Our Philosophy

SAMA’s philosophy is outlined in our Vision, Mission and Core Values statements. They provide us with the tools and guidance we need to be successful.

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Our Philosophy

Our Vision

SAMA is the recognized leader and authority on property assessment , and Saskatchewan's service provider of choice.

Our Mission

SAMA develops, regulates and delivers a stable, cost-effective assessment system that is accurate, up-to-date, universal, equitable and understandable.

To do this we focus on six key responsibilities:

Governance. We provide leadership in methods of valuation, rules, and oversight of assessment.

Assessment Services. We provide property assessment valuation services.

Information. We manage a comprehensive source of property assessment information for local governments, the Province, and other clients.

Quality . We promote and practice quality control and conduct quality assurance audits.

Communications. We consult with and inform local governments and the public about property assessment.

Innovation. We incorporate best practices and utilize appropriate new technologies.

SAMA Core Values

Integrity. We practice ethical and high professional standards. We conduct our business with honesty and respect for others, by honouring our commitments, and being accountable for our actions.

Professionalism. We are experts in our field, and value continuous learning and training to ensure we deliver quality products and services

Dedication. We are committed to improving every aspect of our property assessment system.  We see every challenge as an opportunity to succeed.

Solution-Focused. We work collaboratively with others to understand needs and provide the best possible solutions.

Mandated Provincial Services

The following services are mandated to SAMA by the provincial government, and paid for by the province:

Policy

  • Establishing and administering the policies that govern assessment practices in Saskatchewan.
  • Maintaining a public document - called an Assessment Manual - that municipalities can use to understand and apply assessment policies and practices.

Periodic Revaluations

  • Conducting revaluations on a regular basis to keep property assessments current. (Some of this responsibility also belongs to municipalities and is paid for by municipalities.)

Confirmations, Primary and Secondary Audits

  • Undertake confirmation audits of municipal assessment rolls based on assessment returns for all municipalities in Saskatchewan. On passing the audit, recommend same for confirmation by the SAMA Board of Directors.
  • This mandate is undertaken with direct accountability to the SAMA Board by the Managing Director, Quality Assurance Division, independent from the CEO.

Public Awareness

  • Providing information to the public so that property owners can better understand their assessments and the assessment system.

Consulting

  • Consulting extensively with local governments, advisory committees, liaison groups and the public on assessment issues.

Advising

  • Advising the provincial government on changes to provincial policy and legislation regarding assessment.
  • Advising municipal governments on assessment practices.

Contract Services to Local Governments

The following services are paid for by municipalities:

Periodic Revaluation . Provincial law requires municipalities to have their properties revalued every three to four years. This does not involve on-site inspections, but rather is done at SAMA's central office, using formulae and existing property data.

Reinspection. Provincial legislation requires that municipalities have all their properties periodically reinspected on-site. Reinspection ensures that information on file is accurate and includes changes to each property that may have increased or decreased its value.

Maintenance . From time to time, municipalities may request SAMA to reinspect individual properties. This is usually done where municipalities are aware of specific changes that have been made to a property's physical data.

Support of Assessment Appeals . SAMA is automatically required to participate in any ratepayer appeals regarding site valuations. SAMA provides a "support of assessment appeals" - an explanation of how the property valuation was determined. The first level of the appeal process occurs under the auspices of the municipality .

Quality Assurance Vision, Mission, Principles

The SAMA Board adopted the following Vision and Mission statements along with corresponding Principles on April 24th, 2009. These statements define the SAMA Board’s position on its property assessment oversight mandate relative to the formal, and independent quality assurance function. These statements are in addition to the Board’s existing agency’s  Vision, Mission and Values statements, to specifically address the quality assurance function.

Vision. The SAMA Board, through its independent and directly accountable Quality Assurance Division, fosters public trust by ensuring property assessments meet prescribed statutory requirements.

Mission. To provide unbiased, responsive, professional and collaborative audits of mass appraisal valuation processes and municipal assessment rolls through an independent and directly accountable Quality Assurance Division.

Principles

1. Accountability. Defines responsibility relationships. The principle of accountability requires a reasonable accountability framework be adopted and implemented, addressing both the auditor (QAD) and the auditees (Municipalities and Assessment Service Providers [ASPs]) to ensure a functional property assessment oversight program.

2. Transparency. Defines what shall be undertaken (the quality assurance audits, and provision of information), by whom, what results are reported and when, and to whom those results shall be reported, to ensure confidence and trustworthiness in the property assessment oversight program. Further, this principle requires clearly establishing the authority, who(m) shall be solely responsible for the interpretation and adjudication of audit findings, with full independence for such undertaking from all auditees. 

3. Fairness. Defines the requirement for a consistent and impartial property assessment oversight program, and that the programs be undertaken by the auditors in a manner to ensure unbiased, and legitimate treatment of all auditees. Further, this principle addresses a broader desire of the agency, to provide auditees with the opportunity to improve their property assessments where identified by the program, on a continual improvement basis, without the fear of statutory reprisal for error where the order of magnitude is deemed largely compliant.

4. EquityDefines the focus on property assessment equity (similar properties in similar markets are valued and assessed similarly), ensuring the desired outcome in an ad valorem system (This principle does not extend to equity in property taxation.)

5. Sustainability. Defines the need to have an ongoing, functional, and operational property assessment oversight program, ensuring the SAMA Board of Directors has access to reliable, and timely information concerning property assessments for purposes of advising Stakeholders that they may have general confidence and trust in municipal assessments. This principle addresses the need to ensure the property assessment oversight program does not adversely affect the ability of auditees to carry on their day-to-day functions.

6. Confidentiality. Defines the need for the auditor to keep confidential, all audit working files, including data and information provided to the auditor by the auditee. This principle sets out the requirement to specify what shall be confidential (i.e. source audit data, and working files), and what information shall not be confidential (i.e. audit reports). The purpose of this principle is to ensure the ongoing stability of assessment rolls, which may be subject to adverse consequences if the auditor released certain data and/or information publicly.