Housing & homelessness

Low property taxes help fuel housing crisis

Jun 4, 2018
In the wake of February’s BC Budget, property taxes have been making headlines. But less attention has been paid to the province’s unusually low property tax rates, particularly in Vancouver, and how they help fuel the housing crisis. The city of Vancouver has among the lowest property tax rates in the country. Even the additional… View Article

From housing market to human right: A view from Metro Vancouver

May 29, 2018
I made the following submission to the Government of Canada’s consultation on National Housing Strategy’s human rights-based approach to housing, through which they are requesting “opinions and ideas about the key elements of a human rights-based approach to housing, the proposed approach to the new legislation, and new concepts to be explored.” This submission outlines key reasons… View Article

In defence of BC’s new “speculation” tax

Mar 22, 2018
Among the housing measures announced in BC Budget 2018, the new speculation tax has caused the most uproar. Some of this stems from a lack of clarity on how the tax will be applied. Details are being worked out by the Ministry of Finance and in their absence there’s been some confusion and alarm. The… View Article

Rising housing costs in Vancouver: New evidence from the Census

Nov 27, 2017
Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis is full of jaw-dropping anecdotes about home prices and rents. But with almost a million households in Metro Vancouver, there are both winners and losers from the boom. A recent Statistics Canada release on housing affordability from the 2016 Census allows us to put some numbers to the crisis. Almost two-thirds… View Article

Challenges persist: Community-based mental health in BC

Nov 17, 2017
In 2006, I wrote the report, “Community Based Mental Health in BC: Changes to Income, Employment and Housing Supports” to explain policy changes that had occurred with a new government and to look at their impact on community-based mental health services. In 2001 the Liberals came into power in BC after ten years of an… View Article

BC Budget 2018 should use progressive tax options to deliver on affordable housing promises

Nov 7, 2017
BC’s real estate boom has created winners and losers and has led to a growing housing affordability crisis with tremendous social and economic consequences. Metro Vancouver continues to have a massive housing affordability problem—in both home ownership and rental markets—that threatens to undermine the region’s long-term prosperity. Moreover, the 2017 Homeless Count revealed that homelessness… View Article

Vancouver looks to more ambitious affordability proposals

Oct 3, 2017
When the previous BC government brought in a 15% foreign buyer tax in August 2016, Metro Vancouver’s housing market paused: real estate transactions dropped dramatically, prices fell at the high end of the market and housing starts slowed. By Spring 2017, however, the housing market rediscovered its animal spirits, and more recently we are back… View Article