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User Fee Design by Canadian Municipalities: Considerations Arising from Case Law

Author

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  • Tedds, Lindsay M.
  • Farish, Kelly I.E.

Abstract

User fees have become increasingly relied upon by municipal governments in Canada to fund municipal services due to the combined pressures from federal and provincial devolution of responsibility and the political costs of raising property taxes. While there is a substantial body of literature regarding the rationale for user fees, little information exists about how to design and implement a user fee such that it satisfies the Canadian legal requirements that have been established for the formal classification of user fees. We provide a detailed review of the existing Canadian case law to highlight key legal, technical, and administrative issues that present design and implementation challenges for user fees for Canadian municipalities. Through this analysis we highlight the key legal tests for user fees and discuss their application in case law. The application and interpretation of these tests in the case law draw attention to several unresolved issues and inconsistencies that need to be navigated and resolved by the courts.

Suggested Citation

  • Tedds, Lindsay M. & Farish, Kelly I.E., 2014. "User Fee Design by Canadian Municipalities: Considerations Arising from Case Law," MPRA Paper 96914, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:96914
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/96914/1/MPRA_paper_96914.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Catherine Althaus & Lindsay M. Tedds & Allen McAvoy, 2011. "The Feasibility of Implementing a Congestion Charge on the Halifax Peninsula: Filling the "Missing Link" of Implementation," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 37(4), pages 541-561, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tedds, Lindsay M. & Euper, Brock, 2019. "The Costs of Energy-related Linear Property on Local Governments in Canada and the Role of That Local Government Revenue Tool Can Play in Addressing these Costs," MPRA Paper 96918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Tedds, Lindsay M., 2018. "Non-tax Revenue for Funding Municipal Governments: Take-up, Constraints, and Emerging Opportunities," MPRA Paper 96919, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Tedds, Lindsay M., 2019. "Who Pays for Municipal Governments? Pursuing the User Pay Model," MPRA Paper 96915, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Tedds, Lindsay M., 2017. "User charges for Municipal Infrastructure in Western Canada," MPRA Paper 96920, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fees; User Charges; Municipal Finance; Tax Law;

    JEL classification:

    • H27 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other Sources of Revenue
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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