontario’s renewed investment in the Interactive Digital Media Fund, as described in Chapter 1, Section D: Creating an Innovative and Dynamic Business Environment, will help support some co-production opportunities and activities that would no longer be eligible for the OIDMTC.

Film and Television Tax Credits

Ontario provided significant support of approximately $335 million in 2014–15 to the film and television industry through the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC), the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC) and the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE). Ontario also provides support to the industry through a variety of grants including the Ontario Media Development Corporation Film Fund, Export Fund and Industry Development Program, as well as the Northern Business Opportunity Program provided by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. In addition, film productions are eligible to claim film tax credits and other assistance from the federal government.

A lower Canadian dollar is making Ontario an increasingly attractive location for productions and is increasing foreign investment in the film and television sector. Foreign productions have benefited significantly from the drop in the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar because their Ontario production costs are paid in Canadian dollars. For example, when the Canadian dollar fell by seven per cent to $0.94 US in December 2013, foreign production activity in Ontario rose by 35 per cent to $504 million in 2014 (from $373 million in 2013). As a result, there is a reduced need for government support of foreign productions.

Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC)

The OPSTC is currently a 25 per cent refundable tax credit available to qualifying corporations on eligible expenditures for Ontario labour, service contracts and tangible property in respect of eligible film and television productions. This credit is available to both foreign and domestic productions.

Ontario proposes to reduce the rate of this credit from 25 per cent to 21.5 per cent for qualifying production expenditures incurred after April 23, 2015. The OPSTC would remain competitive compared with other Canadian jurisdictions.

Ontario also proposes to amend the OPSTC to ensure the credit fosters employment opportunities for Ontarians. The following changes would be effective for taxation years that begin after April 23, 2015:

  • To ensure that salaries and wages paid to Ontario-based individuals for services provided in the Province represent more than a nominal amount of a corporation’s total eligible expenditures, a qualifying corporation’s Ontario labour expenditures (including labour under a service contract) would have to amount to at least 25 per cent of total expenditures.
  • Ontario also proposes to limit expenditures incurred by a qualifying corporation pursuant to contracts with non-arm’s-length parties to amounts that would have been eligible for the credit if the corporation had incurred the expenditures directly.

It is also proposed that the OPSTC be clarified to ensure that only expenditures incurred after the final script stage to the end of the post-production stage would be eligible for the credit. This amendment would apply to expenditures incurred after June 30, 2009.

Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE)

The OCASE is currently a 20 per cent refundable tax credit available to qualifying corporations on Ontario labour for eligible computer animation and special effects activities. Productions are allowed to combine the OCASE with the OFTTC or OPSTC. Ontario proposes to reduce the rate of the OCASE from 20 per cent to 18 per cent for expenditures incurred after April 23, 2015. After this rate reduction, the OCASE would remain competitive with other jurisdictions in Canada. In addition, to better target the credit, Ontario proposes to require that productions started after April 23, 2015, must also receive the OFTTC or the OPSTC in order to claim the OCASE.

The proposed changes to Ontario’s film and television tax credits strike a balance between cultural support and fiscal responsibility. Ontario will continue to attract production activity through a combination of world-class infrastructure, talent and skills, diverse locations, and stable and competitive financial incentives.

Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC)

The federal government has amended the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit to treat a government equity investment in a production in the same manner as other forms of assistance. Eligible expenditures under the tax credit are generally reduced by the amount of assistance received. The OFTTC would automatically parallel this federal change.

To encourage production activity in Ontario, the Province’s long-standing administrative position has been to not treat government equity investments as assistance for the purposes of the OFTTC. The government will file a regulation, effective after December 31, 2008, to enable this treatment to continue. This will benefit the industry by approximately $7 million in 2016–17.

Ontario Sound Recording Tax Credit

With the Ontario Music Fund (OMF) successfully in place and meeting the needs of Ontario’s music industry, the government is committing to the continuation of the fund at $15 million per year, while proposing to eliminate the Ontario Sound Recording Tax Credit (OSRTC). An expenditure incurred after April 23, 2015, will only qualify for the credit if the eligible sound recording was commenced before April 23, 2015, the expenditure was incurred before May 1, 2016, and an OMF grant is not received in respect of the expenditure.

