Rogers Communication Inc. v British Columbia  
Assessors of Areas #01, 08, 09, 10, 11, 14,15, 20,  
2, 23, 45, 50 and 53), 2022 BCSC 1688 ()  
(
2
Legislation  
Decisions  
Adams v. B.C. (W.C.B.), 18 ACWS (3d) 256, 42 BCLR (2d) 228, [1989] BCJ No 2478 (QL) (not  
available on )  
Crown Forest Industries Ltd. v. British Columbia (Assessor of Area No. 24 - Cariboo), [1985]  
BCJ No 1208 (QL) (not available on )  
No summaries or commentary from the legal community available. Add your own  
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  
Citation: Rogers Communication Inc. v. British Columbia (Assessors of Areas #01, 08,  
0
9, 10, 11, 14,15, 20, 22, 23, 45, 50 and 53),  
2
022 BCSC 1688  
Date: 20220928  
Docket: S2111107  
Registry: Vancouver  
Between:  
Rogers Communications Inc.  
Petitioner  
And  
British Columbia, Assessors of Areas #01, 08, 09, 10, 11, 14,15, 20, 22, 23, 45, 50  
and 53  
Respondents  
Before: The Honourable Madam Justice Sharma  
Reasons for Judgment  
Counsel for the Petitioner:  
J. McLachlan  
B. Yep  
N. Wong  
A. Lee, Articled Student  
Counsel for the Respondents:  
M. Watson  
C. Simkus  
S. Evans, Articled Student  
Place and Date of Trial/Hearing: Vancouver, B.C.  
February 8, 2022  
Place and Date of Judgment:  
Vancouver, B.C.  
September 28, 2022  
Table of Contents  
Paragraph Range  
I. FACTS  
[6] - [36]  
[8] - [12]  
A. Assessment of Fibre-Optic Cables  
B. Relevant Legislation  
[13] - [25]  
[15] - [22]  
[23] - [25]  
[26] - [36]  
[37] - [37]  
[38] - [84]  
[40] - [57]  
1
. The Roll and Revised Roll  
. Supplementary Rolls  
2
C. Events Relevant to the 2021 Roll  
II. ISSUES  
III. IS MANDAMUS AVAILABLE?  
A. Discretion under Section 12(4)  
B. Nature of Assessor’s Duties under the Act [58] - [82]  
C. Conclusion [83] - [84]  
IV. ADEQUATE ALTERNATIVE REMEDY [85] - [93]  
V. EXERCISE OF DISCRETION  
A. Green Affidavit  
[94] - [110]  
[97] - [105]  
[106] - [109]  
[110] - [110]  
[111] - [117]  
[118] - [118]  
B. Alleged Political Considerations  
C. Conclusion  
VI. DOES S. 12(6) BAR RELIEF?  
VII. CONCLUSION  
[
1] The petitioner is a communications and media company (“Rogers”). As such, it is  
assessed taxes on, among other things, its fibre-optic cables.  
[
3]  
The respondents are each responsible for assessing property for the purpose of  
taxation within specific regions of British Columbia. Their powers and duties are  
circumscribed by the Act. For convenience, I will refer to the respondents collectively as “BC  
Assessment”. BC Assessment is the common name for the corporation British Columbia  
Assessment Authority. It was established by legislation and is continued under s. 3(1) of the  
Act.  
[
4]  
Rogers submits that the assessment roll for the 2021 taxation year (the “2021 Roll”)  
contain errors as outlined in a schedule attached to its petition. It contends those errors have  
led to an overpayment of approximately $2.2 million. It also alleges BC Assessment has been  
aware of the errors and has refused to correct them.  
[
5] Taxes for the 2020 taxation year (based on information submitted in 2019) have been  
paid. Although Rogers believes errors in the assessment roll for the 2020 taxation year (the  
2020 Roll”) also led to a significant overpayment for that year, it is not seeking a revision to  
020 Roll for those taxes.  
2
I. FACTS  
[
6] Most of the facts are not disputed. Rogers owns and operates thousands of kilometres  
of fibre-optic cable in British Columbia and other provinces. A fibre-optic cable contains one  
or more optical fibres used to transmit data. These cables can be installed in buildings,  
trenches, conduits or even submerged under water. Fibre-optic cables that are currently being  
used to transmit data are termed “lit", while those not currently used to transmit data are  
dark".  
[
7]  
The individual optical fibres within a cable transmit data independently from one  
another. Therefore, Rogers is able to, and does, sell or trade ownership of optical fibres within  
its cables. Those arrangements are governed by Irrevocable Rights of Use Agreements. The  
result is that Rogers does not own all optical fibres within its fibre-optic cables.  
A. Assessment of Fibre-Optic Cables  
[
8]  
Fibre-optic cables are considered improvements, which are assessed under s. 21(1)(a)  
of the Act. Therefore, rather than being assessed at their actual value, their tax rates are  
prescribed by s. 42 of the Telecommunications Corporations Valuations Regulation, B.C. Reg.  
2
26/86, which prescribes rates based on a cost per kilometre of cable after taking account of  
specific factors such as fibre type, the types and costs of installation, and a multiplier specified  
for particular locations.  
[
9]  
BC Assessment does not—and lacks the capacity to—inspect any fibre-optic cables.  
Instead, it relies on annual self-reporting by Rogers, who provides information about its fibre  
inventory, the lit/dark status of the cables, and any new cables compared to the previous year.  
[
10] Before 2019, Rogers’ self-reporting relied on the previous year's inventory of fibre-  
optic cable it had submitted to BC Assessment. For the following year, it would update that  
inventory by including new cables and identifying them as either aerial or buried.  
[
11] Certain facts in the record are disputed, and addressed later. What is not disputed is  
that, for its 2019 self-report (for the 2020 taxation year), Rogers provided a “data dump” to  
BC Assessment, which included all existing fibre-optic cables regardless of year of installation.  
That information did not exclude individual optical fibres within the cables owned by third  
parties through Irrevocable Rights of Use Agreements. Rogers submits that this reporting  
resulted in an overpayment of taxes that was carried forward into the 2021 taxation year.  
