Gowling WLG helps Ontario affordable housing provider obtain municipal tax exemptions and multi-million dollar tax refund on Ottawa properties

Following an Ontario Superior Court application led by Gowling WLG, affordable housing provider Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) obtained municipal tax exemptions and a multi-million dollar tax refund for a number of its properties.

This is a significant win in light of the 2020 declaration by Ottawa City Council of a housing and homelessness emergency. One of the underlying causes of this emergency is the availability of capital for affordable housing providers to expand their operations.

In 2022, members of Gowling WLG's Municipal Law Group commenced a Superior Court application on CCOC's behalf. The application sought municipal property tax exemptions under Ontario's Assessment Act for more than 45 affordable housing properties.

CCOC was successful in obtaining exemptions for the majority of the properties, resulting in a significant tax refund for the housing provider and an exemption for the properties from future municipal taxes.

Because of the settlement, the organization will be able to direct more funds to maintaining and promoting housing for low-and moderate-income people across the city and expanding its operations. "This will make a significant difference in CCOC's long-term financial sustainability, and ensure we can continue to provide good quality and affordable homes for the long term," said Maryse Martin from CCOC.

"With the emergency declared by the City of Ottawa in mind, we recognized how important it was for organization such as CCOC to free up much needed funding," said Michael Polowin, head of Gowling WLG's Municipal Law Group. "We approached CCOC with a proposal to seek property tax exemptions for their organization, and we're delighted with the outcome."

CCOC is one of the largest affordable housing providers in Ontario. As a community-based, tenant and member directed non-profit organization, CCOC's mission is to create, maintain and promote housing for low and moderate-income people. The organization owns and manages more than 50 properties, the majority of which are in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood, which provide over 1,600 affordable apartments to residents of the city.

The Superior Court application was led by Gowling WLG partner Roberto Aburto, and supported by associates Michelle Ciccino and Kelly Duquette. Additional services were provided by Michael Polowin and Colin Green.

About Gowling WLG's Municipal Law Group

Gowling WLG's Municipal Law Group is the largest in eastern Ontario with clients ranging from big developers to smaller industry players. Gowling WLG is one of the few firms positioned to take on complicated municipal property tax and planning mandates in Ontario. Learn more about our Municipal Group.

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