A new government means a new round of scrutiny for Ontario’s property assessment agency. The 2019 provincial budget, released last week, hints looming restructuring at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), the arms-length not-for-profit entity responsible for evaluating more than 5 million properties province-wide.
“The Province is developing an action plan to further improve the accuracy, transparency and stability of property assessments,” the budget document reports.
That includes an apparent endorsement of a recently introduced private member’s bill, which calls for three additional positions to give taxpayer representatives equal clout with the seven municipal government representatives on the MPAC board. Along with the somewhat unusual shout-out for Member of Provincial Parliament Paul Calandra, who introduced the bill on March 20, the new budget confirms that the government will be consulting with municipalities, residential and non-residential ratepayers to “explore opportunities” to “support a competitive business environment” and “provide relief to residents”.
Municipalities provide MPAC’s operating funds and currently hold the majority on the 13-member board of directors. The 16-member configuration proposed in Calandra’s private member’s bill would effectively give the balance of power to the board’s two provincial representatives.
“This rebalancing would ensure better representation for Ontario taxpayers while still maintaining a strong voice for municipalities,” the budget states.