Edited by Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack
Chapter 4: Property Taxation in Canada
Enid Slack Canada is a federation with three levels of government: the federal government, ten provincial and three territorial governments and about 4000 local governments. In the urban parts of the country, there are often two levels of local government: an upper tier (county or regional government) and a lower tier (local government). There are also school boards. Generally, the lower tier is responsible for billing and collecting property taxes on behalf of itself, the upper tier and the school boards within its jurisdiction. Under the Canadian constitution, municipalities are creatures of the provincial government. Provinces can create or destroy municipalities, determine what they can make expenditures on and what sources of revenue are available to them. In terms of the property tax, the provincial governments set the rules for how the tax base and tax rates are determined. Municipalities in all provinces levy property taxes to ﬁnance municipal services. In some provinces, the provincial government also levies a property tax to ﬁnance some of the costs of elementary and secondary education. Provincial control over the tax means that there are similarities in the application of the property tax among municipalities within each province but variations across provinces. For this reason, this discussion on property taxes in Canada will focus largely on one province – Ontario, the largest province in Canada, with a population of 10.5 million and 4.2 million properties. Ontario implemented a major reform of the property tax in 1998. This reform was part of an overall reform of...
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