Vacant & Excess Land Tax Discount Program

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On Nov. 25, 2019, City Council passed a resolution to phase-out the Vacant & Excess Land Tax Discount Program over two years, starting in 2020.

Thank you for your input during our public consultation on this project. The results of the online engagement can be seen in the Survey Report: Vacant & Excess Land Tax Discount Program. All feedback was provided to City Council and taken into consideration during their deliberation.


About the Program & Background:

In Ontario, property assessments are classified into different classes and subclasses, depending on the property’s use, and property taxes are based on these assessments. City Council sets the tax rate for each class based on the budget.

Presently, through the Commercial and Industrial Vacant and Excess Land Tax Discount Program, the City gives a 30% tax rate discount to 384 properties totaling $544,603, which is funded by all other taxpayers.

Recent changes from the Ontario government now allow municipalities to review and adjust their vacant unit rebate programs including the commercial and industrial vacant and excess land subclass tax discount program.

In May 2019, Council approved the Long-term Tax Strategy that seeks to provide greater fairness among property classes. To this end, the City is evaluating the Commercial and Industrial Vacant and Excess Land Tax Discount Program.


Proposed Changes to the Program - Three Options:

1. No Change: keep the current 30% tax rate discounts

  • All other property classes will continue to subsidize this reduction.
  • Based on 2019 figures, the annual reduction is $544,603.
  • The reduction will continue to shift an additional 0.28% of the tax levy onto the other property classes.

2. Eliminate the Program: eliminate the discounts in 2020

  • Based on 2019 taxes, the average increase in municipal taxes for the 384 commercial and industrial vacant and excess land properties would be $1,560 representing a 49% municipal tax increase.
  • Based on 2019 figures, all other property classes would experience a tax levy decrease of approximately 0.28%.

3. Phase-out the Program: phase-out the discounts over two years, starting in 2020

  • Commercial and industrial vacant and excess land owners would receive a municipal tax rate reduction of 15% on their municipal property taxes in 2020 and an elimination of the reductions in 2021
  • Based on 2019 taxes, the average increase in municipal taxes for the 384 commercial and industrial vacant and excess land properties would be $709 in both 2020 and 2021.
  • Based on 2019 figures, all other property classes would experience a tax levy decrease of approximately 0.14% in 2020 with a similar decrease in 2021.


On Nov. 25, 2019, City Council passed a resolution to phase-out the Vacant & Excess Land Tax Discount Program over two years, starting in 2020.

Thank you for your input during our public consultation on this project. The results of the online engagement can be seen in the Survey Report: Vacant & Excess Land Tax Discount Program. All feedback was provided to City Council and taken into consideration during their deliberation.


About the Program & Background:

In Ontario, property assessments are classified into different classes and subclasses, depending on the property’s use, and property taxes are based on these assessments. City Council sets the tax rate for each class based on the budget.

Presently, through the Commercial and Industrial Vacant and Excess Land Tax Discount Program, the City gives a 30% tax rate discount to 384 properties totaling $544,603, which is funded by all other taxpayers.

Recent changes from the Ontario government now allow municipalities to review and adjust their vacant unit rebate programs including the commercial and industrial vacant and excess land subclass tax discount program.

In May 2019, Council approved the Long-term Tax Strategy that seeks to provide greater fairness among property classes. To this end, the City is evaluating the Commercial and Industrial Vacant and Excess Land Tax Discount Program.


Proposed Changes to the Program - Three Options:

1. No Change: keep the current 30% tax rate discounts

  • All other property classes will continue to subsidize this reduction.
  • Based on 2019 figures, the annual reduction is $544,603.
  • The reduction will continue to shift an additional 0.28% of the tax levy onto the other property classes.

2. Eliminate the Program: eliminate the discounts in 2020

  • Based on 2019 taxes, the average increase in municipal taxes for the 384 commercial and industrial vacant and excess land properties would be $1,560 representing a 49% municipal tax increase.
  • Based on 2019 figures, all other property classes would experience a tax levy decrease of approximately 0.28%.

3. Phase-out the Program: phase-out the discounts over two years, starting in 2020

  • Commercial and industrial vacant and excess land owners would receive a municipal tax rate reduction of 15% on their municipal property taxes in 2020 and an elimination of the reductions in 2021
  • Based on 2019 taxes, the average increase in municipal taxes for the 384 commercial and industrial vacant and excess land properties would be $709 in both 2020 and 2021.
  • Based on 2019 figures, all other property classes would experience a tax levy decrease of approximately 0.14% in 2020 with a similar decrease in 2021.