Canada: Property Tax Assessments: What You Need To Know For Your Appeal


On March 6, 2015, the Divisional Court of Ontario released its decision in Junvir Investments Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation1and held that the Assessment Review Board (the "Board")2did not err in failing to properly determine the current value of the appellant's property. This case is significant not only for its result, but also because it demonstrates that courts are unwilling to overturn decisions by the Board that have some evidentiary basis, no matter how minimal. In order to succeed on an appeal, property owners must point to some error of law in order to overturn a decision by the Board. This article seeks to identify the potential errors of law that property owners can raise on an appeal.


Founded in 1953, Junvir Investments Ltd. (the "Appellant") is a third-generation family owned corporation that operates an independent grocery store in central Toronto. Between 1995 and 2003, the Appellant acquired the following four properties with the intention of expanding its operations:

  • 446 Summerhill Avenue: a 15,000 sq. ft. grocery store building (the "Building"); and
  • 444, 442, and 438 Summerhill Avenue: together comprising a 26-car parking lot adjacent to the Building (collectively, the "Subject Properties").

Between 2005 and 2007, the Appellant expanded the Building to approximately 30,000 sq. ft. in order to add additional room for storage, food preparation, shopping, and a kitchen. In 2005, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation ("MPAC") provided the Appellant with the following Current Value Assessments ("CVA") for the 2006, 2007, and 2008 taxation years3using the cost approach:4

The Appellant and MPAC disagreed on both the nature of the Building and MPAC's choice of properties for comparable sales. The Appellant took the position that the Building had the characteristics of a grocery store and should be valued using the Grocery Store Model ("GSM").5In determining the value of the Building, MPAC applied the income approach using estimates of the Fair Market Rent ("FMR")6of commercial retail buildings. The Appellant, on the other hand, proposed two possible valuation methods for the Building: (i) an income approach using estimates of FMR from grocery stores and supermarkets that it asserted were comparable; or (ii) a CVA FMR of the Building, which it produced by applying the GSM.7

On March 27, 2014, the Board held that the CVA of the Appellant's four properties was $3,661,000.00 for the 2008 taxation year (the "First Decision").8This figure was ultimately reduced to $2,103,000.00 as a result of several factors that negatively affected the Building's value.9

On August 26, 2014, the Board issued an amended decision (the "Amended Decision") to correct a typographical error and mathematical miscalculations. The Amended Decision raised the CVA of the Appellant's four properties to $4,288,000.00 for the 2008 taxation year, although this figure was ultimately reduced to $2,730,000.00 as a result of the above-mentioned negative factors.10In response, the Appellant appealed both the First Decision and the Amended Decision pursuant to section 43.1 of the Assessment Act.11


On appeal, the Appellant argued that the Board had made the following errors of law with respect to the 2008 taxation year:

1. It erred in law in failing to properly determine the current value of the Appellant's properties;

2. It erred in law in failing to reference similar properties in the vicinity; and

3. It acted without jurisdiction when it amended the First Decision and issued the Amended Decision.

Justice Sachs began her decision by examining the standard of review applicable to decisions by the Board. As a general rule, the standard of review applicable to the Board's decision on questions of law is correctness. Taking into account several recent decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada,12Justice Sachs noted that there is a presumption that decisions by tribunals interpreting or applying their home statutes are reviewable on a standard of reasonableness.13

In the present case, Justice Sachs held that a standard of review analysis for the Appellant's first and second issues was unnecessary because they involved issues of procedural fairness. In such a case, the question is not whether the decision was "correct" or "reasonable", but simply whether the procedure used was fair. On the other hand, the third issue raised issues of jurisdiction and was reviewable on a standard of correctness.14

With respect to the first issue, the Appellant took the position that the Board had erroneously based its decision on only two of the comparable properties submitted for consideration. According to the Appellant, the Board erred by ignoring the eight other comparable properties that the Appellant submitted whose values were not challenged. Justice Sachs disagreed with the Appellant's position and noted that their argument "does not raise a question of law".15Crucially, Justice Sachs upheld the Board's decision because:

This is not a case where the Board's conclusion was unsupported by any evidence or where the Board ignored relevant evidence...[s]uch errors could constitute errors of law.16

Justice Sachs took a similar approach in dismissing the Appellant's second issue. Here, Justice Sachs held that the Appellant could not take the position that the Board's decision was wrong because it favoured certain comparable properties over others. It would have been improper for the Divisional Court to overturn a finding of fact by the Board regarding its opinion of the best comparables to use in its analysis.

Consequently, the two properties that the Board selected constituted "an ample evidentiary basis upon which to make this finding".17

On the third issue, Justice Sachs noted that the Board has jurisdiction to correct a typographical or mathematical error under both the Statutory Powers Procedure Act18 and the Board's own Rules of Practice and Procedure.19Notwithstanding that leave was not granted on this issue, the Court held that the Board had jurisdiction to amend the First Decision and the Amended Decision in the manner it did.

As a result of the foregoing, Justice Sachs dismissed the appeal and awarded MPAC $14,500.00 in costs for both the appeal and the motion for leave to appeal.


The Divisional Court of Ontario's decision in Junvir is significant for practitioners of property tax and assessment law for several reasons. It affirms the presumption that the standard of review for the Board's interpretation of the Act is reasonableness. Likewise, it demonstrates that courts will uphold CVAs issued by the Board so long as there is some evidentiary basis to support their decision. Property owners should not assume that they will be successful before the Board or the courts simply because they have amassed a large number of comparable properties in support of their position. Decisions by the Board will be upheld so long as they have considered all of the comparable properties and determined that a property owner's comparables are not sufficiently similar to the property in dispute.

The key lesson from Junvir appears to be that courts are only willing to overturn a decision by the Board if one of the following errors of law has been made: (i) where the Board's conclusion is unsupported by any evidence; (ii) where the Board ignored relevant evidence; or (iii) where the Board misapprehended relevant evidence.20Moving forward, property owners should structure their arguments around these points in order to maximize their likelihood of success on an appeal.

Jamie G. Walker is a Student-at-law at Miller Thomson LLP (2015).


1 Junvir Investments Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp., 2015 ONSC 1526.

2 The Assessment Review Board is an independent adjudicative tribunal whose main function is to hear appeals from people who believe that properties are incorrectly assessed or classified. The Board also deals with some property tax appeals.

3 Junvir Investments Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp., Region No. 09, 2014 CarswellOnt 3732, at paras. 106-107.

4 A valuation method in which the market price of a property is calculated by adding the cost of the land and the cost of construction, minus depreciation.

5 The GSM is an equation used to predict rents for grocery stores (anchor tenants only) based on negotiated rents.

6 The amount of money that a property would command if it were available for leasing at the present time.

7 Supra note 3, at para. 11.

8 Supra note 3.

9 Ibid.

10 JUNVIR Investments Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp., Region No. 09, 2014 CarswellOnt 11770, at para. 105.

11 Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.31.

12 British Columbia (Securities Commission) v. McLean, 2013 SCC 67 (S.C.C.).

13 Supra note 1, at para. 5.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid., at para. 8.

16 Ibid., at para. 8.

17 Ibid., at para. 9.

18 Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.22, s. 21.1.

19 Assessment Review Board Rules of Practice and Procedure, A.R.B. Rules, r. 130.

20 Para. 8.

Originally published by Taxes & Wealth Management, May 2015.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions