Norm Gale Explains Property Tax Rate in Thunder Bay


THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Does Thunder Bay have the second-highest property taxes? That is the assertion of a news article in Zoocasa.

Here is the company’s list of the highest and lowest tax rates in Ontario.

Cities With the Lowest Property Tax Rates in Ontario

  1. Toronto: 0.614770%
  2. Markham: 0.659822%
  3. Milton: 0.685776%
  4. Richmond Hill: 0.688357%
  5. Vaughan: 0.696147%

Cities With the Highest Property Tax Rates in Ontario

  1. Windsor: 1.789394%
  2. Thunder Bay: 1.598484%
  3. Sault Ste. Marie: 1.529349%
  4. North Bay: 1.501246%
  5. Sudbury: 1.461888%

The assessment shown in the infographic below says that a $250,000 home in Toronto would be taxed at $1537. A home in Thunder Bay assessed at the same value would be taxed at $3,996.

Thunder Bay City Manager Norm Gale has responded on this article. Here is what he had to say: “The authors assert that the City of Thunder Bay (CTB) has the 2nd highest property rate (amongst comparators they selected) and they are correct, and then they infer that this is bad. We do have the 2nd highest property rate (amongst this group), but this isn’t bad. It’s good. Here’s the rub: the property rate (PR) is but an arbitrary number that you set, and is relative to property value (PV). I argue that the number that matters is how much the property tax (tax) actually is, that is, what the owner pays. Assertions that Thunder Bay has the 2nd highest PR, while correct, are meaningless without context. Here’s how it works:

PR X PV = tax

“As PVs increase, the PR goes down. So, it’s relative. In fact, the CTB has reduced the PR in the past ten years, as, you guessed it, PVs increase. But we don’t market that, because in so doing we’d be making the same mistake that Zoocasa has. It’s the tax that matters, you see. Take a careful look at the Zoocasa numbers, if you’re inclined, and you’ll see that the same house in Toronto pays the same (likely more) taxes than that house in CTB. The Toronto PR is much lower, while the Toronto PV is much higher. It’s relative. This doesn’t make Toronto more affordable for a property owner.

“So, to the tax. We use BMA for comparison reasons, and we, you, and others often cite BMA as a reliable source. They are (reliable).

“According to the BMA, amongst municipalities with >100,000 population in 2018, the COTB ranks 15 of 29 (right in the middle) for tax on a detached bungalow. There are other measures of course where COTB ranks relatively high, but we all know that, and again, my intent is not to start a discussion on taxation levels. I hope we can avoid that for now.”

Zoocasa Property Tax Graphic

Zoocasa Property Tax rates

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