The government will continue to work with its partners in the music industry to obtain the best return on investment from the OMF by supporting activities that contribute to a sustainable, expanding music sector.

Paralleling Federal Measures

Taxation of Trusts and Estates

Ontario proposes to change the way it taxes trusts, including estates, by paralleling the federal approach of applying the highest PIT rate to all trusts, with some exceptions, beginning in 2016. The federal approach will limit tax planning opportunities and improve tax fairness and neutrality.

As announced in the 2014 federal budget, all trusts, with certain exceptions, will pay the federal top marginal PIT rate of 29 per cent on all of their taxable income.

Graduated federal rates will continue to apply for the first 36 months of eligible estates (Graduated Rate Estates, or GREs) and to trusts created as a consequence of the death of an individual that have beneficiaries eligible for the federal Disability Tax Credit (Qualified Disability Trusts, or QDTs).

The Ontario government proposes that graduated Ontario rates and the Ontario surtax would continue to apply to GREs and QDTs taxable in Ontario. All other trusts (top-rate trusts) taxable in Ontario would pay the province’s top marginal PIT rate of 20.53 per cent on all of their taxable income.

The Ontario tax credit rate for charitable donations over $200 would be raised to 17.41 per cent for top-rate trusts. This higher rate is consistent with the maximum benefit of the credit for individuals who pay the Ontario surtax.

The government will introduce legislative amendments to implement these measures that, if passed, would take effect for taxation years ending after December 31, 2015.

Ontario Resource Tax Credit and the Additional Tax on Crown Royalties

The resource allowance in the Corporate Income Tax system, calculated as 25 per cent of adjusted resource profits, acts as a proxy for actual royalties and mining taxes paid to a province. It was introduced by the federal government in 1976, primarily to put a ceiling on deductions of then-increasing provincial royalties and mining taxes. The original policy rationale is no longer relevant as increased competition for exploration and development capital has pressured provinces to levy royalties and mining taxes at lower rates.

The federal resource allowance was fully eliminated in 2007 and replaced with a deduction for actual royalties and mining taxes paid. Ontario is now the only province that provides a resource allowance in lieu of a deduction for royalties and mining taxes. This is done through the Ontario Resource Tax Credit and the Additional Tax on Crown Royalties, which apply for taxation years ending after 2008.

The Province is proposing to harmonize with the federal government and other provinces by eliminating the Ontario Resource Tax Credit and the Additional Tax on Crown Royalties and providing a deduction for royalties and mining taxes paid, effective April 23, 2015. Elimination of the Ontario Resource Tax Credit and the Additional Tax on Crown Royalties would fulfil a recommendation by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services.

Accrued but unused Ontario Resource Tax Credit amounts would be eligible for carry-forward to offset Ontario income tax payable in the first five taxation years beginning after April 23, 2015.

Supporting Consolidation of the Electricity Distribution Sector

A modern and reliable electricity sector is an integral part of Ontario’s economy. It is important that local distribution companies have the capacity and resources to adopt modern technologies and deliver power in a reliable and cost-effective manner. Ontario remains committed to spurring consolidation and encouraging efficiencies in the electricity distribution sector.

In October 2009, the government announced a permanent exemption from the transfer tax on transfers of electricity assets within the public sector.

Municipal electricity utilities (MEUs) are subject to a transfer tax of 33 per cent on the fair market value of the electricity assets sold to the private sector, less any payments in lieu of taxes (PILs) or Ontario CIT paid up to the time of the transfer.

  • An MEU, as well as Hydro One Inc., Ontario Power Generation Inc. and their subsidiaries, that is exempt from regular federal and Ontario income tax must make PILs under the Electricity Act, 1998, to the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC), which help service and pay down the stranded debt of the electricity sector. Payments in lieu of taxes are equal to the federal and Ontario income tax the MEU would pay if it were a taxable corporation.
  • An MEU that ceases to be exempt from federal and Ontario income tax (in other words, when it is no longer 90 per cent owned by municipal shareholders and would no longer pay PILs to OEFC) is deemed to dispose of all of its assets for fair market value, with any tax gain arising on the deemed disposition being subject to PILs (the “PILs Deemed Disposition Rules”). Hydro One Inc., Ontario Power Generation Inc. and their subsidiaries are also subject to the PILs Deemed Disposition Rules.

