Canada: Case Law Review: Municipal Tax – Quebec

Canadian Property Tax Association, 2018 Ontario Chapter Valuation and Legal Symposium

9185-6617 Québec Inc c. Cour du Québec, 2017 QCCS 1648

  • Following the discovery of a latent defect, namely pyrite, in its commercial building located in the City of Longueuil, the Appellant, 9185-6617 Quebec inc. ("9185") sought a reduction of the assessment of the property based on sections 174(6) and 131.2 of the Municipal Tax Act ("MTA").

Section 174(6) MTA provides that the assessor shall alter the assessment roll to indicate "a decrease in the value of a unit of assessment which results from a fire in or the destruction, demolition or disappearance of all or part of an immovable comprised in the unit." Section 131.2 provides that "an application for review may be filed at any time in the course of a fiscal year in which an event justifying an alteration to the roll under section 174 or 174.2 occurs ..."

The City of Longueuil brought before the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec a motion to dismiss 9185's application for review. The Administrative Tribunal granted this motion. While recognizing that pyrite may lead to the eventual destruction of a building, the Tribunal decided that its presence, in itself, did not constitute an "event" leading to an alteration of the roll for one of the reasons provided for under section 174(6); pyrite was not tantamount to destruction. According to the TAQ, it is the culmination of the physical deterioration which constitutes the "event", and not its progression. Moreover, only the physical destruction, as opposed to the destruction of the building's value, can justify a reduction in the value at the roll.

The case was appealed to the Court of Quebec. The appeal was dismissed on the basis that the Administrative Tribunal's interpretation of sections 174(6) and 131.2 of the MTA was part of the acceptable range of applicable interpretations.

The case was then appealed by way of judicial review to the Superior Court of Quebec. The Superior Court confirmed both previous judgements as well as the restrictive interpretation applied by both lower level Courts.

Appeal to the Court of Appeal of Quebec has been granted. The case has not yet been set for hearing.

Agropur Coopérative c. Ville de Longueuil, 2017 QCTAQ 11374

  • Agropur Cooperative ("Agropur") filed an application for review contesting the assessment for the 2013 and 2016 triennial rolls of its commercial property located in the City of Longueuil. During the administrative review process, the City of Longueuil requested from Agropur, at various occasions, a number of documents pertaining mainly to the costs of improvements brought to the building. These requests were left unanswered. The City's decision to maintain the value on the roll was appealed by Agropur before the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec. The City is once again requesting the communication of the same documents by Agropur.

The City's motion is granted; the Administrative Tribunal explains 1) that the Municipal Tax Act ("MTA") gives the assessor large powers to request information that is necessary to prepare the roll and 2) that the Tribunal has an obligation, when the value of a property is contested, to analyse the situation globally and take into consideration all the aspects that may affect the assessment. Consequently, the Tribunal orders Agropur to communicate the information requested by the City to allow for the proper administration of justice

É.V.I. (Énergie Valero inc.) c. Ville de Lévis, 2017 QCTAQ 11494

  • Energie Valero inc. ("Valero") filed an application for review challenging the assessment of its oil refinery located in the City of Levis. Pursuant to numerous requests made by the City to Valero during the administrative review process to provide various documents pertaining to the replacement and maintenance of oil tanks on the property, the City makes a motion to the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec seeking an order for the communication of these documents.

The Tribunal partially grants the City's motion. It highlights the jurisprudential principle which favors the exchange of information and evidence between parties and experts before trial, in an attempt to limit the debate only to the essential issues. When deciding on a request for documents or information, the Court must consider their relevancy for the issue at hand, as well as balance in obtaining, preparing and providing the information. In this case, some of the information had to be specifically prepared in order to answer the City's request and only to demonstrate the accuracy of an expert report; the Tribunal refused to order communication of this information.

Fiducie Gilles Champagne c. Ville de Shawinigan, 2017 QCTAQ 08498

  • Fiducie Gilles Champagne ("Champagne") filed an application for review challenging the assessment of its residential property located in the City of Shawinigan. The property was qualified as a "luxury home" and had been assessed at over $1,2 million. Based on the sale value of various similar properties in Shawinigan, and on the listings of other such similar properties that were for sale at the date of reference, Champagne argued that the property should have been assessed at $850,000.

The City of Shawinigan filed a report based on the market approach, in an attempt to show that the assessment should have surpassed $1,2 million dollars, thus admitting to an inaccurate value on the roll. The Administrative Tribunal refused to consider the evidence provided by Champagne on the grounds that it was not sufficiently probative, since there was no way to ensure the accuracy of the values – it must be mentioned that Mr. Champagne represented himself – and retained only one of the sales submitted in the City's report. On the basis of this one sale, the Tribunal calculated the value of the property to be a little under the actual assessment, but determined that since the difference did not result in a real prejudice, the initial assessment should be maintained.

Champagne is currently seeking leave to appeal before the Court of Quebec, on the grounds that the Administrative Tribunal has an obligation to determine the actual value of a property, especially when there is an admission to the inaccuracy of the assessment, such as is the case here, and that the Tribunal should have considered Champagne's evidence and requested it be completed, in the event that was necessary, which it has discretion to do.

Ville de Longueuil c. 9198-2405 Québec inc., 2017 QCCQ 2191

  • Appeal of five decisions rendered by the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec. Each of these appeals touch upon the interpretation and application of section 129 c) of the Act Respecting the Barreau du Québec ("ARB") regarding the right for a private body (such as a corporation, a non for profit organization, etc.) to be represented by its officers, instead of lawyers, before the Administrative Tribunal when contesting municipal tax assessments.

In Quebec, the act of representing parties and pleading before the Courts is reserved exclusively to lawyers, members of the Quebec Bar (Section 128 ARB), but subject to some exceptions. In certain cases, private bodies are allowed to be represented by their officers. Historically, conflicting case law resulted in ambiguity on the question of whether or not a private body required a lawyer's representation when acting before the Administrative Tribunal.

In this particular case, the Administrative Tribunal decided that a private body may act through its officers for all stages of representation (including preparation and drafting of introductory motions or proceedings to the closing of the file) except for legal pleadings. The Court also decided that the term "private body" is large enough to include legal persons as well as entities that do not have legal personality, and any private body that is not an individual. Also, considering the broad interpretation given to the term "private body", the term "officer" should receive a broad interpretation as well, even though the determination of who is a valid officer is determined on a case by case basis, based on the facts before the Court. The Court also reaffirmed the principle according to which only lawyers can plead legal arguments before the Tribunal. The decision of the Administrative Tribunal on this issue was appealed before the Court of Quebec, which confirmed the Tribunal's position.

The decision of the Court of Quebec has been appealed by way of judicial review to the Superior Court of Quebec.

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 Mondaq.com.

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

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
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

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com 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.

Disclaimer

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.

General

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