[
12] Rogers did not file a review or appeal to adjust the 2020 Roll.  
B. Relevant Legislation  
Purpose of the authority  
9
The purpose of the authority is to establish and maintain assessments that are uniform  
in the whole of British Columbia in accordance with the Assessment Act.  
Powers and duties of the authority  
1
0
For its purposes the authority has the following powers and duties:  
(
(
(
(
a) to develop and administer a complete system of property assessment;  
a.1) to give directions respecting the preparation and completion of assessment rolls;  
b) to divide British Columbia into the number of assessment areas it considers advisable;  
c) to develop and maintain programs for the education, training and technical or professional  
development of assessors, appraisers and other persons qualified in property assessment  
matters;  
(
d)to prescribe and maintain standards of education, training and technical or professional  
competence for assessors, appraisers and other persons employed or engaged in property  
assessment, and to require compliance with these standards;  
(
e) if considered advisable, to authorize the officers or employees to perform technical or  
professional services, other than those required under the Assessment Act, and to set and  
charge fees for those services;  
(
f) to ensure that the general public is adequately informed respecting procedures relating to  
property assessment in British Columbia;  
(
g) to exercise and carry out other powers and duties that may be required to carry out its  
purpose, or as may be required under any other Act or order of the Lieutenant Governor in  
Council.  
[
14] BC Assessment has the ability to appoint assessors, appraisers, officers, and employees  
to carry out its duties: Authority Act, s. 13.  
1. The Roll and Revised Roll  
[
15] The Act particularizes how assessments are conducted. Section 3 creates mandatory  
duties with regard to what BC Assessment has to do each year by December 31, including  
creating the assessment roll:  
3
(1) On or before December 31 of each year, the assessor must  
(
a) complete a new assessment roll containing a list of each property that is in a municipality,  
the treaty lands of a taxing treaty first nation, Nisg ̱a 'a Lands or another rural area and that is  
liable to assessment, and  
(
b) deliver an assessment notice to each person named in the assessment roll. That roll  
determines taxation for the subsequent calendar year: s. 3(2).  
[
16] Section 31 of the Act compels the minister to appoint property assessment review  
panels (“Review Panels”) to consider annual assessments. Section 32(1) sets out the grounds  
upon which a person can file a complaint about an individual entry in an assessment roll.  
Section 32(2)–(4) specify others who may make a complaint, including the minister, local  
government, or an assessor.  
[
17] Section 38 of the Act sets out the duties and powers of the Review Panels. Among  
those, a Review Panel may direct amendments to an assessment roll: s. 38(2)(d). BC  
Assessment must ensure compliance with such a direction: s. 42(1).  
[
18] Section 10 of the Act requires an assessor to notify a Review Panel of all errors or  
omissions in the roll, with one exception. Where an owner or complainant of the property  
affected consents, the assessor can, before March 16, correct errors or omissions of individual  
entries in the roll: s. 10(2). Section 10(3) specifies circumstances that invoke the mandatory  
duty to bring errors or omissions to the attention of a Review Panel, and within that section,  
there are definitive time limits.  
[
19] An assessment roll amended pursuant to either s. 10 or s. 42 is called a revised  
assessment roll. Section 11 of the Act confirms the binding nature of a revised roll.  
1
1
The revised assessment roll is, unless changed or amended under section 12, 63 or 65  
(
(
(
(
(
(
10),  
a) valid and binding on all parties concerned, despite  
i) any omission, defect or error committed in, or with respect to, that assessment roll,  
ii) any defect, error or misstatement in any notice required, or  
iii) the omission to deliver the notice, and  
b) for all purposes, the assessment roll of the municipality, treaty lands of the taxing treaty  
first nation, Nisg ̱a 'a Lands or other rural area, as applicable, until the next revised assessment  
roll.  
[
20] Section 50 of the Act creates a right of appeal. A person may appeal to the Property  
Assessment Appeal Board (“Board”) if dissatisfied with: (i) a Review Panel decision; (ii) an  
omission or refusal of a Review Panel to adjudicate a complaint; or, (iii) an amendment to the  
assessment made pursuant to s. 10(2).  
[
21] Section 63(1)(a) of the Act requires an assessor to ensure any amendments ordered by  
the Board are made promptly.  
[
22] Section 65 of the Act states that Board decisions can be brought to the Supreme Court  
of British Columbia on questions of law:  
6
5 (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person affected by a decision of the board on appeal,  
including a local government, a taxing treaty first nation, the government, the Nisga'a Nation  
̱
or the assessment authority, may require the board to refer the decision to the Supreme Court  
for appeal on a question of law alone in the form of a stated case.  
(
2) Within 21 days after receiving the decision referred to in subsection (1), the person must  
deliver to the board a written request to refer the decision to the Supreme Court, and include  
in the request the question of law to be referred.  
2. Supplementary Rolls  
[
23] Section 12 of the Act addresses the creation of supplementary rolls. Section 12(2)–(3)  
set out circumstances in which an assessor is required to assess property on a supplementary  
roll. Although these subsections do not apply in this case, it is helpful to set them out:  
(
2) If, after the completion of an assessment roll, the assessor finds that any property or any  
thing liable to assessment  
(
a) was liable to assessment for the current year, but has not been assessed on the current  
roll, or  
(
b) has been assessed for less than the amount for which it was liable to assessment,  
the assessor must assess the property or thing on a supplementary roll, or further  
supplementary roll, subject to the conditions of assessment governing the current assessment  
roll on which the property or thing should have been assessed.  
(
3) If, after the completion of an assessment roll, the assessor finds that any property or  
any thing liable to assessment  
(
a) was liable to assessment for a previous year, but has not been assessed on the roll for that  
year, or  
(
b) has been assessed in a previous year for less than the amount for which it was liable to  
assessment,  
the assessor must assess the property or thing on a supplementary roll or further  
supplementary roll for that year, subject to the conditions of assessment governing the  
assessment roll on which the property or thing should have been assessed, but only if the  
failure to assess the property or thing, or the assessment for less than it was liable to be  
assessed, is attributable to  
(
(
(
(
c) an owner's failure to disclose,  
d) an owner's concealment of particulars relating to assessable property,  
e) a person's failure to make a return, or  
f) a person's making of an incorrect return,  
required under this or any other Act.  