The government recognizes that consolidation can improve efficiency and the capacity of MEUs to meet key priorities, including upgrading aging infrastructure, and that private capital can play an important role in facilitating consolidation. The Province is proposing additional time-limited relief on taxes pertaining to transfers of electricity assets for all MEUs, including transfers to the private sector, for the period beginning January 1, 2016, and ending December 31, 2018, by:

  • Reducing the transfer tax rate from 33 to 22 per cent;
  • Exempting MEUs with fewer than 30,000 customers from the transfer tax; and
  • Exempting capital gains arising under the PILs Deemed Disposition Rules.

The 2012 federal budget made a number of changes to section 100 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) with respect to the taxation of capital gains on the disposition of partnership interests to specified persons. This section is intended to prevent the conversion of recapture and other income gains on the assets of a partnership into capital gains. The Province is proposing to amend the regulations made under the Electricity Act, 1998, to adopt the federal measures effective April 23, 2015. The amendments would prevent the avoidance of PILs through dispositions of partnership interests made directly, or indirectly as part of a series of transactions, to a person who is not subject to PILs or a partnership whose members are not all subject to PILs.

Other Measures

Registration Requirements for Certain Road-Building Machines

The 2014 Budget announced that the Province would propose amendments to the Highway Traffic Act that would modernize, by 2016, the treatment of certain unregistered road-building machines that use public roads and highways.

These vehicles are currently exempt from Ontario fuel tax and many requirements tied to vehicle registration. The proposed changes would provide fuel tax revenue to support public transit, transportation infrastructure and other priority projects across the province.

The government is currently reviewing potential registration and licensing requirements to be imposed on some of these vehicles, developing a registration process and meeting with various stakeholders to receive input on this measure.

The Province engaged the National Research Council (NRC) to facilitate formal stakeholder consultations and complete a report. Two consultations were held in March 2015 to cover both northern and southern Ontario.

Property Tax Measures

Provincial Land Tax

The Provincial Land Tax (PLT) is the property tax paid in unincorporated areas of northern Ontario outside municipal boundaries. Provincial Land Tax rates have not been updated to increase revenues since the 1950s.

The government announced a review of the PLT in 2013 in response to serious concerns raised by northern municipalities about inequities between their property tax rates and the PLT. The Province committed to address the concerns of northerners in a fair and balanced way.

The review has involved extensive consultations, including 21 sessions with unincorporated area representatives held across the north, and discussions with northern municipalities.

The consultation findings formed the basis of a summary paper, “Provincial Land Tax Review: A Summary of Stakeholder Consultations,”released in December 2014.

Inequities among Northern Taxpayers

Northern municipalities have long-standing concerns about inequities between their property tax rates and PLT rates:

  • The average residential PLT is $164, compared to the average residential northern municipal tax of $2,200.
  • Almost half of all property owners in unincorporated areas pay PLT of less than $50 a year.

During the consultations, concerns were also raised that businesses have much lower property tax rates in unincorporated areas than in municipalities.

In addition to inequities between unincorporated areas and municipalities, there are inequities among property owners in unincorporated areas. The PLT for a residential property inside a school board area is six times higher than for a similarly assessed property outside a school board area.

Understanding Tax Differences in the North

The difference between taxes paid in unincorporated areas and northern municipalities partially reflects the levies that many unincorporated area residents pay to local roads and services boards, and the fact that they have fewer services than municipalities. However, even when these factors are taken into account, there is still a significant discrepancy.

The balance of the difference between property taxes in unincorporated areas and northern municipalities is largely due to differences in how important services are paid for. The Province pays the entire cost of providing services including policing, land ambulance and public health in unincorporated areas, while northern municipalities fully fund services such as policing, or share the costs of services such as land ambulance and public health, with the Province. There is a significant gap between PLT revenue and the funding that the Province provides for these services — over and above the amount it would contribute under municipal cost-sharing arrangements.

A First Step towards a More Equitable and Modern Tax System

The inequities identified in the review underscore the need to reform the PLT system. There was broad agreement that all taxpayers should pay their fair share, but there was also recognition that PLT reform must proceed at a manageable pace. A staged approach to reform will focus on engaging northern Ontarians in ongoing discussions.

