Proprietary information of a commercial nature relating to property assessment
Bill or Act:
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of Finance is seeking comments on a draft regulation that would prescribe the definition of proprietary information of a commercial nature under subsection 53(1) of the Assessment Act.
Bill 91, Building Ontario Up Act (Budget Measures), which received Royal Assent on June 4, 2015, introduced a legislative amendment to expand the protection of information under subsection 53(1) of the Assessment Act. Subsection 53(1) of the Assessment Act makes it an offence for every person employed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), a municipality or a school board to disclose certain types of information on individual properties. Previously, information protected under this subsection was limited to income and expense information relating to an individual property. As a result of the amendment, the information protected under this subsection has been expanded to include proprietary information of a commercial nature. The definition of commercial proprietary information is to be prescribed by the Minister of Finance.
For reference, subsection 53(1) of the Assessment Act states that,
Every person employed by the assessment corporation, a municipality or a school board who in the course of the person's duties acquires or has access to any proprietary information of a commercial nature prescribed by the Minister relating to an individual property or to actual income and expense information on an individual property, and who wilfully discloses or permits to be disclosed any such information to any other person not likewise entitled in the course of the person's duties to acquire or have access to the information, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $2,000, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.
The legislative amendment strengthens the protection of proprietary information of a commercial nature that is shared with MPAC for assessment purposes (see proposed regulation below). The change is intended to support the provision of information from business property owners to MPAC, in order to assist the corporation in establishing accurate assessments. The change will also support participation in the new advance disclosure process, which is designed to enable business taxpayers and impacted municipalities to contribute to the determination of values in advance of return of the assessment roll.
The purpose of the proposed regulation is to prescribe the types of proprietary information of a commercial nature that are protected under subsection 53(1) of the Assessment Act. The regulation, once in place, will strengthen the protection of proprietary information shared by business property owners with MPAC for assessment purposes, which was the intent of the legislative amendment in the Assessment Act.
(1) For the purposes of subsection 53(1) of the Act, proprietary information of a commercial nature is information described in subsection (2) that is collected under this Act or pursuant to an assessment appeal or a court proceeding involving an assessment matter.
(2) Information referred to in subsection (1) is confidential information relating to the following: finances, occupancy, industrial and engineering processes and design, business or marketing plans and intellectual property, and trade secrets.
October 26, 2015
Comments Due Date:
December 10, 2015
777 Bay Street, 10th Floor