Property Assessment and Classification Review - Conservation Land

ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Conservation Lands

To promote the preservation of Ontario's natural landscape for the benefit of the environment and for the enjoyment of future generations, the Province exempts eligible conservation lands from property taxation. To be eligible for this tax exemption, a property must fall within one of the following categories, as prescribed in Ontario Regulation 282/98:

  • provincially significant wetland as identified by the Minister of Natural Resources;
  • provincially significant area of natural and scientific interest as identified by the Minister of Natural Resources;
  • habitats of endangered species as identified by the Minister of Natural Resources;
  • land that is designated as an escarpment natural area in the Niagara Escarpment Plan under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.

To remain eligible for this exemption, property owners must submit an annual application and must agree to allow representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources to inspect their land to ensure that no activities are taking place on the property that are inconsistent with its status as conservation land.

During the consultations, two issues related to conservation land were raised by stakeholders: assessment of conservation land on mixed-use properties, and expansion of eligibility criteria.


Assessment of Mixed-Use Properties

During the consultations, concern was expressed with MPAC's method of apportioning the assessed value of mixed-use properties into different classes. It is felt that the current apportionment methodology is minimizing the value of conservation land and therefore diminishing the tax benefit for owners of conservation land. It was suggested that a higher value should be assigned to the conservation land portion which is exempt from taxation, and a lower value should be assigned to the non-conservation land portion of the property which is subject to taxation.

Recommendation:

  • It is recommended that the Province not prescribe an apportionment methodology to be used in the assessment of conservation land on mixed-use parcels.

Discussion:

It is believed that MPAC is in the best position to determine the appropriate methodology by which to apportion the assessment of a property into different classes based on the different uses of each portion of the property.


Eligible Property

Prior to these consultations, a proposal was made by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the categories of conservation land properties that are eligible for exemption from taxation to be expanded to include twenty-one additional types of properties. This proposal was posted by MNR on the Environmental Bill of Rights web site for comment. Subsequently, the proposal was revised to seven (rather than twenty-one) new categories of exempt conservation land properties. The revised proposal was posted by MNR on the Environmental Bill of Rights web site for comment, with the deadline for interested parties to submit comments to MNR expiring on May 3, 2002.

Recommendation:

  • In deference to the consultation process that is being led by the Ministry of Natural Resources in this matter, a recommendation concerning an expansion of the categories of properties that are eligible for exemption from property taxation is not being made at this time.


Previous - Banks   |   Next - Economic Development Incentive Tools   |   Back to the table of contents