Proposals outlined in this Budget would reduce PLT inequities beginning in 2015, and form an important first stage in building a fair and modern PLT system:

  • For residential taxpayers, the PLT rate would be adjusted by $10 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2015 and an additional $40 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2016;
  • Unincorporated area businesses would make a proportionate contribution; and
  • The minimum per property PLT would be set at $50 annually in 2016 to ensure that all property owners make a basic contribution towards the cost of important services.

Necessary legislative amendments to facilitate these changes will be introduced.

The government will ensure that provisions are in place for property tax relief to make changes more manageable for low-income seniors and low-income residents with disabilities.

Provincial Land Tax reform is not just about addressing tax inequities. The Province values the views of unincorporated area residents on how to improve the PLT system. In response to suggestions made through the consultations, the Province is proposing to introduce measures that would support better information sharing with local boards and will continue to seek input on additional system improvements.

Continuing to Work with Northern Ontarians on PLT Reform

The proposed measures announced today would be fully implemented by 2016, but the PLT review will not end with these changes. The Province will continue discussions on ways to further address tax inequities in the north and support the work of local roads and services boards.

To initiate the next phase of discussions, the government will launch a new series of consultations with northern Ontarians. The Province is committed to continuing along the path of reform and to ensuring that the PLT is transformed into a fair and modern property tax system.

Power Dam Special Payment Program

The Power Dam Special Payment Program provides municipalities with mitigation related to the former property tax on hydro-electric generating stations (power dams). These facilities became exempt from property taxation in 2001 when the gross revenue charge was introduced.

The 2014 Budget announced a plan to phase down the program’s funding by approximately 25 per cent over three years, starting with a three per cent reduction in 2015.

The Province committed to work with municipalities to explore ways to implement the phase-down in a manner that is fair and manageable. To support these consultations, a working group with municipal representatives was formed.

Subsequent to the 2014 Budget, it was determined that the consultations will also explore the option of reintroducing property taxation for power dams. Recognizing that it was impossible to complete the property tax aspect of this project before the 2015 municipal budget year, it was announced in the 2014 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review that the planned reduction to the program for 2015 will be deferred.

This allows time to conduct further analysis and hold consultations with municipal and electricity sector representatives, as well as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), to fully explore various options, including reintroducing property taxation.

Through this process, the Province is working with stakeholders to strike a balance between predictability for municipal revenues and stability for ratepayers and electricity generators. The outcome will be communicated before the 2016 taxation year.

Strengthening the Property Assessment System

The Province, in partnership with MPAC, municipalities and stakeholders, is working to improve the property assessment system in time for the next province-wide reassessment in 2016.

The key focus of this work is the implementation of the Special Purpose Business Property Assessment Review (the Assessment Review) report recommendations.

The objectives of the Assessment Review recommendations are to improve the transparency, accuracy and predictability of the property assessment system. The Province is proposing changes that would support these objectives by helping to resolve disputes about assessed values before the return of the assessment roll.

Currently underway is a new advance disclosure process for special purpose business properties, which are unique or complex business properties that are particularly challenging to assess. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s consultation on guides that detail the assessment methodologies for these properties was completed in early 2015. The next phase will entail a discussion of market factors and analytics that go into the assessment of properties. Stage three, the release of property-specific preliminary values, is targeted for early 2016, well in advance of roll return.

Municipalities, taxpayers and assessment professionals have expressed support for this proposed approach, which has been designed to reduce the need for the appeal system to resolve concerns with property assessments.

To support full participation in the advance disclosure process, the Province is proposing to strengthen protections for commercial proprietary information shared by taxpayers with MPAC as part of the valuation process. The Province is also proposing changes that would bolster MPAC’s ability to obtain additional information about properties to facilitate the determination of accurate assessed values.

The Province and its partners are also moving forward with implementing other Assessment Review recommendations to improve data integrity, streamline assessment appeals, and better inform municipalities about assessments at risk, as well as property-specific assessment recommendations.

In addition, the Province is working closely with its partners to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various parties, including through the establishment of policies, procedures and standards for the provision of assessment services by MPAC. As well, to better reflect historic policy intent, the Province is proposing to clarify the tenure of future MPAC board of director appointments and ensure consistency with other key corporations created by Provincial statute.

