OSSGA Speaks at 2024 Pre-Budget Meeting
January 17, 2024 at 9:15 AM
Sharon Armstrong, VP of Industry and Stakeholder Relations at the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, emphasized the critical role of aggregate – stone, sand, and gravel – as the fundamental building materials for Ontario's infrastructure at the January 17 pre-budget meeting in Missisauga. Sharon highlighted two key areas of concern, which are highlighted in her speech below:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about Ontario’s most fundamental building material – aggregate – or stone, sand and gravel.
My name is Sharon Armstrong and I’m the VP Industry and Stakeholder Relations with the Ontario Stone,Sand & Gravel Association.
I’d like you to imagine any building – or in fact any infrastructure in Ontario – whether that’s above ground like a hospital, a school or highway 413 – or below ground – like a subway, sewar system or a foundation.
Now recognize that none of those things could be built without stone, sand or gravel.
You asked for input on how Ontario can get critical infrastructure built and how to attract additional investments to create more jobs.
There are two areas where the Ministry can provide assistance. The first is by putting a pause on the use of MPAC’s reassessment of the aggregate properties in the next round of tax bills until a studied, and thoughtful methodology is developed. The second is by opening up a discussion on increasing the aggregate levy. Both issues will help industry achieve greater fairness, clarity and improve relations with municipalities and other stakeholders. Let me explain:
Despite the fact that you Mr. Minister had spoken about the government’s focus in reviewing the property tax system to ensure fairness, affordability and business competitiveness, MPAC launched a reassessment on all 3200 aggregate properties across Ontario following a court decision based on an ARB appeal in Wellington County.
Our association wants to thank you for responding to our recent letter on this issue and we look forward to working with your officials on a review of the property assessment and taxation system that will focus on fairness, affordability, and business competitiveness. We will continue to advocate for our position that the government put forward a regulation using section19(2.1) that requires that the values used for taxation for aggregate properties be the same for 2024 taxation as was used for 2017 taxation.
We hope your officials will work quickly on this issue, as failure to do so will result in:
Small aggregate producers no longer being able to afford to operate.
Large aggregate producers choosing to put their investment dollars elsewhere.
Government customers, such as MTO as well as municipalities paying more for their aggregates as costs are ultimately passed along to them.
Our second ask is that the Ministry work with us to help municipalities understand that a better tool to increase revenues from the aggregate industry is by increasing the aggregate levy.
We have spoken about increasing the levy before – and with the right provisions in place the industry is supportive of working with municipalities to help them better achieve the financial goals they are seeking.
You and the Ford government are on the right track when it comes to reducing red tape and ensuring that industry can remain competitive and invest in their operations across the Province.
Thank you again for the opportunity this morning.