OAKVILLE—The Ontario government has reiterated its commitment to ease the burden on Ontario’s Royal Canadian Legion halls by ensuring they pay no property tax, and look forward to tabling legislation shortly. This news has received strong support locally.
“It is very good news,” stated Carrie Lewis, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch (RCL) 514 in Gore Bay, of the government announcement on November 5. “We’ve been fortunate at this branch to have written to (town) council who in every term of council have provided the Legion a break on municipal taxes.”
“Legion halls play a vital role in communities across Ontario for veterans and their families, and we want to make sure they can continue to provide services for years to come,” said Premier Doug Ford, addressing veterans, family members and guests at the 17th annual veterans’ appreciation luncheon in Oakville on November 5. “Our veterans have paid their fair share to Ontario and to Canada. We remain committed to ensuring Legion halls in Ontario pay no property tax. It is the least we can do to recognize and honour the service and sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.”
“That’s great news, and about time,” said Jim Woods, past president of RCL 514 in Gore Bay. “This will be a big boost for our Legion,” he said, noting currently the Legion pays about $6,000 a year in taxes. “It’s going to be great and will help us out a lot.”
“It is very nice that the province has recognized Legions this way,” said Ms. Lewis. She noted, “It has been a struggle for Legion branches all over the country, and this announcement by the government will be a great help to Legion branches like ours.”
The Royal Canadian Legion offers important services for Canada’s military veterans, including assistance in adjusting back into civilian life, advocacy on behalf of veterans, financial assistance programs, as well as support for families and seniors. In many communities across Ontario, the local Legion hall also acts as a central hub, bringing people of all ages together as host for countless social and family-based events, a provincial release notes. It points out as well that many Legion halls in Ontario are already exempt from municipal property tax. The government’s commitment is that all property occupied by branches of the Ontario Command of The Royal Canadian Legion would be exempt from paying property tax, starting in 2019.
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet and talk with hundreds of veterans across our province. They are rightly proud of their service,” said Premier Ford. “This is just one example of how our government will do all we can to give their dedication to upholding our values and our safety the respect it deserves.”
“Veterans are Canada’s heroes,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Our government remains committed to ensuring those who have courageously fought for our country receive the honour and respect they’ve earned. We’ll continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the men and women of the Canadian Forces who have fought for democracy, freedom, and all the values we hold dear.”