TransAlta Generation Partnership, et al. v. His Majesty the King in Right of the Province of Alberta, et al.
(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)
Administrative law - Judicial review - Administrative law — Judicial review — Standard of review to be applied when conducting judicial review of regulations — Whether legal framework for vires review of delegated legislation is: set out in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65; a unique, “hyperdeferential” approach; or neither — Whether discriminatory regulations that target an individual or small group for adverse treatment benefit from a presumption of validity, or should be presumptively invalid — Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-26.
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Applicants 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.
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 brought an application 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 chambers judge held that the Linear Guidelines were within the Minister’s authority and were lawfully enacted, and dismissed the application. A unanimous Court of Appeal dismissed TransAlta’s appeal.
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