24] Rogers relies on s. 12(4) for its position that BC Assessment should be compelled to  
[
issue a supplementary roll:  
4) Despite sections 10, 11 and 42, and in addition to supplementary assessments under  
(
subsections (2) and (3), the assessor may, at any time before December 31 of the year  
following completion of the assessment roll under section 3, correct errors and omissions in a  
completed assessment roll by means of entries in a supplementary assessment roll.  
[
25] BC Assessment argues, in part, that the relief sought is precluded by the statutory  
deadline in s. 12(6):  
(
6) Nothing in subsection (2), (4) or (5) authorizes the preparation of a supplementary roll,  
or the correction of a roll, for the purpose of changing or updating an assessment roll later  
than 12 months after that assessment roll is completed.  
C. Events Relevant to the 2021 Roll  
[
27] The following are what I find to be uncontroversial facts.  
[
28] BC Assessment first requested data from Rogers for preparing the 2020 Roll in August  
2
019. That information was not sent until November 2019, after several requests. BC  
Assessment relied on that report to prepare the 2020 Roll.  
[
29] Rogers engaged Altus Group (a consultant) to assist with the assessment of its fibre-  
optic cable. For convenience, my references to Rogers include actions taken by Altus Group.  
[
30] On September 2, 2020, BC Assessment requested Rogers submit information for  
preparing the 2021 Roll by September 25, 2020. After several requests, Rogers indicated on  
November 17, 2020, that the data would be provided the next day. Rogers then sent a “data  
dump” to BC Assessment and asked to be “walk[ed] through” BC Assessment’s process to  
understand how to proceed. It was concerned by the magnitude of the increase of its  
assessment compared to the previous year.  
[
31] The record contains correspondence between BC Assessment and Rogers, which  
revealed BC Assessment encountered difficulties in being able to conduct its assessment  
because of the format in which Rogers sent its information. In an email dated February 2,  
2
021, BC Assessment wrote the following:  
The first attachment is the spreadsheet we asked Rogers to fill out. …  
The second attachment is what was sent back to us. You can see there are columns deleted and  
columns added. This makes our update incredibly difficult. The columns deleted are  
important to find the data on our system.  
It is requested that companies highlight or somehow indicate any changes from the previous  
year [i.e.] change in lit/dark, additions or deletions. Rogers has not specified any changes. Due  
to this one would have to go through and check all 2,933 lines of data. The information we had  
from last year showed 2230 lines of data which would [indicate] there are 703 extra lines of  
new data. Due to the difference in reporting I am unsure if this is correct.  
Is it possible to fill in the specified columns in the spreadsheet we sent you?  
[
32] Rogers did not immediately respond. BC Assessment followed up that request with  
emails dated February 12 and March 3, 2021.  
[
33] On March 10, 2021, Rogers noted it had still not paid the 2020 municipal tax. It asked  
if there was a legislative provision that allows a property owner to “go back one year to correct  
the assessment roll…[to] reduce the 2020 tax liability”. BC Assessment replied that it was too  
late to amend the 2020 Roll, but the 2021 Roll could be amended through the supplementary  
system.  
[
34] There was a meeting on June 24, 2021, between representatives from BC Assessment  
and Rogers. One topic discussed was whether BC Assessment would exercise its discretion  
under s. 12(4) of the Act to issue a supplementary roll.  
[
35] BC Assessment did not receive accurate information from Rogers in the requested  
format until June 30, 2021.  
[
36] By July 26, 2021, BC Assessment decided not to issue a supplementary roll but,  
instead, agreed to send explanatory letters to officials for the municipalities of Vancouver,  
Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby, and Delta. Extracts from the letter follow:  
we are writing to inform you of the impact on the 2020 and 2021 assessment rolls of  
incorrectly reported fibre optic cable inventory by Rogers Canada (Rogers).  
BC’s property assessment system provides a number of opportunities for property owners to  
address errors and omissions. Owners are encouraged to review their annual assessments  
each January and engage [BC Assessment] if they have any questions or concerns.  
Furthermore, owners can seek an independent assessment review by filing a notice of  
complaint to the Property Assessment Review Panel (PARP). Rogers did not file appeals of  
their 2020 or 2021 assessment, nor did they inquire with [BC Assessment] until well after the  
appeal filing deadline.  
Errors or omissions in previous roll years are binding on all parties. Accordingly, the 2020  
roll cannot be amended regardless of Rogers’s incorrect inventory declaration.  
Given Rogers’s opportunity to inquire with [BC Assessment] and/or seek an independent  
review from the PARP, [BC Assessment] will not be issuing supplementary assessments to  
amend the 2021 roll. Notwithstanding, we are working with Rogers to ensure their 2022 roll  
inventory declaration is accurate.  
[
Italic emphasis in original.]  
II. ISSUES  
[
37] The following issues arise in this proceeding:  
a) Is mandamus available to compel BC Assessment to issue a supplementary roll pursuant  
to s. 12(4) of the Act?  
b) If the answer to the previous question is “yes”, should relief nevertheless be denied  
because there was an adequate alternative remedy?  
c) Did BC Assessment exercise its discretion for improper purposes?  
d) Is relief unavailable because of s. 12(6) of the Act?  
III. IS MANDAMUS AVAILABLE?  
[
38] Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy used to secure the performance of a public  
duty. In Karavos v. Toronto (City), [1948] 3 D.L.R. 294, 1947 326 (Ont. C.A.), the  
Ontario Court of Appeal noted that a party seeking the remedy of mandamus had to establish  
very clearly the right that it sought to protect, and that an order should not be granted in  
doubtful cases. The court further stated that the duty sought to be imposed must be “purely  
ministerial in nature, plainly incumbent upon an officer by operation of law or by virtue of his  
office, and concerning which he possesses no discretionary powers": Karavos at 297.  
[
[
39] Apotex Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), [1994] 1 F.C. 742, 1993  3004 (C.A.)  
