Summary

40570

TransAlta Generation Partnership, et al. v. His Majesty the King in Right of the Province of Alberta, et al.

(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

Administrative law — Judicial review — Whether 2017 Alberta Linear Property Assessment Minister’s Guidelines discriminate without statutory authority — Either way, whether they are consistent with intent of Municipal Government Act, as required by s. 322(1)(i) — What standard of review applies — Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-26, ss. 322, 322.1.

Summary

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Appellants TransAlta Generation Partnership and TransAlta Generation (Keephills 3) (collectively, “TransAlta”) own coal-fired electrical power generation facilities in Alberta. The value of those properties is assessed as “linear property” for municipal taxation purposes. The Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-26, defines the term “linear property” and authorizes the Minister of Municipal Affairs to establish guidelines for assessing its value.

In 2016, TransAlta entered into off-coal agreements with the province pursuant to which they agreed to cease coal-fired emissions by December 31, 2030; in exchange, the province agreed to pay TransAlta substantial sums annually for 14 years.

On December 19, 2017, the Minister established the 2017 Alberta Linear Property Assessment Minister’s Guidelines (the “Linear Guidelines”), which set out the procedure for calculating all linear property assessments. The Linear Guidelines do not allow for off-coal agreements to be considered in assessing depreciation. TransAlta applied for judicial review which, among other things, challenged provisions of the Linear Guidelines that prevented the off-coal agreements from being considered in the assessment of depreciation as being ultra vires.

The application judge found that the Linear Guidelines, including the impugned provisions, were within the Minister’s authority and lawfully enacted. She dismissed the application for judicial review. The Court of Appeal dismissed TransAlta’s appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

January 15, 2021
Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

1801 08655, 2021 ABQB 37
Application for judicial review dismissed
November 23, 2022
Court of Appeal of Alberta (Calgary)

2022 ABCA 381, 2101-0030AC
Appeal dismissed