Homeowners who live in the aging industrial city of Oshawa pay the highest property taxes in the GTA, while those who live in Toronto and Milton — the country’s fastest growing community — pay among the lowest municipal taxes, a Toronto Star survey has found.
As Toronto City Council begins final debate today on a budget that includes a proposed 3.75 per cent tax hike, the survey takes a comparative look at tax rates and what drives them in the 25 municipalities that make up Greater Toronto.
The large disparity in property tax rates across the GTA is an indication of the very different challenges faced by the 25 municipalities that make up the most densely populated region of Canada.
The survey also found Toronto and Oshawa, which represent extremes on the tax spectrum, are grappling with the underlying issues in their own unique ways.
In Toronto, where the financial burden is borne more heavily by the commercial-industrial sector, a 15-year plan that began in 2005 is gradually shifting more of the tax responsibility onto homeowners.
Chris Brown, Oshawa’s director of finance, acknowledges that residents in his city face significantly higher taxes than others.
“We are in a major investment time frame right now,” says Brown. “There’s a cost to that, but we hope there’s a payoff down the road.”

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