Apotex], is a leading case on mandamus. Justice Levine helpfully distills the Federal Court of  
Appeal’s analysis in Paldi Khalsa Diwan Society v. Cowichan Valley (Regional District), 2014  
BCCA 335 [Cowichan Valley]:  
[
56] The principles applicable to a claim for mandamus relief were summarized by the  
Federal Court of Appeal in Apotex Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), 1993 3004  
FCA), [1994] 1 F.C. 742 at 766-769 (citations omitted):  
(
1
. There must be a public legal duty to act.  
2
3
. The duty must be owed to the applicant.  
. There is a clear right to performance of that duty, in particular:  
(
(
a) the applicant has satisfied all conditions precedent giving rise to the duty;  
b) there was (i) a prior demand for performance of the duty; (ii) a reasonable time to comply  
with the demand unless refused outright; and (iii) a subsequent refusal which be either  
expressed or implied, e.g. unreasonable delay;  
4
. Where the duty sought to be enforced is discretionary, the following rules apply:  
(
a) in exercising a discretion, the decision-maker must not act in a manner which can be  
characterized as "unfair", "oppressive" or demonstrate "flagrant impropriety" or "bad faith";  
(
"
b) mandamus is unavailable if the decision-maker's discretion is characterized as being  
unqualified", "absolute", "permissive" or "unfettered";  
(
c) in the exercise of a "fettered" discretion, the decision-maker must act upon "relevant", as  
opposed to "irrelevant", considerations;  
(
d) mandamus is unavailable to compel the exercise of a "fettered discretion" in a particular  
way; and  
(
e) mandamus is only available when the decision-maker's discretion is "spent"; i.e., the  
applicant has a vested right to the performance of the duty.  
5
. No other adequate remedy is available to the applicant.  
. The order sought will be of some practical value or effect.  
. The Court in the exercise of its discretion finds no equitable bar to the relief sought.  
. On a "balance of convenience" an order in the nature of mandamus should (or should not)  
6
7
8
issue.  
A. Discretion under Section 12(4)  
[
40] BC Assessment’s position is that issuing a supplementary roll pursuant to s. 12(4) is  
not mandatory, but rather subject to its discretion. Thus, mandamus cannot be issued. This  
argument is based largely on the use of the word “may” rather than “must” or “shall” in  
s. 12(4).  
[
42] BC Assessment’s position is supported by Crown Forest Industries Ltd. v. British  
Columbia (Assessor of Area No. 24 – Cariboo), [1985] B.C.J. No. 1208 (S.C.), rev’d on other  
grounds 2 B.C.L.R. (2d) 397, 1986 1055 (C.A.). The court noted that the predecessor to  
s. 12(4) conferred a “clearly discretionary” power on the assessor to correct errors or  
omissions in a completed assessment roll, and that it was “not an imperative duty”: para. 33.  
Therefore, mandamus was not available.  
[
43] Rogers submits that the court’s conclusion in Crown Forest Industries Ltd. has been  
overtaken because the Federal Court of Appeal in Apotex addressed circumstances when  
discretionary decisions may be subjected to mandamus. I do not agree. While Apotex may  
have broadened the availability of mandamus to certain types of discretionary decisions, that  
does not alter the interpretation of s. 12(4). Notably, in Apotex Justice Robertson discussed  
the discretionary decisions that may be subject to mandamus while stating that“mandamus is  
unavailable if the decision-maker's discretion is characterized as being ‘unqualified’,  
absolute’, ‘permissive’ or ‘unfettered’": Cowichan Valley at para. 55(4)(b). In my view, the  
wording of s. 12(4) is permissive.  
[
44] Rogers also submits that the word “may” in s. 12(4) should be interpreted in a  
contextual way. In support of that proposition, Rogers relies on Kerton v. Workers’  
Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2010 BCSC 644 at para. 70, rev’d on other grounds 2011  
BCCA 7, where reference is made to Ruth Sullivan, Sullivan and Driedger on the Construction  
of Statutes, 4th ed. (Markham, Ont.: Butterworths Canada, 2002) at 58, which states that “the  
use of ‘may’ implies discretion, but it does not preclude obligation.”  
[
45] It is important to note that Kerton was not necessarily endorsing the author’s view.  
Justice Rice was summarizing the tribunal decision under review, and the tribunal referred to  
that text in its decision. In any event, the quote from the text simply notes that the word “may”  
could be interpreted as obligatory if something else in the statute or circumstances “expressly  
or impliedly obliges the exercise of the power”: Sullivan at 58.  
[
1
46] Rogers also relies on Appleton & Associates v. Branch MacMaster LLP, 2020 BCCA  
87 at paras. 22–23. In those passages, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia notes that the  
use of “may” does not mean the discretionary power is unfettered; the court must consider  
whether the word “may” is “accompanied by a duty to exercise the given power”: para. 22.  
[
47] These principles are uncontroversial and consistent with the modern approach to  
statutory interpretation, whereby “the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context  
and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the  
object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament”: Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd. (Re), [1998] 1  
S.C.R. 27 at para. 21, 1998 837.  
[
48] Thus, to the extent that Rogers’ position is that s. 12(4) of the Act must be read  
together with the rest of s. 12, and in a manner that is harmonious with the rest of the  
legislation, I agree. However, doing so does not support Rogers’ position. In my view, s. 12(4)  
confers a broad discretion not subject to mandamus.  
[
49] Reading the whole of s. 12 in its ordinary sense does not support the conclusion that  
may” in s. 12(4) imposes on BC Assessment either a mandatory obligation, or a discretion  
that is qualified to the extent that mandamus is available.  
[
50] Section 12(2)–(3) sets out circumstances when the assessor “must” assess property on  
a supplementary roll. The legislature would have, again, used the word “must” in s. 12(4) if it  
intended there to be a mandatory duty to correct errors and omissions other than those  
captured by s.12(2)–(3).  
[
[
51] This view is buttressed by looking at the statute as a whole.  
52] Sections 10(1), 10(3), and 34 oblige the assessor to recommend changes to a Review  
Panel for errors and omissions. However, s. 10(2) provides that the assessor “may” amend an  
individual entry before March 16 of the year following completion of the annual assessment to  
correct an error or omission, if an owner or complainant consents.  
