Ontario Government Expands Subsidies to Aviation.
Island Airport Likely Target
For Immediate Release Friday, December 4, 2015
Contact: Brian Iler, Chair
The Ontario Government is about to enmesh itself in the Island Airport controversy by giving itself the power to give that Airport a huge property tax break.
“The Ontario government has studiously avoided getting mixed up in the Island Airport mess – but Bill 144 changes all that. We’re surprised. But we’re even more surprised as that tax break runs counter to its commitment to remove existing incentives to fossil-fuel use.” said Brian Iler, Chair of CommunityAIR.
There are many ways in which the carbon economy is subsidized by governments.
One of them is aviation.
Aviation is one of the fastest-growing contributors to world-wide emissions and, as reported today, has been an outrageous laggard in coming to grips with the urgency of addressing climate change.
While the Ontario Government has recognized the need to reduce subsidies for the consumption of fossil fuels it continues to subsidize airports by mandating a vastly reduced property tax regime for four of them ‑ London, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, and Toronto (Pearson). According to the City of Toronto Pearson paid more than 70% less than market value assessment would mandate.
Now, it proposes to expand the number of airports eligible for that subsidy: Bill 144, currently before the Ontario Legislature, would amend the Assessment Act to allow more airports to be added by Regulation.
Essentially, the province appears to be proposing to add the Island Airport to the short list of other provincial airports that avoid paying property taxes on the same basis as other taxpayers.
Last year, Ports Toronto requested that the province add the Island Airport to the list of airports getting property tax breaks.
After years of fighting Ports Toronto to collect its fair share of taxes, the City of Toronto capitulated and joined with Ports Toronto in that request.
Bill 144 appears to be the result.