Toronto Port Authority receives Federal Court decision on Payment in Lieu of Taxes

The Toronto Port Authority (“TPA”) has received a decision by the Federal Court of Canada reversing the January, 2009, recommendation by the federal Dispute Advisory Panel (“DAP”) on a dispute over the amount of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (“PILTs”) owed by the TPA to the City of Toronto (“the City”).

The Federal Court’s decision sets aside the DAP recommendation that determined the TPA owed the City $5,562,607 in PILTs, better known as the amount federal bodies pay municipalities for use of city services. The Federal Court further determined that either party can request a new DAP hearing to review the dispute a second time.

Importantly, the Federal Court determined that the City’s position on using the tax assessment model employed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (“MPAC”) in determining the TPA’s PILTs was not legally applicable.

Also, the Federal Court determined that PILTs must be applied by taking into account federal land use restrictions, which the City has traditionally refused to do.

The TPA believes it has provided a fair and consistent valuation of its properties, including the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, consistent with the Provincial Assessment Act.

The TPA has made important progress with the City on settling a range of disputes, including the important “Macro Settlement Agreement” unanimously approved by Toronto City Council in December, 2009. In this agreement, the TPA agreed to transfer a prime 18-acre parcel of land to the City for $1 for its “Transit City” initiative to expand rapid transit services, as well as voluntarily made a $6.4 million payment regarding PILTs covering the period of 1999 to 2009.

The main elements of this PILTs dispute are not related to another PILTs case recently before the Supreme Court of Canada involving the City of Montreal and other federal agencies located in that city.

The TPA has 30 days to respond to the decision either by appealing the case to the Federal Court of Appeal or by agreeing to a new DAP hearing before a different panel. The TPA will be reviewing these options in the coming days.

Due to the possibility of further litigation in this matter, the TPA will have no further comment.

About the Toronto Port Authority

The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1999 as a government business enterprise under the Canada Marine Act as the successor to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners. It is a federal public authority providing transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses. The TPA owns and operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Marine Terminals 51 and 52, and the Outer Harbour Marina. The TPA also provides regulatory controls and public works services to enhance the safety and efficiency of marine navigation and aviation in the port and harbour of Toronto

Decision of the Federal Court on the JR Application for PILTs(click to download)

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