Government Introduces Improved Appeal Process

Manitoba PostNews

WINNIPEG – The province is addressing the delays that have been a source of frustration for many who file assessment appeals in Manitoba.

Minister Jef Wharton said in a release, the Manitoba Municipal Board is launching an innovative new appeal management process to address the long-term challenge of outstanding assessment appeals.

“Appellants have expressed frustration with the unacceptable delays for hearings and the Manitoba Municipal Board is addressing those concerns,” said Wharton. “This new process fits within the board’s current budget and supports our commitment to an efficient, effective and sustainable tribunal process for Manitobans seeking to appeal their property assessment.”

The board held significant consultations with the City of Winnipeg and provincial assessment departments and tax agents who currently have outstanding appeals. To date, approximately 2,500 files remain open, some dating back to 2009.

“Clearing the outstanding appeals has been an uphill battle, so we developed a way to do this more efficiently,” said Jeff Bereza, chair, Manitoba Municipal Board. “Our board is looking forward to implementing the new appeal management process, which we strongly believe will address the challenges stakeholders identified with the previous system.”

Currently, all appeals are scheduled for hearings, which can be time-consuming and costly. The new appeal management process will use existing preliminary hearing protocols to more quickly move appeals through to settlement discussions or case management. Hearings will only be held for more complex situations. It is estimated this process will address the outstanding assessment appeals within the next two years.

“The City of Winnipeg is supportive of efforts by the Manitoba Municipal Board to modernize the appeal management process in order to better meet citizens’ demands,” said Mel Chambers, city assessor with the City of Winnipeg. “The City of Winnipeg has expressed its commitment to the new process and I am hopeful that significant progress on the current backlog of appeals can be addressed.”

The importance of this new process was recognized by Derek Johnson, MLA for the Interlake, who spoke at the Association of Assessing Officers of Manitoba conference in Winnipeg today on behalf of the minister.