Jack Hepworth’s Report, Nov 2, 2015

Jack Hepworth’s Report, Nov 2, 2015

Hello Everyone:

MPAC mailing, Municipal Land Transfer tax background to the recent press releases, and leading technology in water testing for ecosystem and human well being, are the topic of this newsletter.

See www.jackhepworth.ca for updates when they are summarized and posted.

Your 2015 Property Assessment Notice from MPAC has been mailed

On October 27, 2015, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) will begin mailing nearly one million Property Assessment Notices to property taxpayers across the province.

Each Notice mailed this fall shows the assessed value and classification of a property based on a January 1, 2012 legislated valuation date, which is in place for the 2013-2016 property tax years.

The last province-wide Assessment Update took place in 2012 when every property owner in Ontario received a Property Assessment Notice from MPAC. During non-Assessment Update years, MPAC continues to review properties as new homes are built, owners renovate, structures are removed and properties change use. The next province-wide Assessment Update takes place in 2016 for the 2017-2020 property tax years.
Each Notice includes a variety of ways to contact MPAC. To help answer property taxpayers’ questions, an online information kit has been posted on mpac.ca. The kit includes:

  • a sample Property Assessment Notice;
  • a copy of the Information Insert included with every Notice;
  • an Important Information About Your 2014 Property Assessment Notice brochure; and,
  • a fact sheet about 2014 Notices.
  • The key dates for the 2015 Notice mailing are:
  • October 27, November 2 ,6, 2015 Property Assessment Notice delivery dates
  • November 26, 2015 Amended Property Assessment Notice delivery
  • December 7-11, 2015 Assessment Rolls
  • March 31, 2016 Deadline for filing a Request for Reconsideration

Property owners are encouraged to visit aboutmyproperty.ca to confirm their property details and compare their property with others in their neighbourhood. Login information is included with every Notice mailed. Enquiries about Property Assessment Notices and assessment matters in general may be directed to the Customer Contact Centre at 1 866 296-MPAC (6722) or 1 877 889-6722 (TTY). Additional information is also availableonmpac.ca.

Calculate your tax:

  • Use the current assessment value from your MPAC statement and multiply it by the combined Seguin mill rate of .00546688
  • The Facts behind the current “Municipal Land Transfer Tax discussion“
  • For Background see Municipal Legislation Review Discussion Paper

The Provincial Government has been conducting a municipal legislation review of three key elements of Ontario’s municipal legislative framework: the Municipal Act, the City of Toronto Act, and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. The main engagement periodMunicipal Legislation Review Discussion Paper has run from June to October 2015.

Over the summer, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing began analysis on what was heard from Ontarians and our municipal sector partners.
Later this year, the government will post a “What We Heard” document on the Municipal Affairs and Housing website to capture and organize the input received from the public, municipalities and organizations. You are welcome to send any further questions or suggestions you may have to: Municipal Legislation Review Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Local Government Policy Branch 777 Bay Street, 13th Floor, Toronto, ON M5G 2E5 Email: municipalreview@ontario.ca

See the Municipal Legislation Review Submission from the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association of Ontario in the eAgenda page 120 for additional perspectives.

New water testing model can revolutionize current methods of assessing man made chemicals in fresh water.

John Colbourne PHD University of Birmingham is Chair of Environmental Genomics. His research and proof of concept aims to transform practices at monitoring and protecting the environment with low cost industry adaptable methods. Using Daphnia (water fleas) he describes a revolutionary new technology to assess water quality for harmful chemicals. Water Fleas – Daphnia are present in all freshwater bodies. Their genes can be used as diagnostic indicators of environmental stress. Measuring the changes in the Daphnia’s genes researchers can determine the presence and effects of chemicals in our fresh water environments. A simple test will cost $15.00 per slide.

The slide below shows Daphnia’s response to phosphorous concentrations after 20 days of exposure – high on the left side and low on the right .

Daphnia’s Response to Phosphorous

Colbourne’s research group encompasses the fields of evolutionary ecology, high-throughput biology, environmental and functional genomics. From this blend of disciplines emerges a research program that centers on connecting gene expression and genome structure with individual fitness and population-level responses to environmental challenges. Over 60,000 synthetic compounds are used by industry and found in domestic products across the world, for which there is a paucity of information on their potential environmental and health effects. The knowledge gap can be addressed by applying the rapid technological improvements in DNA sequencing and computing power that are transforming the possibilities for regulatory toxicology. These scientific advancements will be crucial to the work of the JCEO, which aims to reduce the uncertainty about compound health risks and help industry fulfil the requirements of European legislation such as REACH and the Water Framework Directive. Colbourne regularly works with industry and advises government agencies and professional societies, aiming to transform practices at monitoring and protecting the environment.

What solution can Daphnia offer

Dr. Colbourne recently spoke at the Muskoka Watershed Council’s Guest Speakers Series. His topic was “Water fleas, big data and 21st century technology: Case studies in Muskoka and Sudbury point the way to saving the world”. The fundamental goal of his research is to understand how animals respond to chemical threats in fresh water. Daphnia’s genes are diagnostic to its healthiness in an environment. Measuring the changes that happen within their genes will lead to a technology that will tell us about the presence and the effects of chemicals that as of now, there is limited knowledge of their impact on organisms. Daphnia are highly suitable to experimental modeling – by size, short generation times – 6 days, and their widespread presence in fresh water bodies. Current water testing initiatives by Seguin, the MLA, District of Muskoka, the Lake Partner Program and other Cottage Association testing can provide the basis of a local pilot study to advance Colbourne’s goal. The MWC is poised to help. This is an exciting opportunity to enhance human and lake health. See a related article on Dr Colbourne’s Research

A summary of the November 2, 2015 meeting will be posted