The Province is committed to transparency and public reporting. Regular updates on implementation of the Assessment Review recommendations will continue to be posted on the Ministry of Finance website.

Summary of Measures

Table 4.1 2015 Budget Tax Measures
($ Millions)
  2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Savings from Business Tax Measures (Reductions in Expense)      
Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit 30 70 95
Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit 35 55 55
Ontario Production Services Tax Credit 10 25 25
Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit 5 8 8
Ontario Sound Recording Tax Credit 1 1 1
Paralleling Federal Tax Measures      
Taxation of Trusts and Estates 10 35 40
Ontario Resource Tax Credit and the Additional Tax on Crown Royalties 7 6 6
Tax Relief for Municipal Electricity Utilities
Property Tax Measures      
Provincial Land Tax 4 10 10
Total 100 205 240
Notes: All measures represent reductions in government expenditures, except for the Provincial Land Tax, Taxation of Trusts and Estates, and the Ontario Resource Tax Credit and Additional Tax on Crown Royalties measures, which represent increases in government revenue.
Numbers may not add due to rounding.
"–" Indicates a nil amount, a small amount (less than $1 million) or an amount that cannot be determined.

Technical Amendments

To improve administrative effectiveness and enforcement, maintain the integrity and equity of Ontario’s tax and revenue collection system, and enhance legislative clarity and regulatory flexibility to preserve policy intent, amendments will be proposed to various statutes, including:

  • Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996
  • Assessment Act
  • Auditor General Act 
  • Canadian Public Accountability Board Act (Ontario), 2006
  • Chiropody Act, 1991
  • Chiropractic Act, 1991
  • Commodity Futures Act
  • Co-operative Corporations Act
  • Corporations Tax Act
  • Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994
  • Employer Health Tax Act
  • Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998
  • Financial Administration Act
  • Financial Services Commission of Ontario Act, 1997
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • Fuel Tax Act
  • Gasoline Tax Act
  • Health Insurance Act
  • Health System Improvements Act, 2007
  • Highway Traffic Act
  • Income Tax Act
  • Insurance Act
  • Land Transfer Tax Act
  • Legislation Act, 2006
  • Limitations Act, 2002
  • Liquor Control Act
  • Liquor Licence Act
  • Loan and Trust Corporations Act
  • Ministry of Revenue Act
  • Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act
  • Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Act, 1997
  • Optometry Act, 1991
  • Pension Benefits Act
  • Provincial Land Tax Act, 2006
  • Race Tracks Tax Act
  • Registered Insurance Brokers Act
  • Regulated Health Professions Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009
  • Retail Sales Tax Act
  • Securities Act
  • Taxation Act, 2007
  • Tile Drainage Act
  • Tobacco Tax Act

These proposed amendments will include:

  • Changes to the Tile Drainage Act that would enhance and clarify the administration of the Tile Loan Program and the Northern Ontario Tile Drainage Loan Program;
  • Measures to improve public accessibility of various fees established by the Minister of Finance; and
  • Amendments to the Financial Administration Act to improve the administration of section 28 of the Act, including providing for potential changes to the application of the section under certain conditions.

Chart Descriptions

Chart 4.1: New Apprenticeship Registrations in Trades Eligible for the ATTC, 2003–04 to 2013–14

This line graph shows that in 2003–04 there were about 14,500 new registrations in trades eligible for the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC). By 2006–07 the number of new registrants climbs to about 18,200 and then stays at about this level until 2009–10 when the number drops to about 15,900. In 2010–11, the number of new registrants climbs again to about 17,300 and peaks at about 19,000 in 2012–13 before declining again in 2013–14 to about 17,800. Data in the line graph excludes three contact centre trades that became ineligible effective April 1, 2014.

The graph also includes a vertical line to reference March 2009 when the ATTC was enhanced. The following two notations are also included within the graph: “the chart represents new apprentice registrations each year in the ATTC-eligible trades, and not the total number of active apprentices in the system” and “the average annual growth in new registrations for ATTC-eligible trades was about three per cent from 2009–10 to 2013–14. Over the same period, the average annual growth of the tax credit was about 17 per cent.”

Return to Chart 4.1