Improving transparency and building confidence in our assessment system. WatchFile Guest Column By Carla Y. Nell, Vice-President, Municipal and Stakeholder Relations

Changing assessment values can create real challenges for municipalities. That’s why MPAC has made several key improvements to help municipalities and property owners plan for, and manage, the new 2016 Assessment Update.
On the residential side, MPAC will now provide earlier delivery of residential Property Assessment Notices over an extended 21-week period. In addition, we introduced a new 120-day Request for Reconsideration deadline. It will help us to resolve property owner concerns before municipalities receive the final assessment rolls for 2016. We’ve also enhanced aboutmyproperty.ca; our website where anyone can access market trends anywhere in the province and property owners can compare their property to others in their community.

On the commercial/industrial side, MPAC has added a new pre-roll consultation process for large and special purpose business properties. This follows recommendations made by the Ontario Ministry of Finance and it helps to eliminate surprises. Municipalities and industries will have more time to address values for properties that often play a unique role in the community and most importantly, the opportunity to provide input in the valuation process.

As part of this process, MPAC has published its Methodology Guides and Market Valuation Reports for 12 industry sectors on MPAC.ca. We’re ready to begin sharing preliminary values for key business properties across the province giving municipalities and all other stakeholders more time to provide input.

The property tax assessment system is a shared responsibility between the province, municipalities, property owners and MPAC. These relationships need to be open and collaborative, which is why we’re strengthening and fostering relationships with municipalities by being more proactive, open and consultative. We’ve spent much time in the last year reaching out, enhancing communication and planning for the year ahead to use that momentum to truly improve service and relationships.

Through collaboration your contribution regarding the practice of property assessment and taxation has influenced our decision making. As we turn the page on our long-standing relationships, you will be involved earlier on, through disclosure and early delivery of the assessment data, all with a view to ensure that the assessment roll is more transparent, accurate and stable.

We have re-launched our Municipal Connect web page to provide you with easy access to information that will help you manage your tax base. Version 2.0 includes real-time data, customized analytics and in-year perspective on changes. It also supports the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 tax years by providing future projections allowing municipalities to resolve concerns prior to taxation.

But the most important change we have made is strengthening our municipal and stakeholder relations team. We know that often, what you need most, is someone you can count on to help you manage inquiries and concerns.  My team stands ready to serve you as we all work together to ensure that Ontario has a fair, accurate and consistent property assessment system.

For more information about the changes or to learn how to contact your MPAC municipal representatives go to MPAC.ca.