Lawsuit alleging discrimination from foreign buyers tax dismissed

Lawsuit alleging discrimination from foreign buyers tax dismissed
Peter Scobie/ CBC News
Jing Li was the plaintiff in a lawsuit that called the foreign buyers tax "discriminatory." The Lawsuit was dismissed on Thursday.

A lawsuit that alleged B.C.’s foreign buyer tax was discriminatory was dismissed by a British Columbia Supreme Court Judge on Thursday.

In his ruling released on Friday, Justice Gregory Bowden said that the tax did not violate Charter rights against discrimination and contained no provisions targeting any specific ethnic or national group.

“The Tax applies equally to all foreign nationals regardless of citizenship or country of origin,” the ruling said, going on to add that “While the majority of transferees after the Tax was enacted and until November 2017 have been citizens of Asian countries, particularly China, that does not mean that the Tax adversely affected Asian buyers in particular.”

The plaintiff in the case, Jing Li, was a Chinese national who had purchased a home in Langley in July 2016 for $586,995 including GST. She then paid a non-refundable deposit of $55,990 on July 20, 2016.

On Aug. 2, when the BC government’s foreign buyers tax came into effect, Li learned she would have to pay an additional $83,850.

Li’s lawyers argued that the tax negatively affected attitudes and perceptions that the Chinese people were to blame for housing unaffordability.

In his ruling, Bowden says Li had a duty to show the tax itself perpetuated or made racial stereotypes and prejudices worse.

“It is not enough that the stereotypes and prejudices existed or were mentioned in public discourse around the time that the amendments were enacted,” the ruling says.

With files from the Canadian Press and CBC News.


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