The Modernized Municipal Government Act centralizes property assessment for designated industrial properties under the provincial assessor, who took responsibility for the assessment of these properties on January 1, 2018.
Centralization will lead to improved consistency and equity for industrial taxpayers and lower administrative costs for municipalities. Costs associated with the assessment function will be paid for by industry.
The information provided here will evolve as the centralized industrial property assessment transition moves forward and will be subject to change.
Designated industrial properties
Designated industrial property includes:
- properties regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator, National Energy Board, Alberta Utilities Commission
- linear property (wells, pipelines, railways, telecommunications and electric power systems) assessed by the province
- property designated as a ‘major plant’ by the Alberta Machinery and Equipment Assessment Minister's Guidelines (for example, large refineries, upgraders, pulp and paper mills)
- land and improvements associated with property regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Utilities Commission or National Energy Board and major plants
Machinery and equipment on a site not classified as a designated industrial property will continue to be assessed by a municipal assessor.
Non-linear tower sites are not designated industrial property. There is no change in how these properties are assessed. Land, building and fencing will remain the responsibility of the municipality. The tower and equipment are designated industrial property (linear).
Grain handling facilities
Grain handling facilities are excluded from the list of major plants.
Electric sub stations
As the Alberta Utilities Commission regulates electric power facilities, all improvements and land directly related or ancillary to the facility on the site are designated industrial property (linear).
Privately held properties with railway
The railway inside the right-of-way would be considered linear property and therefore designated industrial property.
For rail outside the right-of-way, the trackage is railway. However, the land is not included and will be assessed by the municipal assessor.
The rail or trackage is linear railway but does not include the parcel that it is located on. The land will remain assessed with the parcel by the local assessor.
A large sawmill or paper plant included on the major plants list will be designated industrial property (see above criteria).
Vacant land and storage sites
Vacant lands owned by Canadian National Railway are not designated industrial property.
Vacant storage sites owned by oilfield operators (for example, long run exploration) would not be considered designated industrial property if they are separate legal parcels, not used in the oil or gas process and not regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator (National Energy Board or Alberta Utilities Commission). This is subject to the minister's approval.
Hybrid assessment delivery model
Centralization of designated industrial property assessments is a major change and a phased approach is required to ensure the transition is completed successfully.
Starting January 1, 2018, Municipal Affairs began providing direct assessment of some of the designated industrial properties while contracted municipalities under the direction of the provincial assessor will provide the remaining assessments.
The contracts under this hybrid assessment delivery model are between the Government of Alberta and the respective municipality.
On July 2, 2019, Municipal Affairs integrated a portion of the remaining work, and is on schedule to continue integrating the contracted municipalities by the end of 2021.
Centralization is not intended to increase or decrease assessment. It is intended to provide the right assessment. The aim is to promote consistency and equity in assessment through one centralized function.
The intention is to provide uniform and consistent assessment provisions for large, specialized and complex facilities. Industries beyond the energy sector have assets that will also benefit from a centralized approach to valuation.
The criteria used to determine the major industrial plant for the first year are as follows:
- for oil and gas related plants: 2016 assessment of more than $30,000,000
- for other types of plants: 2016 assessment of more than $35,000,000 and the 2016 machinery and equipment assessment is more than 50% of its total assessment
- no agriculture related plants, including fertilizer plants
Major plants list
The preliminary list of major plants was developed using publicly available information and internal knowledge.
With the 2018 assessment year, the provincial assessor and the local assessor will be working closely to ensure the list is as complete as possible for the current and future years of assessment. This list will always be changing from year to year.
Resources and templates
- 2019 Designated Industrial Property Assessment Municipal Integration List (PDF, 79 KB)
- ARMAA Conference 2018 update presentation (PDF, 325 KB)
- Organizational chart: Assessment Services Branch (PDF, 121 KB)
Connect with the Centralized Industrial Property Assessment Unit: