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Essex MFTIP workshop a success!

Friday, November 24th 2006 9:31:48am

Essex MFTIP workshop a success!

125 turn out for workshop aimed at reducing property tax through forest stewardship

(Essex, Ontario, November 24, 2006)  Last night, 125 local residents gathered at the Essex Civic Centre to learn how to reduce the property taxes on their forested land by up to 75 per cent through Ontario's Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP). The Ontario Forestry Association, with the support of the Trees Ontario Foundation, Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Essex County Stewardship Network, hosted the workshop. This was the final workshop of the 2006 province-wide, 15 location tour. Total attendance for the workshops exceeded 1,000 people.

MFTIP is a voluntary program which provides significant property tax reductions for landowners who satisfy certain basic criteria such as having over 10 acres of forested land and a willingness to prepare and follow a forest management plan. Upon acceptance into the program, the forested portion of the property is re-assessed as managed forest and taxed at one-quarter of the residential tax rate in the following year.

Amendments by the McGuinty government in how privately held forested land is assessed has created renewed interest in MFTIP. These enhanced changes work toward fulfilling the MFTIP program's goal of bringing greater fairness to the property tax system by valuing forested land according to its current use, while increasing landowner awareness about forest stewardship.

Thursday's workshop outlined how landowners can apply for MFTIP, set objectives for their property, prepare a forest stewardship plan and identify local resources to assist them in achieving their management goals. Those who attended came away with the knowledge and tools to properly manage their forest, whether for recreation, wildlife habitat or forest products. In the end, these landowners will benefit from a reduced property tax rate, while playing a significant role in the stewardship of Ontario's private forests.

Ron Wu-Winter, with the Ontario Forestry Association, emphasized that these workshops are an important opportunity, "not only because the MFTIP program represent a simple way to reduce your annual property tax payments, but because it ensures the proper stewardship of Ontario's forests. That's something every Ontarian should care about."

Mr. Wu-Winter noted the attendance and contribution of representatives from the Essex Region Conservation Authority, the Essex County Stewardship Network and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

For those who missed last night's workshop, information about the MFTIP program and possible future workshops and locations is available at www.oforest.on.ca or by calling the Ontario Forestry Association at 1-800-387-0790.

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For more information, contact:

Rob Keen                                                                                
Program Manager, Trees Ontario Foundation                                          
416.493.4565 or toll free, 1.800.387.0790 or email info@oforest.on.ca

Jonathan Laderoute
e|c|o media relations
416.972.7401

The Ontario Forestry Association is a non-profit, registered charity dedicated to raising awareness and
understanding of Ontario's forests, and to developing stewardship of forest ecosystems. Visit www.oforest.on.ca .

The Trees Ontario Foundation (TOF) is a non-profit foundation established in 1994 as an independent arm of the Ontario Forestry Association. TOF was formed with a mandate to promote and support tree planting initiatives in Ontario. Visit www.treesontario.on.ca.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority was established in 1973 to manage the natural resources of the Essex Region in partnership with member municipalities, other levels of government and local communities.

The Essex County Stewardship Network is one of 43 community stewardship councils established across Ontario. We are part the  Ontario Stewardship program, which the Ministry of Natural Resources established in the mid 1990's to help private landowners with their land management needs .