Friday 29 March 2024

Canadian territory’s capital imposes property tax on churches

Iqaluit, Nunavut (Canada)

The Catholic Church in Iqaluit is asking the city council to exempt them from property taxes over concerns over debt or face the possibility of legal action or a human rights complaint.

“I’m going to humbly make this suggestion to you, is the step that you should take is to repeal this bylaw,” said John Maurice who was part of a church delegation who appealed to council. “It can probably be tested by the human rights tribunal, by the courts, through petitions.”

In 2022, the city passed a bylaw requiring charities and religious institutions to pay property taxes.

Various other churches in Iqaluit get partial exemptions.

The Pentacostal, Jehovah Witnesses and the Anglican Church only pay 25 per cent of its total property tax.

Non-profit and charitable organizations in Iqaluit such as shelters get full exemptions.

Our Lady of the Assumption, the only church in the city, has so far paid its share.

According to Maurice’s presentation, the Church paid $41,000 in taxes in 2023.

“We would venture to guess that most of the institutions will not be able to pay the amount imposed upon them and they will enter into debtor status with the city,” said Maurice.

The city hasn’t decided on the appeal.

“Thank you all for the presentation. I’m fairly certain that this is an item that the council will take at an upcoming meeting,” said Counc. Romeyn Stevenson. “I think it will be readdressed.”