Toronto - The City of Toronto’s small businesses are benefiting from changes being made to the City’s property tax policies. On October 22, 2007, City Council approved the “Update to Enhancing Toronto’s Business Climate” status report that highlights 12 new initiatives to enhance the City’s competitiveness over the long term.

Included are property tax relief measures for new small and medium-sized neighbourhood retail properties, new non-retail offices and hotel developments and major expansions to non-retail offices and hotels to be in place for January 2008.

A motion put forward by Toronto Mayor David Miller was approved by Council to provide additional relief for commercial, industrial and multi-residential properties by accelerating their tax rate reductions to 2.5-times the residential rate by 2015 instead of 2020 as previously approved, following a firm commitment from the province of Ontario to upload the cost of social services/social housing programs and provide funding for the operating costs of public transit.

“I am committed to keeping both large and small businesses in this city strong and to making Toronto prosperous,” said Mayor David Miller. “This plan is another step in ensuring we succeed in a highly competitive global marketplace while keeping our neighbourhoods vibrant and livable.”

At its meeting in October 2005, Council adopted a set of comprehensive incentives and initiatives for property tax fairness, to help level the City’s tax rates with surrounding municipalities and keep Toronto’s business climate strong and healthy. The recommendations were developed through public and stakeholder consultations, together with extensive research and analysis by staff.

“Toronto is a great place to do business and third-party consultants confirm it,” said Shirley Hoy, City Manager. “Mercer Human Resource Consulting ranked Toronto 15th out of 215 of the world’s best cities for liveability - we’re one of the best for quality of life.”

“This plan is intended to help make Toronto’s businesses more globally competitive,” said Joe Pennachetti, Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer. Other City efforts to enhance competitiveness in the City of Toronto and to help level the playing field with surrounding GTA municipalities, include creating a new, fair water rate structure for industrial and manufacturing companies, and continuing the relief of development charges for the city’s commercial industry and limiting property tax increases to one third of that required for residential properties. The Province of Ontario’s Education tax rates have also been reduced.”

To view the report and the status on the various action items visit http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2007/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-5039.pdf.

For more information, visit http://www.toronto.ca/finance/tax_policies.htm.