NAV Canada, et al. v. Assessor of Area #01 - Capital, et al.

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Municipal law – Taxation – Property assessments – Administrative law – Standard of review – Lessee of subject properties has legislated monopoly on provision of civil air navigation services in Canada – Assessment Board assessed property at nominal value – Court of Appeal remitted matter to Board for reconsideration – Under assessment law, what is the proper approach to determine the market value of real property for which there is no identifiable market in circumstances where the lands and improvements are restricted to a single purpose – To what extent can a court entertain questions outside of those questions referred to it in a stated case – Whether an administrative tribunal acts unreasonably in following the law in place at the time of the hearing, which law is subsequently overturned.

The Property Assessment Appeal Board was asked to assess five properties leased by NAV Canada, which has a legislated monopoly on the provision of civil air navigation services in Canada. The use of the leased properties is restricted to the provision of civil air navigation services by agreements between the Federal Crown, NAV Canada, and the property owners, and the rents are nominal. The Board applied Southam and Pacific Newspaper Group Inc. v. British Columbia (Assessor of Area No. 14 – Surrey/White Rock), 2008 BCCA 284, and Pacific Newspaper Group Inc. v. British Columbia (Assessor of Area No. 14 – Surrey/White Rock), 2008 BCCA 284. Finding no competitive and open market, the Board assessed each property at a nominal value. The Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed an appeal by stated case under the Assessment Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 20, s. 65. A five-member panel of the Court of Appeal overruled Southam and applied Montreal v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, [1952] D.L.R. 81 (J.C.P.C.), aff’g [1950] S.C.R. 220. It held that the Board had erred in law in finding that the limitations on the properties left them valueless, in determining their market value according to the business carried out on the properties, and by misinterpreting or misapplying s. 19(5) of the Assessment Act. It remitted the matter to the Board for reconsideration in light of these reasons.

Lower Court Rulings

November 5, 2014
Supreme Court of British Columbia

L130098, 2014 BCSC 2088
Appeal dismissed; stated questions posed by the Assessors and by the District of North Saanich answered in the negative
February 16, 2016
Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver)

CA42401, CA42404, 2016 BCCA 71
Appeal allowed; stated questions answered in the affirmative; matter remitted to the Board