Steenburg Lake Community Association

WRAFT - Coalition After Property Tax Reform (CAPTR)

April 2007


Recent developments

The next six months leading up to the provincial election is the most critical period in our ongoing quest for property tax reform.  In the past month we have made major strides towards  reform. The Ontario PC party has put the 5% cap in their election platform.  We strongly endorsed this initiative.  In response, the Liberal government has included a four year assessment cycle and four year phase-in in the recent spring Budget.  While we support the PC plan at the same time we will continue to push the government to include capping in their proposal. Without that change the Liberal plan is only a short term fix to a long term inequity. 

We recently distributed an op ed piece to newspapers across Ontario and have attached a copy. It provides useful background on these recent property tax initiatives by the major political parties.

What can you and your members do to help?  

Firstly contact your MPP where you live, if they are Liberals. Tell them the Liberal plan is not enough and does not deal in any real way with the volatility inherent in a system based on fluctuating real estate markets.  Instructions for contacting MPPs are on If your MPP is PC or NDP write directly to the Finance Minister at


bullet Secondly please send a donation to WRAFT at 131 Bloor St W Suite 200 Box 263 Toronto M5S 1R8 to help defray our costs over this critical six month period leading up to the October provincial election.
bullet Finally we recommend you include property tax reform on your agenda for your annual meeting this summer. We would be pleased to supply a report and handout you can use at your meeting. If you are prepared to hold a joint meeting with other associations in your area, we would at your request, try to send a speaker to represent WRAFT/CAPTR at your meeting.

Please distribute this report to your members. It is our intention to contact as many of you as possible by telephone in the coming weeks to follow up on this report and see how we can assist in activating your membership over the critical months ahead. Let us know if you are no longer the contact for your association and provide the new contact information.


Bob Topp Executive Director WRAFT

WRAFT is a founding member of the Coalition After Property Tax Reform (CAPTR), a coalition which through 700 ratepayer organizations and two major senior citizens’ groups, represents over one million Ontarians

Sorbara budget fails homeowners:

Why we need a cap on assessment increases

Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara’s plans to spread property assessment hikes over four year cycles is just tinkering: it doesn’t fix the unfairness and it prolongs the tax increase agony.

It means the property tax pain for hundreds of thousands of Ontarians will be inflicted over a longer period when their double-digit assessment hikes lead to higher property taxes.

There is nothing in the budget that will prevent a return to dramatic, double-digit increases in property assessments, nothing to stem the tide of volatility.

And the Finance Minister is way off base when he says that a property assessment cap would benefit “the more affluent” as he claimed in his budget speech.

The cute “spin line” that Toronto’s expensive “Rosedale” would benefit at the expense of working class “Rexdale” just doesn’t happen to be true.

It is the existing uncapped system that remains in place that favoured Rosedale over Rexdale in the last assessment: the highest increases in Toronto were on the Danforth and in Parkdale. Those folks got clobbered. The lowest increase was in Rosedale and it was half as much as the assessment hike in Rexdale.

The Coalition After Property Tax Reform, which represents about a million Ontario property owners, believes assessment hikes must be limited to no more than 5 per cent annually. Otherwise, the combination of hot real estate markets in some areas and a crude assessment methodology will continue to lead to massive volatility in valuation and hence in property taxes.

We chose a five per cent annual cap because it is the average annual increase in residential real estate prices in Ontario over the past 25 years. It is therefore a fair and realistic cap which will allow assessments to rise in line with past trends and not with overheated current market conditions

In the last assessment in 2005, more than 100,000 properties in Ontario were up between 30% and 150% compared to the average provincial increase of 12%. In Toronto, increases by ward averaged from 5% to 19%.

The Sorbara four-year cycle will not change this unfair system: It just means the person who gets the 100 per cent assessment increase in 2009 will have four years to deal with the heavy tax impact. Then the next assessment notice will arrive.

This is a completely unfair system and the province has failed to fix it. When the assessments start landing in mailing boxes in 2009, they will still wreak havoc with many homeowners.

The promise the McGuinty government made in 2004 to fix the volatile assessment and property tax regime which has been in place across Ontario for nine years remains unfulfilled.

Ironically, it is John Tory, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, who recently announced a 5% cap on annual assessment increases as part of his election platform; after all, it was a former PC leader, Mike Harris, who made the system mandatory that we are burdened with today.

To their credit, the Ontario New Democrats set up a task force and held hearings across the province on the assessment system, and they too have recognized the need to end its volatility and unfairness.

If Mr. Sorbara had combined his new four-year assessment cycle with our five per cent assessment increase, he would have solved the problem.