[
53] There are numerous other examples where the Act imposes a duty on an assessor by  
the use of “must” in the relevant section, including ss. 2; 3(1), (3)–(6); 10(1) and (3); 19(2), (5),  
7)–(8), (10) and (13); 21(1); 23(2) and (3.1); 24(2) and 24(3); 25(5); 41(1); and 42(1); this list  
(
is not exhaustive. Significantly, the legislation imposes a mandatory obligation for a  
supplementary roll in relation to Crown land if certain circumstances exist: s. 26(5).  
[
54] The prevalence of mandatory duties in the Act signified by “must” suggests that the  
legislature did not intend “may” in s. 12(4) to impose an obligatory duty.  
[
55] It is also important to note that s. 12 does not create a “right” for anyone to have a  
supplementary roll issued. Instead, it requires an assessor to make a supplementary roll in one  
of two situations: (i) property was liable to assessment for the current year, but not assessed in  
the current roll (s. 12(2)(a)); or, (ii) property was assessed for less than the amount for which  
it was liable (s. 12(2)(b)). Section 12(3) also mandates the assessor provide a supplementary  
roll for similar corrections in the previous year’s roll, but only in defined circumstances as set  
out in s. 12(3)(c)–(f).  
[
56] Consistent with s. 12(2)–(3), s. 12(4) similarly does not speak of a person being able to  
apply for or ask for a supplementary roll; rather, it states only that an assessor may, at any  
time before December 31, complete one. There are no conditions included in the legislation  
purporting to limit how the discretion in s. 12(4) should be exercised.  
[
57] For all those reasons, I conclude that s. 12(4) confers on an assessor a broad discretion  
as to when to create a supplementary roll. That does not mean the discretion can be exercised  
arbitrarily or on a capricious basis. At the very least, BC Assessment’s exercise of the  
discretion afforded by s. 12(4) must be consistent with the purposes of the legislative scheme.  
However, that does not transform the discretion into one that is anything other than  
permissive.  
B. Nature of Assessor’s Duties under the Act  
[
58] Rogers relies on Victoria Machinery v. Assessor, 2000 BCSC 225 (), 2000  
BCSC 0225, and asserts BC Assessment’s position in that case regarding what duty it has to  
ensure accuracy, contradicts its position before me. For that reason, Rogers submits BC  
Assessment’s submissions on that point before me cannot prevail.  
[
59] At issue in that case was the standing of an assessor to bring an appeal to the Board,  
when the assessor had previously agreed with the property owner that the property in  
question fell within a particular exemption. The assessor’s position subsequently changed. It  
sought to bring an appeal in order to confirm the exemption did not apply.  
[
60] The legislation stated that a person “dissatisfied” with the decision of a Court of  
Revision (the predecessor of the Review Panel) may appeal to the Board, and it was contested  
whether in these circumstances the assessor could appeal.  
[
61] The court held that the assessor could appeal, stating that “the Assessor’s statutory  
obligation to ensure accuracy and correctness of the property roll does not end at the Court of  
Revision”, and it was “required to ensure conformity and consistency of assessment with other  
properties and their assessment and exemptions”: Victoria Machinery at para. 39. Rogers  
relies on this sentence in its written submissions to argue BC Assessment has a statutory  
obligation to ensure accuracy of the assessment roll.  
[
[
62] BC Assessment contends Rogers’ reliance on Victoria Machinery is misplaced. I agree.  
63] In Victoria Machinery, the assessor was correcting what it believed was its own  
mistake in representing to the Court of Revision that the exemption applied in the first place.  
There is no dispute that on the facts before me, the errors at issue are the result of Rogers’  
self-report to BC Assessment. That difference is significant.  
[
64] Rogers submits the court’s reasoning in Victoria Machinery allowing the assessor to  
launch an appeal was based on a “mandatory” duty to ensure accuracy of the roll. It submits  
that impacts how one must interpret s. 12(4).  
[
65] I do not agree the quote relied upon by Rogers can be taken that far. In saying that BC  
Assessment’s “statutory obligation to ensure accuracy and correctness of the property roll does  
not end at the Court of Revision” (Victoria Machinery at para. 39), the court was commenting  
on the ability of the assessor to launch an appeal in circumstances where the assessor had  
initially agreed to the decision that it sought to appeal. I do not read that as the court  
purporting to overlay the entire statute with an implicit and mandatory duty to ensure the  
roll’s accuracy sufficient to found an application for mandamus.  
[
66] Moreover, if the legislature intended that BC Assessment have a mandatory duty to  
ensure the accuracy of the roll no matter what, it could have said this explicitly.  
[
67] Instead, what the legislature did is to make clear that under-assessments are subject to  
a mandatory supplemental roll. There is a mandatory duty to issue a supplementary roll if a  
property has been missed or under-assessed in the current assessment year: Act, s. 12(2).  
Section 12(3) imposes a similar obligation for properties missed or under-assessed in the  
previous year, but also strictly limits the circumstances in which a supplementary roll shall be  
issued: s. 12(3)(c)–(f).  
[
68] The issue in Victoria Machinery was an under-assessment (because an exemption was  
erroneously applied), rather than an over-assessment. Given the structure of s. 12, that  
difference is material.  
[
2
69] Rogers also relies on CPR v. British Columbia (Assessor Area No. 9 - Vancouver),  
007 BCSC 1773, to submit that the overarching object of the legislation is accuracy. BC  
Assessment submits that Rogers’ reliance on the CPR case is misplaced.  
[
70] The issue in CPR was not the power or ability of an assessor to correct errors, but the  
jurisdiction of the Board. This issue arose in the context of an appeal by way of stated case  
brought pursuant to the Act. At the time, the Act stipulated that an assessor “must use” land  
title office records for preparing assessments. Those records had an error as to who owned the  
land in question.  
[
71] The taxpayer argued that despite the use of the word “must”, the assessor was not  
under a mandatory duty to accept the land title office’s records about ownership where there  
was conclusive evidence that the records contained an error. The taxpayer argued this would  
lead to an absurd result of a person being “assessed taxes in respect of properties it neither  
owned nor occupied”: para. 26.  
