The City of Ottawa saw low demand from downtown retail and commercial property owners for temporary property tax breaks following the Freedom Convoy demonstration.
Friday was the deadline for property owners to apply for the Convoy Occupation Tax Deferral Program, which allows property owners to defer their preliminary and final tax bills until September 15.
The city estimated 900 commercial and retail properties in the Centretown, Lowertown and ByWard markets were eligible for the property tax deferral program, which covered about 2,000 businesses.
Deputy City Treasurer – Revenue Joseph Muhuni told CTV News Ottawa that as of Thursday night the city had only received applications from properties covering about 180 businesses.
“The City of Ottawa is pleased to offer the Convoy Occupation Tax Deferral Program to owners of retail and commercial properties impacted by the convoy occupation,” Muhuni said in a statement on Friday.
“The program offers some relief to eligible properties by pushing back their provisional and final property tax deadlines to September 15.”
In order to qualify for the Convoy Occupation Tax Deferral Program, the property owner had to show that they had experienced financial difficulties as a result of the three-and-a-half week occupation of downtown streets. Property owners who qualify and receive the deferral must pass on the financial relief to their commercial and retail tenants, the city said.
Residential properties, large commercial office buildings over 7,500 square feet, and properties that make payments in lieu of taxes are not eligible for the tax deferral program.