Consultations: Provincial Land Tax Review Update

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

A review of the PLT was announced in the fall of 2013. The Ontario government committed to consult with representatives of unincorporated areas and northern municipalities and to address their concerns in a fair and balanced way.

What consultations have taken place so far?

  • In August and September, 2014, the Ministry of Finance held 21 consultation sessions with unincorporated area representatives across Northern Ontario. 
  • Provincial Land Tax Review: A Summary of Stakeholder Consultations was released in December 2014 and summarized stakeholders’ views on PLT.
  • The province requested feedback on the summary paper and received numerous helpful responses from unincorporated area residents, associations and local roads and services boards.
  • The government will continue to consult with northern stakeholders throughout the PLT review.

What are the key findings of the consultations to date?

Throughout the consultations, a number of concerns about property tax fairness in northern Ontario were raised.

  • Northern municipalities were concerned about inequities between property tax rates in municipalities and PLT rates in unincorporated areas. 
  • Unincorporated area residents and representatives noted that a portion of this tax difference relates to fewer services in unincorporated areas and the important role volunteers play in unincorporated communities. 
  • In addition to PLT, many property owners pay levies for services provided by Local Roads Boards and Local Services Boards. 
  • However, taking local board levies and fewer services and administration into account does not fully explain the difference between average residential PLT and northern municipal property taxes.
  • Concerns were also raised about different tax rates among unincorporated area residents. For example, the PLT rate for residential properties located inside schoolboard areas is much higher than the rate outside schoolboard areas.
  • Provincial support for services, including policing, land ambulance, public health, social service, and tax administration, was also raised.  The PLT raises approximately $11 million a year, which covers only a portion of the costs of these services.
  • The feedback received from northern stakeholders has been invaluable in gaining a greater understanding of unincorporated areas and PLT.

What does the PLT review mean for unincorporated area residents?

Based on the results of the review, the province will bring forward proposals that can be implemented beginning in 2015.

  • The goal of the proposals will be to increase fairness among northern property taxpayers. Changes would be introduced in a balanced and manageable way.
  • Any changes introduced in 2015 that affect your PLT will appear on the 2015 final bill. No changes appear on the 2015 interim bill, which represents 50 per cent of your 2014 taxes.

How can I find out more about the PLT review?

We are interested in continuing to receive input on the PLT review. You can find out more about PLT and view the consultation summary paper on the Ministry of Finance’s web site. http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/consultations/landtaxreform/index.html

Email: pltreformoffice@ontario.ca

Mail:
Provincial Land Tax Reform Office
Ministry of Finance
Provincial Local Finance Division
777 Bay Street
10th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2C8