[
72] The position was based on the premise that “a procedural rule such as that contained  
in s. 3(4) of the Assessment Act cannot override a substantive obligation to ensure the  
assessment roll is accurate”: para. 27. However, the court declined to address that issue.  
Justice Bruce held the issue was “beyond the terms of the question posed in the stated case”:  
para. 51. Accordingly, the court “approach[ed] the question of whether the Appeal Board erred  
in law based upon an assumption that the assessor did not err in relying on the Land Title  
Office records when assessing…the properties”: para. 51.  
[
73] The court ultimately agreed with the taxpayer that even if the assessor was bound to  
use the land title records, the Board was not. Therefore, the comments about the accuracy of  
the assessment roll were applicable only to the Board, which the court held “has an overriding  
responsibility to ensure the assessment rolls are ultimately accurate”: para. 52. In essence, the  
court held that the Board has a broader jurisdiction to correct errors in a roll than does the  
assessor.  
[
74] In my view, this case is more supportive of BC Assessment’s position than Rogers’  
because it underscores the argument that Rogers could have—but did not—seek to correct its  
error before a Review Panel or the Board.  
[
75] In addition, BC Assessment contends that the flaw in Rogers' position is to focus only  
on the accuracy of the roll. BC Assessment’s primary job is to issue the annual assessment roll.  
Under s. 3(1) of the Act, the assessor must complete a new assessment roll on or before  
December 31 of each year. That roll is the basis for property taxation by various jurisdictions  
in the subsequent tax year. Because of that, the legislation strictly limits the ability of an  
assessor to change the roll after December 31.  
[
76] Notably, the annual Review Panel process that creates the revised roll must be  
completed by March 16. The revised roll is subject to a privative clause, s. 11, although s. 11  
itself is subject to changes or amendments made pursuant to s. 12.  
[
77] BC Assessment’s point is that the goal of accuracy has to be balanced against the goals  
of timeliness and finality. This is supported by the case law.  
[
(
78] In Noel Developments Ltd. v. Vancouver (City), 1 B.C.L.R. (3d) 102, 1994  893  
C.A.) [Noel], the Court of Appeal for British Columbia commented on the importance of  
complying with the appropriate appeal procedures to achieve finality. In Noel, the plaintiff  
started an action by way of a statement of claim alleging an error in the assessment and  
overpayment of taxes. The defendant invoked s. 10 of the former Assessment Act (the  
predecessor to s. 11 of the current Act).  
[
79] The court accepted the argument that the statute barred the plaintiff's action, noting  
that s. 10 “contemplates defects, errors, omissions or mis-statements, the existence of which  
will not affect the validity of the assessment roll” (para. 13), in part, because the taxpayers had  
remedies through the statutory complainants and appeals procedure of the former Assessment  
Act (para. 14).  
[
80] Similarly, in Van. Island Recycling Centres Ltd. v. Assess. Area #04, 2002 BCCA 127  
at paras. 40–41, the court discussed s. 11 and its relationship to the overall scheme of property  
assessment and taxation. Justice Rowles, on behalf of the court, stated that “[t]o work  
effectively, the taxation scheme requires certainty and finality in the assessment process”:  
para 40. She continued by noting that s. 11 shows a clear intent that “there must be finality  
with respect to the assessment roll in order to ensure stability and predictability for the tax  
base”: para. 41.  
[
1
81] In Elk Falls Pulp & Paper Limited v. Assessor of Area #06 - Courtenay, 2005 BCSC  
126, the appellant argued that the Board had “a duty, both to the appellant and in the public  
interest, to ensure accuracy in the assessment roll and that is the predominant concern of the  
Act]”: para. 19. The court addressed that argument at paras. 31–37, noting the  
[
interdependence of the Act with the Community Charter and Local Government Act. That  
interplay is “based on timely process with provision for prompt appeals which facilitate  
necessary fiscal accuracy within defined time parameters for the taxing authority to produce  
its [financial plans] and to pass required … by-laws”: para. 36 (emphasis added). In this  
context, “timeliness is of the essence”: para. 37. See also Annacis Auto Terminals (1997) Ltd.  
v. Assessor of Area #11 – Richmond/Delta, 2003 BCCA 315, where Justice Newbury stated  
the various procedural requirements and time limitations applicable to the assessor and the  
Review Panel as set forth in the [Act] cannot simply be side-stepped": para. 55.  
[
82] Thus, I do not agree that ensuring accuracy of the roll is either explicitly or implicitly  
an independent, mandatory duty imposed on BC Assessment upon which Rogers can ground a  
claim for mandamus.  
C. Conclusion  
[
83] For all those reasons, I do not find that mandamus is available to compel BC  
Assessment to issue a supplementary roll under s. 12(4). The section is clearly permissive. It  
does not fall into the category of legislation where the use of “may” confers an obligatory duty.  
Nor is there an overriding statutory duty to ensure the accuracy of the assessment roll that  
operates to qualify the discretion afforded to BC Assessment under s. 12(4).  
[
84] In my view, this is sufficient to dismiss the petition. Although it is strictly unnecessary  
to address further issues, I do so for the sake of completeness.  
IV. ADEQUATE ALTERNATIVE REMEDY  
[
85] Even if mandamus had been available, BC Assessment submits the court ought not  
grant it because Rogers had available an adequate alternative remedy through the statutory  
appeal process.  
[
86] Rogers argues that when it filed the petition on December 21, 2021, no alternative  
remedy was available to it. It submits BC Assessment’s interpretation of the doctrine is wrong  
because one looks to whether the particular petitioner had a remedy, not whether a remedy  
may have been available through a prior commencement of proceedings.  
