Property assessment notices are coming, and here’s what that means for your tax bill

(via City of Ottawa)

Every four years, the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) mails property assessment notifications to residential, commercial and industrial property owners providing them with the latest assessed value of their property.

MPAC will begin mailing property assessment notices for residential properties in Ottawa on July 18. Assessment notices for non-residential properties will be mailed in the fall of 2016. The last province-wide Assessment Update of Ontario properties took place in 2012 and was based on the valuation date of January 1, 2012. This update is based on the valuation date of January 1, 2016.

On average, Stittsville assessment values are up 5.03%, among the highest of any city ward. Kitchissippi (7.35%) and Rideau-Goulbourn (5.34%) are higher, and Kanata South has an average increase of 5.02%. The average increase across the city is 3.45%.

However – an increase in assessment value doesn’t necessarily mean your taxes will go up as a result.  The assessment notice is not a tax bill and an increase in assessment does not necessarily mean the same or any increase in property taxes.

On Monday, City of Ottawa Finance staff and MPAC staff briefed members of City Council, their staff and the news media to explain the new assessments and their relation to property taxes.  Here’s a copy of the slide deck from the presentation.

We’d like to hear from our readers: What are you seeing on your property assessment? Any big changes – increases or decreases? Add a comment below or email


10 thoughts on “Property assessment notices are coming, and here’s what that means for your tax bill”

    1. The 5% is just the average increase in assessments across Stittsville Ward. That number isn’t used to calculate anything — just a point of comparison to other wards.

      Some properties in Stittsville will be assessed higher, some will be assessed lower. Properties above the city average will see an increase on their property tax bill — amount to be determined — phased in over four years.

      1. Hi Glen,
        I want to let you know that it is really important to not only look at the property value being assessed, but also what the report on your property contains. In my case, they had my house listed as a 4 bedroom instead of 3 and 3.5 bathrooms instead of 2.5. I made the corrections and appealed the amount they appraised my value at. Question: would an extra bedroom and bathroom increase my value, and should I try to keep my property value lower, in case, the MPAC assessment eventually gets fed back to the city of Ottawa as an estimated value for taxes? I think there’s some pressure on MPAC to get assessments in new areas done quickly so the City may have current information on new neighbourhoods and get the taxes rolling in, with the current $40M deficit we are looking at in Ottawa.

    1. Eric, the presentation doc posted in the article is a bit confusing, but the main point is that changes to the assessment value don’t correlate directly to how much tax you pay – pages 5 & 14 in particular.

      The average property assessment has increased by 3.45% across the City, but that does not mean everyone gets a 3.45 tax increase. You only get an increase if your home’s property assessment is more than the 3.45% average, and a decrease if your assessment was lower than the 3.45% average.

      The 2% cap on property taxes (imposed by City Council) is totally separate from any increase/decrease due to property value assessment.

      If the assessment affects your property taxes, you would see the increase phased in starting with your 2017 taxes.

      (Clear as mud?)

  1. The people “assessing” your property, will figure out really hard, what the absolutely maximum amount is to increase your property tax amount by, without raising enough of a stink, where it become too expensive to deal with complaints.
    After all, they’re a kind of bounty hunter, trying to round up as much as possible, so that the city can continue to waste it.
    20 years ago, property values were much lower, and the amount of dollars collected was much lower also. Yet the city was able to make due with that! Yes, 20 years is a long time ago, but if you calculate in inflation, the mount there making due with, is still much lower than today.
    Today there are many more houses at double to triple than 20 years ago. Many people in Stittsville pay like what now, $6000 now? More? Just under that? Many pay around the 5k mark. Really, does the city really need *that* much? They love property values being high, because it brings in more dollars. Imagine if there was a bit of a crash. Imagine values going down by a third. If these assessment guys were fair, property taxes would be reduced by that percentage. The city would have to make due with 1/3 less. But they couldn’t do that. All that stuff they have to pay for, they can’t possibly make a cut. The point is that the city is hooked on high property values and the amounts they can rake in as a result. I find it all very fishy.

    1. Joe – your logic is a bit flawed here.
      The total city-wide taxes collected by the City doesn’t change due to the assessments.

      Imagine a tiny city, with just 10 houses.
      – In 2015, the 10 houses combined were assessed at $300,000, for a total of $3-million dollars, and the City collected property tax revenue of $50,000 ($5,000 per house).
      – In 2016, the 10 houses are re-assessed. Some decrease in value, but most increase, and in total all ten homes combine for $4-million dollars — up a million bucks from the previous year. However, the City can only collect a total property tax revenue of $50,000 ($5,000 per house) – same as last time. Some homes see a slight decrease in their taxes, some see a slight increase.

      To put it another way: The City doesn’t reap the benefits of a hot real estate market by way of more and more money collected. (Nor does it suffer if the market tanks.)

      1. Glen, I disagree. A hot real estate market results in higher amount of collected dollars. It allows the city to run more pet projects. Be less vigilant about waste. Have more people on staff, and be less restrictive as to how much raise and benefits to give increased staff and themselves. Now, I agree that some of those investments and projects benefit us. Some of it improves our city. But the problem I have is waste, reckless spending, increased salaries. More and more do government workers become a richer existence than the corporate world can provide for so many. The government is supposed to offer a comparable income to what the corporate world offers. But what’s not right, is that they seem to be comparing it to the best that the corporate world has to offer. Regular salary increases, while so many working in the private sector are not seeing raises that keep up with inflation. Plus pensions. Something you less and less in the private sector. But government workers get a healthy paycheck after they retire.
        All this gets paid for by tax dollars. More and more of our tax dollars. So when I see talk about property taxes, I’m seeing nibbling to gain more money to pay for things.
        If they had enough money to work with, they could keep the property tax levels the same. But that’s of course not what we see. Ever increases. More more more.
        Property taxes can not possibly ever go down, because the city is completely hooked on these ever increasing levels.

        1. Joe – it’s this statement that’s not quite correct: “A hot real estate market results in higher amount of collected dollars.”

          From a property assessment perspective the city has a fixed amount that they can collect. It’s like a big pizza — the size of that pizza doesn’t change, just the size of the slices. The slices are how much each homeowner has to pay in tax. When property assessments change, some of those slices get bigger, some get smaller, but the overall size of the pizza doesn’t change.

          For Stittsville, most homes have increased in value – so most of our slices get bigger. Meanwhile in Orleans, their increases weren’t quite so much so their slices
          get a bit smaller. But again, the overall size of the pizza stays the same.

          (And it’s totally separate from the 2% annual budget increase approved by council earlier this year.)

          1. It’s simply not true. A house, worth, say 250k, say 15 years ago, it would generate about $2500.
            That same house is worth now about 400k. It now generates about $4000.
            The city is now collecting $1500 more per year from that house 15 year later.
            What you’re saying is that the city needs an x amount, and that x amount is divvied up, so to say, using property tax value as away to calculate what slice you get to pay.
            Well, that x amount in total, has gone way up. I’m not buying the excuse that because the city is now bigger, it must now collect more dollars. Proportionally, we all pay way more than, say, 15 years ago. Well beyond inflation levels.
            The only way we could make progress on this, is if we were to pull in some numbers. What is city collecting in total, now, and 15 years ago. What the city’s expenses and how it is broken down, now, and 15 years ago.

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