Alberta man says new speculation tax is unfairly driving him out of B.C


WATCH: B.C’s 2018 budget announced the government’s intention to bring in a speculation tax in B.C. to help open up the long-term rental market for residents amidst the current housing crisis. But an Alberta man who lives here part-time feels he’s unfairly being forced to leave. Luisa Alvarez reports. 

Bear Mountain in Langford is a resort community and many of the people that bought homes there are not full-time B.C residents. But now they are worried the taxes on their homes will skyrocket due to a tax targeting foreign buyers.

Langford Mayor Stew Young says the tax is also affecting Canadians. “When you’re Canadian, not foreign and you bought a home in a resort like Bear Mountain you’re now paying about $2,000 dollars in taxes in Langford, let’s say for your house, and now it just went to $30,000 dollars in taxes overnight,” said Young.

B.C Finance Minister Carole James announced the new tax last week. ” It starts with taking action to stabilizing the market and curb demand we will introduce a new annual speculation tax starting in BC’s urban areas,” said James.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the speculation was implemented as a way to deter people from using the B.C. housing market like the stock market. But, some Canadians who live here part time feel unfairly targeted

Economist Ian Mcgillivray and his wife are Alberta residents but have lived part-time in B.C. for the past several years.

Mcgillivray says they’ve pumped significant amounts of money into the B.C. economy and feel sideswiped with the tax.

” Our thanks for coming here and bringing out assets has basically been thank you for bringing the money now get out,” said Mcgillivray.

They were planning to move to B.C  full time in the next couple of years. But those plans have now changed.

” They’re not taxing bags of potatoes, they’re actually taxing your retirement, what you’ve worked your whole life for and when you move your equity to another area, that’s a pretty big decision for most families and I’ll be leaving and now coming back it’s just too risky for us,” said Mcgillivray.

He adds its a slippery slope once you start targeting fellow Canadians and thinks in the long run the tax will end up hurting B.C.’s economy.

“I’ve spent a significant amount of money here in British Columbia and all that money that I brought washes around and gets taxed and re-taxed and now that they’re chasing us away that will be washing around in other parts of Canada and not necessarily in British Columbia anymore,” Mcgillivray said.

Something Young says shouldn’t be happening.

“We got to be open for business still you know I mean you cant restrict cross Canada people investing in BC we’ve been asking them to do that for years,” said Young.

The Ministry of Finance did not directly respond to the impacts out of province Canadians are facing but a ministry spokesperson they did say:

“We are currently drafting the legislation and regulations. Specific technical details about the application of the tax will be available in the coming months.”

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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