Legal Action Expected After Toronto Vote

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Toronto City Council has voted in favour of a bylaw requiring a tax which could see the city’s out-of-home advertising industry – including digital OOH – pay up to $10.4 million a year, as well as demanding that any new outdoor advertising concept be submitted to city staff before approval by Council. (Ed: See several previous articles on this beginning last May.)

“OMAC members are very disappointed at the outcome of the City Council meeting,” says Rosanne Caron, president of the Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada which has been fighting the proposal on behalf of its members.

“The Council voted in favour of an annual tax of $10.4 million, effective April, 2010,”
says Caron. “There is an opportunity to impact the level of taxation if the outdoor companies provide audited financial statements to the city by March 31, 2010.

“In the end, the City chose not to believe the Nielsen and OMAC member company revenue numbers provided. The sign by-law team estimated the industry’s revenue based on the assumption that the companies get 70% ofrate card and are 100% sold out. I wish that was the case as outdoor advertising would have a higher share of ad revenue.”

OMAC and its members will be reviewing the decisions made by the Council and will look at our options before we determine next steps – which could include legal action, says Caron.

She says that the ‘new advertising concepts’ mentioned are believed to refer to anything different than the current sign types that are permitted in the city. It does not apply to the actual creative.

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