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Proposed tax bill for energy companies on Elizabeth Metis Settlement struck down in court

A proposed property tax hike in a Lakeland Metis Settlement has been struck down in a Calgary courtroom. The Elizabeth Metis Settlement was preparing to go ahead with a levy against four natural resource companies with holdings in the area.

The rate had been set at 187 percent of assessed values. Since all the residents and Métis-owned businesses on the settlement are tax-exempt, it would have equated to a tax bill for Canadian Natural Resources, Husky Energy, Cresent Point Energy and Altagas Holdings going from $624,000 to around $25 million, said Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Nick Devlin in a decision posted online.

The settlement had argued in court that the companies had no standing to challenge it under the provincial Metis Settlement Act. In making his decision, Devlin said the proposed tax bill would have been unprecedented.

The idea for the tax changes came as the settlement planned major infrastructure repairs on virtually all buildings located in it, including homes.

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Devlin made mention he was sympathetic to the need for funding to help the community.

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