About the Calgary Assessment Review Board (ARB)
What is the ARB?
The Calgary ARB is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal established under Part 11 of the Municipal Government Act. The ARB convenes panels consisting of three members to hear and adjudicate formal complaints against assessments of property, business, and local improvements in the city of Calgary, and against a designated officer’s decision to refuse to grant a full or partial tax exemption or tax deferral for brownfield properties in the city of Calgary.
Members of the Calgary ARB are independent of the City of Calgary and the Assessment Business Unit. They are remunerated for time spent on board matters but they are not employees of the City of Calgary. Calgary ARB members are appointed by Council of the City of Calgary following an advertising campaign to recruit suitable candidates with experience in real estate, property management, property development, property appraisal, assessment or law.
Practices and procedures for the efficient administration of ARB matters and for the governance of ARB members are set out in the Calgary Assessment Review Board Policies and Procedural Rules. The Policies and Procedural Rules have been developed to recognize and promote the fundamental responsibility to maintain the integrity, competence and effectiveness of the Calgary ARB.
An ARB member must not participate in any hearing that relates to a matter in respect of which the member has a pecuniary interest, as determined in accordance with section 170 of the Municipal Government Act. Any concerns or objection of bias or conflict of interest on the part of a member hearing a complaint should be brought to the attention of the panel at the commencement of the hearing. The Calgary Assessment Review Board Policies and Procedural Rules provide direction on issues of bias and conflict of interest at sections 12 through 25.
Local and Composite Board Composition
Members of the local assessment review board (LARB) are appointed by Council of the City of Calgary to hear residential property and business assessment complaints. Members appointed by Council also sit as panel members of the composite assessment review board (CARB) to hear non-residential property assessment complaints. The presiding officer of every panel of a composite assessment review board is a provincial member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Training and Development
ARB members are required to be familiar with the role and obligations of a quasi-judicial tribunal, the jurisdiction of the Calgary ARB, the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, the Municipal Government Act and associated Regulations, City of Calgary Bylaws and the Calgary ARB’s Policies and Procedural Rules. In addition to experience in real estate, property management, property development, property appraisal, assessment or law, Board members are also required to have a sound knowledge of property valuation and assessment principles.
A member may not participate in a hearing related to assessment matters unless and until the member is qualified to do so in accordance with the regulations. The member must successfully complete a training program set or approved by the Minister, and every three years thereafter must successfully complete a refresher training program set by the Minister.
In addition to the training requirements for new and returning members set out in the regulations, members receive ongoing training and development to stay up to date with legislation, policies and relevant case law. Each spring the Calgary ARB hosts an intra-provincial training conference for all assessment review board members within the province. Presentations from members and industry experts cover valuation and assessment principles, best tribunal hearing practices, procedural rules and guidelines, and updates to relevant legal principles and authorities. Calgary ARB members also participate in training workshops provided annually by the province that focus on issues related to non-residential assessment complaints. In addition the General Chair of the Calgary ARB oversees daily meetings of members, conducts lunch and learn sessions and issues information bulletins on an ongoing basis to keep members informed of developing and emerging issues related to assessment complaints.
Members are appointed by council typically for one year terms, and since 2017 are subject to a limit of 12 terms. Performance evaluations are conducted annually to assess individual member’s competency and suitability for reappointment and to identify areas for further training and development.