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Ontario Tax - Assessment Act - Charity

. Stamford Kiwanis Non-Profit Homes Inc. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

In Stamford Kiwanis Non-Profit Homes Inc. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court considered (and dismissed) an appeal by a non-profit housing provider of a dismissal of a Superior Court declaration application [under Assessment Act, s.46] that they were property-tax exempt as a charity.

In these quotes the court sets out statutory provisions governing this issue:
[3] The appellant argues that the application judge erred in accepting the joint position of the City and the respondent Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (“MPAC”) that the appellant does not qualify for a municipal tax exemption available to certain charitable institutions: see Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.31, s. 3(1)12(iii). In reaching that conclusion, the application judge found, among other things, that the appellant was not “organized for the relief of the poor”, as those words have been interpreted in previous case law.


[5] The appellant Stamford Kiwanis Non-Profit Homes Inc. (“Stamford Homes”) is a non-for-profit corporation incorporated in 1984. As stated in its letters patent, Stamford Homes’ corporate objects include the following:
a. to acquire, construct, hold, supply, operate, manage and maintain housing accommodations and incidental facilities for the purpose of operating a non-profit housing project for lower income people, senior citizens, functionally handicapped person or others with special needs; and

b. to raise money through subscriptions, memberships.

III. Decision under appeal

[11] In November 2021, Stamford Homes brought an application to the Superior Court under s. 46 of the Assessment Act. It sought a declaration that commencing with the 2021 taxation year, the Properties were exempt from municipal taxation pursuant to s. 3(1)12(iii) of that Act. In prior years, Stamford Homes was assessed and paid municipal taxes relating to the Properties.

[12] The introductory language of s. 3(1) of the Assessment Act provides as follows:
Property assessable and taxable, exemptions

3(1) All real property in Ontario is liable to assessment and taxation, subject to the following exemptions from taxation: ...
[13] The remainder of s. 3(1) consists of a total of 42 clauses (ss. 3(1)1 to 3(1)29) setting out taxation exemptions available to specified types of institutions and organizations. The Court of Appeal for Ontario has recognized that many of such organizations “perform activities which are of great benefit to either discrete groups of disadvantaged persons or to society as a whole. Exemption from property tax allows these organizations to spend more of their limited resources on those activities”, consistent with the organizations’ social and economic purposes: see Ottawa Salus Corp. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (2004), 2004 CanLII 14620 (ON CA), 69 O.R. (3d) 417 (C.A.), at para. 26.

[14] Land exempt from municipal land tax includes property held by charitable institutions specified in s. 3(1)12, which provides as follows:
Charitable institutions

12. Land owned, used and occupied by,

i. The Canadian Red Cross Society,

ii. The St. John Ambulance Association, or

iii. any charitable, non-profit philanthropic corporation organized for the relief of the poor if the corporation is supported in part by public funds.

[Emphasis added.]
[15] Some of the cases that the parties cite in their submissions were decided prior to the 1998 amendments to the Assessment Act. Prior to those amendments, s. 3(1)12 provided as follows:
12. Land of an incorporated charitable institution organized for the relief of the poor, The Canadian Red Cross Society, St. John Ambulance Association, or any similar incorporated institution conducted on philanthropic principles and not for the purpose of profit or gain, that is supported, in part at least, by public funds, but only when the land is owned by the institution and occupied and used for the purposes of the institution. [Emphasis added.]


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Last modified: 13-12-23
By: admin