Assessment Act provided process for challenging property tax assessments

Civil Practice and Procedure – Limitation of actions – Actions involving municipal corporations

Homeowner failed for many years to pay property tax to city and claimed that failure to pay taxes was fault of city. Homeowner commenced action against city, lawyer for city and lawyer who acted for homeowner on purchase of property. Homeowner acknowledged taxes were owed but disputed collection costs, interest or penalties added to tax bill. City and city lawyer brought successful motion for summary judgment to dismiss action. Motion judge found that homeowner had no viable cause of action against city or city lawyer. Motion judge found that homeowner’s action was statute-barred as action related to taxes payable for 2003, 2004 and 2005 and there was no dispute for amounts owing for years after 2006. Motion judge found that Assessment Act provided process for challenging property tax assessments and that homeowner was also out of time to challenge assessments. Homeowner appealed. Appeal dismissed. Motion judge made no error in law and no palpable and overriding error of fact. There was no basis to interfere with motion judge’s conclusion that there was no genuine issue requiring trial. Homeowner received fair hearing and there was no risk of conflicting judgments.

Sutherland v. Toronto (City) (2020), 2020 CarswellOnt 1701, 2020 ONCA 122, K. Feldman J.A., David Brown J.A., and B. Zarnett J.A. (Ont. C.A.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellOnt 3618, 2018 ONSC 1311, Lederer J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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