Amendment to the Act respecting land use planning and development: park taxes for the benefit of schools

Written by Jonathan M. Fecteau

Much has been written with regard to the abolition of school boards since the announcement of Bill 40 entitled An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance (hereinafter the “Act”). Much has been written with regard to the abolition of school boards since the announcement of Bill 40 entitled An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance (hereinafter the “Act”). Adopted on February 8, 2020, the purpose of this Act is mainly to revise the organization and governance of the school boards, which are to become school service Centres (hereinafter “SSC”). Concerning immovable acquisitions, the Act provides that SSC may now require a municipality to transfer ownership of an immovable required for the achievement of their objectives, free of charge.

In this regard, the Act amends the Act respecting land use planning and development (hereinafter “ALPD”) provisions relating to land transfer for establishment and maintenance of parks, better known as “park tax”. In fact, as of July 1, 2020, the Act will allow municipalities to charge as a park tax any financial contribution and/or land transfer aiming to meet SSC requests for a school construction.

ALPD’s new article 117.16.1 even allows a municipality to use the park tax mechanism to obtain a transfer of land representing more than 10% of the project site. In this case, the Act provides that municipalities must pay the owner an amount equivalent to the value of the portion of land exceeding that percentage. This value is established according to the valuation concepts applicable in expropriation and may be contested by the municipality or by the owner before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec.

This legislative amendment changes real estate projects’ cadastral operations dynamics. In the event a need for a school is detected on a real estate project site, the SSC and the municipalities will now be able to require the transfer of land for its construction. Real estate developers will therefore have to take this new requirement into account before beginning any subdivision or construction projects.

To find out more about park tax payable in connection with a cadastral operation or a construction permit application, contact one of our professionals in municipal law, who will give you straight facts about this essential aspect of real estate development.

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