Appraisal Institute of Canada

Appraisal Institute of Canada

April 04, 2006 15:57 ET

Appraisal Institute of Canada: Ombudsman's Report Welcomed By Professional Appraisers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2006) - The Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) is welcoming Ontario Ombudsman, Andre Marin's report entitled Getting It Right, which investigates the transparency of the property assessment process and the integrity and efficiency of decision making at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) of Ontario.

Responding to the Ombudsman's report Appraisal Institute of Canada President, David Highfield, AACI, P. App., said "Mr. Marin's investigation and his recommendations aimed at increasing transparency and strengthening the integrity and efficiency of the assessment process is concordant with AIC's mission to protect the public interest by ensuring high standards of professional real estate and related property advisory services".

President Highfield noted "Ad Valorem taxation has been the cornerstone of most Canadian property taxation systems for generations where it has provided all stakeholders with the transparency, equity and fairness that they expect, and deserve. In fact, there are many examples of jurisdictions moving to modify market value systems through devices like capping or phasing values, only to realize that transparency and fairness are quickly lost. The result has always been to move back to the market value system."

Suzanne Hubbard, CRA, President of the Ontario Association of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (OAAIC) agrees and adds, "Our members strongly support market value based (ad valorem) assessment which is the foundation of the MPAC mandate."

In his report, the Ombudsman calls for greater transparency in the assessment process and notes that making property information more accessible is an important part of achieving it. The Institute supports this notion and believes that greater openness and transparency would be achieved by increasing public access to MPAC's database.

Appraisers in Ontario have seen an increase in demand for professional advice from property owners seeking to challenge assessments that they believe does not reflect the market value of their property. The Ombudsman's report expresses concern about this and notes that 85 percent of the properties in Ontario are valued using computerized mass appraisal techniques including multiple regression analysis. Notwithstanding the necessity of using mass appraisal techniques, the Institute firmly believes in the value of enshrining appraisal principles in the assessment function and sees a danger in over-reliance on mass appraisal computer systems.

AIC's view that assessment authorities and the general public are particularly well served when accredited professionals are engaged to ensure the integrity of the process. Ms. Hubbard said, "The Appraisal Institute of Canada's designated members are experts in real property valuation. As highly qualified professionals in their field they maintain their skills at the state of the art through the continuing professional development training we offer. We look forward to providing any support to MPAC that might be required to move ahead with Mr. Marin's recommendations".

The need for greater equity is identified by the Ombudsman. AIC President Highfield agrees that: "Without a sense that the assessment process is fair and equitable, taxpayers will lose confidence in a system that is fundamentally sound and otherwise well administered by MPAC.

Contact Information

  • Appraisal Institute of Canada
    Joanne Charlebois
    Director of Communications
    (613) 234-6533, Ext. 224; Mobile: (613) 791-5814
    (613) 234-7197 (FAX)
    joannec@aicanada.ca
    www.aicanada.ca
    or
    Appraisal Institute of Canada
    203-150 Isabella Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1S 1V7