Report on the Institute of Municipal Assessors Conference

By Michael Taylor, AAM

[lead]I had the privilege of attending the 59th Annual Institute of Municipal Assessors (IMA) Conference in Ottawa, Ontario as AAOM’s Representative.[/lead].

The three day conference ran from June 14th to June 16th and the theme of the conference was Trust, Transparency, Accountability… The Values of Tomorrow.

The Conference was held at the Delta Ottawa City Center and began on Sunday night with a Welcome Dinner and a Meet and Greet Reception. The reception afforded me the opportunity to meet several assessors from across the Province of Ontario.

[aesop_character img=”http://aaom.mb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Michael-Taylor-in-Great-Hall.jpg” name=”Michael Taylor” caption=”Yours Truly (Mike Taylor) at the IMA Conference. Photo taken in the Great Hall at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
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The AAOM’s membership consists mainly of assessors employed by the Province and the City of Winnipeg Assessment Departments. The IMA’s members are mainly employed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation – MPAC, which is the largest assessment jurisdiction in North America.  Lawyers and tax agents who hold the MIMA designation also make up the membership numbers.

Monday June 15th  started at 7:30 a.m. with registration, leading into a welcome from the two conference chairs and the current IMA president, Sean Martin. Opening ceremonies followed with greetings from the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, who spoke at length about the recent developments in that City and the future developments taking place in preparation for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. Martin Marshall from the IAAO and Jack Walker from IPTI also brought greetings from their associations.

Professional keynote speaker Jody Urquart then presented a passionate and inspiring session about difficulties in the workplace and the use of humour as a key to fulfillment in our jobs. Jody’s dynamic presentation was perfect for a Monday morning as it balanced humour with the conference’s ethical theme as it related to the assessment profession.

A panel presentation was next on the Agenda featuring senior representatives from  CPTA (Canadian Property Tax Association), the Ontario Municipal Tax Revenue Association, the Assessment Review Board, and Antoni Wisniowski the President and CAO of MPAC.

The next two speakers were Pedro Antunes, the chief economist for the Conference Board of Canada, who spoke about the economic outlook specific to Ontario, and Dan Mathieson, the chair of the board of directors, whose emotionally charged presentation seemed to inspire the assessors and anger the tax agents in attendance.

After lunch, the delegates were given the choice of attending two of three panel discussions.  The panel workshops were on case law decisions in the past year, leases, and what to look for in a lease document, and highest and best use of properties.  Each workshop had a panel of senior representatives who gave a range of opinions and points of view on the topics. This had the greatest impact in the case law presentation as members of the panel had conflicting views and opinions on decisions that had been passed.

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#000000″ align=”left” size=”2″ quote=”The recently developed IMA Code of Ethics and Professional Standards has also been adopted by the Alberta Assessor’s Association. The impact of having the AAOM and SAAA also adopt these ethics and standards was hotly debated.” parallax=”off” direction=”left”]

 

Monday evening after the sessions had concluded, a shuttle bus delivered the delegates to and from the Canadian Museum of Nature where the President’s Reception and Banquet took place. There I had the chance to network with SAAA president Brandon Danielson, IMA assessors, and representatives from the Appraisal Institute of Canada.  The recently developed IMA Code of Ethics and Professional Standards has also been adopted by the Alberta Assessor’s Association. The impact of having the AAOM and SAAA also adopt these ethics and standards was hotly debated.

Tuesday morning the conference workshops began with Justice Peter Lauwers discussing the Natural Justice in Assessment Hearings. The IMA’s AGM followed after which two special presentations about mediation skills and ethics in assessment took place.  Tuesday’s sessions closed in the early afternoon as many attendees had a long commute back to their homes in various parts of  Ontario.

I spent the afternoon with Brandon,  looking over and debating the IMA’s and AAA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Standards. I am hoping to have further discussions with the AAOM executive before the Saskatchewan Assessment Appraisers’ Conference on September 23rd and 24th in Saskatoon.

 

Submitted by Mike Taylor, A.A.M.

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