BC Legislature Will Reconvene July 25 to Enable Vancouver's Vacancy Tax

Mayor Gregor Robertson calls legislative changes coming in two weeks a "good step," says "other new tools" also needed to improve affordability

July 11, 2016

Mayor Gregor Robertson July 11
Mayor Gregor Robertson speaks to reporters outside City Hall on July 11, 2016 –

The BC legislature will return for a summer sitting July 25 to address Vancouver’s proposed vacant homes tax, Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced this morning. During that sitting, the BC government will support changes to the Vancouver Charter to allow the city to implement the tax.

“The BC government convening the legislature this summer to make the legislative change that will enable the City of Vancouver to move forward on taxing empty homes is a good step,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement issued in response to de Jong’s announcement. “Taxing homes empty for 12 months or more will encourage the best use of all our housing, and help boost our rental supply at a time when there’s almost no vacancy and a real crunch on affordability.”

Robertson announced June 22 that the city would tax vacant homes in Vancouver with or without provincial agreement, and met with de Jong on June 27 to discuss the proposed tax.

Robertson’s statement today suggested that the city may still push to pursue additional strategies to improve affordability.

“Taxing homes left empty for 12 months or more is a meaningful first step in bringing more rental supply into our housing market at a time when unregulated, speculative global capital is flowing into Vancouver, but we also need other new tools – like luxury and speculation taxes – to make a meaningful impact on bringing home ownership within reach to our residents,” he said.

Christina Newberry is a Vancouver-based writer and editor who writes lifestyle and travel stories for publications both online and in print. When she's not travelling, Christina can be found exploring Vancouver's unique neighbourhoods or puttering in her community garden plot.
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