On Wednesday, the Appeal Court in Toronto, Ont., ruled that the YMCA will have to pay property taxes on four buildings it leases in Toronto.
The YMCA previously claimed exemption from paying property taxes on these buildings based on the YMCA Act, a provincial law stating that buildings, land, and equipment of the YMCA are exempt from property taxes.
In June of 2014, Superior Court of Justice Paul Perrell ruled that since the law includes the word “of,” the law only applies to property the YMCA actually owns, not leased property.
Following this ruling, the YMCA filed an appeal arguing that Perrell’s interpretation of the word “of” was too narrow.
To support its case, the YMCA presented a decision from 2007 made in Kitchener, Ontario where its Superior Court ruled that the YMCA Act did include leased property for property-tax exemption.
However, Toronto’s Superior Court did not support this ruling and insisted, “The YMCA Act contains no such amending language that would suggest that leased properties occupied by the association were intended to be exempt from taxation.”
Ultimately, the Appeal Court supported the original ruling that the YMCA will pay property taxes on its leased properties in Toronto, stating, “It is a principle of statutory interpretation that every word that is used in a statute is to be given meaning.”