[
[
87] I do not agree. It is well settled law, starting with Harelkin v. University of Regina,  
1979] 2 S.C.R. 561 at para. 73, 1979 18, that an expired timeline for an alternate  
remedy does not preclude application of the doctrine. If it did, parties could simply decline to  
avail themselves of adequate remedies then come to court seeking judicial review after time  
had expired. That is contrary to the doctrine’s very purpose, which is to protect the integrity of  
the statutory process and respect the intent of the legislature: Carriere v. British Columbia  
(
The Labour Relations Board Of British Columbia), 1995 1340 (S.C.) at para. 19,  
[
1995] B.C.J. No. 2927.  
[
88] BC Assessment submits there is no evidence as to why Rogers did not attempt to  
launch a review or appeal in this case. That lack of evidence may be relevant to the exercise of  
the court’s discretion regarding whether to issue mandamus (had it been available) and, more  
generally, to grant judicial review: Adams v. British Columbia (Workers' Compensation  
Board), 42 B.C.L.R. (2d) 228 at 229, [1989] B.C.J. No. 2478 (C.A.).  
[
89] Rogers disagrees. Rogers submits it was led to believe that “timelines did not matter”  
in issuing a supplementary roll. That position is difficult to reconcile with Rogers’  
confirmation that BC Assessment did not promise or represent a supplementary roll would be  
issued. Nevertheless, I do not agree the evidence supports Rogers’ assertion.  
[
90] Nor does it explain why Rogers did not, in a precautionary way, attempt to avail itself  
of any other statutory mechanism available. Taxpayers can complain about errors in a roll to a  
Review Panel so long as they file a notice by January 31 for the year following the completion  
of the roll: Act, s. 33. Anyone dissatisfied with a Review Panel decision has a right of appeal to  
the Board under s. 50 provided notice is filed by April 30 of that year: s. 50(1) and (3). In  
addition, the Board has some ability to allow an owner to file an appeal even if a review was  
not sought before the Review Panel, subject to conditions: s. 50(1.1), (4.1)–(4.3).  
[
91] The problem Rogers had was that it did not provide an accurate final inventory to BC  
Assessment until June 2021. Rogers suggests it was thwarted in its ability to provide that  
sooner by some change in the template used by BC Assessment. It is not clear to me that the  
evidentiary record supports that proposition. As courts have recognized, the property  
assessment scheme is time-driven (paras. 77–81). The Act contains a complete code governing  
assessment appeals: Saanich (District) v. Raquet Club of Victoria Holdings Ltd., 6 B.C.L.R.  
1
49, 1978 353 (S.C.) at para. 34; Noel at para. 14.  
[
92] In any event, Rogers knew BC Assessment relies on its self-report, and Rogers is  
obviously in the best position to know the status of its own fibre-optic cables. At the hearing,  
Rogers stated there had been a change in personnel responsible for the reporting to BC  
Assessment that may account for some of the delay in responding to requests for the data until  
November in both 2020 and 2021. However, there was no explanation in the evidence as to  
why Rogers resorted to a “data dump’ in November 2020. Nor why it was unable, until June  
2
021, to provide accurate data to BC Assessment.  
[
93] All these factors would have persuaded me not to grant judicial review, even if  
mandamus had been available, based on the doctrine of adequate alternative remedy.  
V. EXERCISE OF DISCRETION  
[
94] As an alternative to its primary position, Rogers submits that, if s. 12(4) does afford BC  
Assessment discretion whether to issue a supplementary roll, it fettered its discretion,  
exercised it improperly or based its discretion on irrelevant considerations. As already noted, I  
do not agree that the discretion governing s. 12(4) is one accompanied by a duty to exercise  
the given power, and for that reason mandamus is not available (see above paras. 48–57).  
[
95] I also note that Rogers supports its position, in part, by repeating its assertion that BC  
Assessment has a statutory duty to ensure accuracy and correctness of the rolls, and that duty  
must imbue all of its actions. As already noted, I do not agree there is a statutory duty to  
ensure accuracy as described by Rogers.  
[
96] Notwithstanding those conclusions, I will address Rogers’ arguments about how BC  
Assessment exercised its discretion.  
A. Green Affidavit  
[
97] BC Assessment relies on the evidence of John Green, Director of Specialized Cost  
Properties with BC Assessment. Mr. Green disputed Rogers’ suggestion that extraneous  
considerations impacted BC Assessment’s decision not to issue a supplementary roll. He  
deposed Rogers’ request was “carefully considered” and the reasons why no supplementary  
roll was issued are set out in his affidavit.  
[
98] He started by observing that s. 12 “mandates the issuance of supplementary  
assessments to increase value for properties that were undervalued, but in contrast does not  
mandate the issuance of supplementary assessments to reduce value for properties that were  
overvalued” (emphasis in original). Rogers objected to this statement as being conclusory  
and/or improper opinion.  
[
99] Although Mr. Green was not purporting to opine on the availability of mandamus, the  
interpretation of s. 12(4) is the primary issue in this case. For that reason, I have placed no  
weight on his commentary about s. 12.  
[
100] After those opening comments, Mr. Green deposed that BC Assessment has a policy to  
discourage a trend where s. 12(4) “comes to be perceived as a remedy available to property  
owners who are unhappy with their assessments and seek a reduction, but fail to proceed  
through appropriate annual appeal mechanisms” under the Act. Because of that, BC  
Assessment’s “policy is that section 12(4) supplementary assessments should generally only be  
issued to correct errors or omissions resulting from some act or omission” by BC Assessment.  
He also deposed that BC Assessment must consider and balance the interests of all  
stakeholders, such as local governments who rely on the timelines set out in the legislation for  
annual budgets and planning.  
[
101] Rogers takes exception to Mr. Green’s evidence on these points for the following  
reasons:  
a) The policies referred to by Mr. Green were not mentioned to Rogers, and therefore BC  
Assessment is improperly attempting to bolster its position on this judicial review.  
b) Even if a policy exists to seek to balance interest of stakeholders, that would be contrary to  
BC Assessment’s duty to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the annual roll. Given my  
previous analysis and conclusions (paras. 58–82), this cannot succeed.  
c) There is no evidence to support concerns that it would be unfair to municipalities to  
correct the roll in the late summer because of their budgetary and planning processes.  
[
102] To the extent Rogers argues that Mr. Green’s evidence represents BC Assessment’s  
attempt to come up with “new” reasons for its refusal, I do not share that view. I have no  
reason to doubt that Mr. Green’s statements genuinely reflect BC Assessment’s reasoning  
when it decided not to issue a supplementary roll. In part, that is because his explanations can  
be seen as consistent with the structure of the Act and has support in the relevant case law.  
[
103] Rogers complains there is no “evidence” to support the reasoning provided by  
Mr. Green about the impact on municipalities. Evidence is not needed. Considering the  
potential impact on municipalities of issuing a supplementary roll more than seven months  
into the taxation year is simply a recognition of the structure and timelines of the property  
assessment scheme, and the importance of finality. Those considerations are consistent with  
judicial commentary (see above paras. 78–81).  
[
104] Lastly, all of the above considerations must be considered in light of what happened in  
this case. Valuing fibre-optic cable is a highly specialized process which involves applying the  
legislated rate per kilometre to the cables. BC Assessment cannot independently inspect and  
measure fibre-optic cables throughout the province and must rely on property owners to  
provide accurate inventories each year. Rogers failed to provide accurate information in a  
timely fashion despite repeated requests to do so. When it did provide the information, it gave  
BC Assessment an unformatted “data dump” containing numerous errors and inaccuracies.  
Even when attempting to correct that information, the record reveals Rogers delayed in  
responding to BC Assessment.  
[
105] There can be no dispute that responsibility for the errors in the 2021 Roll rests with  
Rogers, and were not the result of any inaction or mistake by BC Assessment.  
B. Alleged Political Considerations  
[
2
106] As noted, the parties differ about the meaning of remarks allegedly made at the June  
4, 2021, meeting. Specifically, Rogers submits BC Assessment staff expressed a concern  
about being “called on the carpet” and reprimanded if a supplementary roll was issued.  
107] Rogers goes further and relies on the evidence of one of its representatives present at  
[
that meeting, who deposed that BC Assessment staff raised a concern that was “political rather  
than purely a tax issue”. The natural implication of this remark is that, rather than fulfill their  
statutory duties, staff were concerned about the so-called “political” repercussions of their  
actions.  
[
108] In response to that allegation, Mr. Green deposed:  
In the Petition at para. 27 the Petitioners allege that at the June 24, 2021 [meeting,] BC  
Assessment staff were concerned about being “called on the carpet” and reprimanded if the  
Assessor issued supplementary assessments rolls for 2021. This is false. At no time were any  
BC Assessment personnel concerned that they would be “reprimanded” by anyone. The term  
called on the carpet”, if it was used by any BC Assessment personnel, was used in the  
following context. There are other stakeholders in the assessment process such as local  
governments. Local governments rely on the timelines set out in the legislation for annual  
budgetary and planning purposes. The Respondents must balance the interests of all  
stakeholders. If the Assessor were to issue supplementary rolls more than [halfway] through  
the calendar year, after local governments had relied on the finalized assessment rolls for their  
budgetary and planning purposes, it would be problematic for local governments. The  
Assessor must exercise discretion fairly, and in the circumstances the Assessor’s position was  
and is that it would be unfair to local governments to issue supplementary rolls at that time in  
2
021.  
[
109] Having reviewed the record, I find Rogers’ allegation is unwarranted. There is no  
foundation to the suggestion that BC Assessment was motivated by “political” concerns. I  
reiterate and emphasize the comments from the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in  
Adams at 231–232 that one should not make accusations based merely on suspicion.  
C. Conclusion  
[
110] For all those reasons, I do not agree that BC Assessment fettered its discretion,  
exercised it for any improper purpose, or based it on irrelevant considerations.  
VI. DOES S. 12(6) BAR RELIEF?  
[
111] BC Assessment argues that the Court cannot grant the remedies sought because the  
deadline for issuing supplementary rolls has passed. Section 12(4) of the Act states that  
supplementary rolls must be issued before December 31. Section 12(6) confirms that “nothing  
in subsections (2), (4) or (5) authorizes the preparation of a supplementary roll, or the  
correction of a roll later than 12 months after the roll is completed.”  
[
112] Because that deadline has passed, BC Assessment submits that it cannot be ordered by  
this Court to do something that the Act prohibits.  
[
113] Rogers filed its petition on December 21, 2021, and the hearing was set and commenced  
on December 29, 2021, but did not complete. The hearing was adjourned to February 8, 2022.  
Rogers submits it sought relief before the deadline, so BC Assessment’s argument cannot  
prevail.  
[
114] BC Assessment’s point is that the Court cannot now (after December 31, 2021) force it  
to issue a supplementary roll given the clear language of s. 12(4) and (6). It relies on Sidney  
Town of) v. R. Menzies Enterprises Ltd., 1990 1728, [1990] B.C.J. No. 1854 (S.C.).  
(
That case was primarily concerned with what is now s. 11, which does bind parties to a revised  
roll regardless of defects or errors. However, s. 11 is specifically subject to changes that may be  
made by s. 12.  
[
115] It is not clear to me that the Court would be barred from ordering the issuance of a  
supplementary roll after December 31 in the appropriate case where a party has commenced  
its judicial review before that time. However, it is likely that a party would have to  
demonstrate extraordinary circumstances to justify this remedy given the comments cited  
above about the importance of finality and timeliness in the property assessment scheme.  
[
116] I would expect that chief among such circumstances would be why the matter was not  
brought before the Court sooner. In my view, Rogers has not provided a reasonable  
explanation for why its petition was filed so close to the ultimate deadline. This point carries  
more weight in light of Rogers’ failure to avail itself of the statutory mechanisms to seek  
corrections to the roll.  
[
117] However, I find it unnecessary to explicitly decide whether the Court could order the  
issuance of a supplementary roll after December 31. Based on the reasoning in this judgment,  
and the lack of reasonable explanation for Rogers’ filing its petition on December 21, I would  
not exercise the Court’s discretion to grant judicial review even if I had found mandamus (or  
any other relief) was available. Thus, the issue of whether s. 12(6) would bar relief in this case  
need not be answered.  
VII. CONCLUSION  
[
118] For all those reasons, the petition is dismissed.  
Sharma J.”  
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