B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

BC VOTES 2020: Where the parties stand on housing affordability ahead of Oct. 24

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

As British Columbians struggle financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of B.C.’s major parties have released housing affordability promises in an attempt to woo voters.

BC NDP

The incumbent NDP have promised a 10-year Homes For B.C. plan to “to build and revitalize affordable homes for everyone from students to seniors.” As part of that plan, the NDP vowed to build 114,000 affordable rental and supportive homes across the province, 25,000 of which they say are already completed or currently being built. The party said 5,000 of the units will be supportive housing, and that rent supplements will be paid out to people ready to leave supporting housing.

The party has also pledged to extend the current rent freeze, in place until Dec. 1 due to the pandemic, up until the end of 2021. The NDP have also said they will cap rent increases in future years to inflation.

For households with an income of up to $80,000 annually, the party will also provide a $400 renters rebate if they are not receiving another form of rental aid.

Developers have been promised that the NDP will “streamline and modernize housing construction” by nixing minimum parking requirements for housing built near transit. The party will also bring in a single-window provincial permitting process and work with municipal governments to make the local approval process simpler.

People living in stratas have been promised that a public insurance option will be developed if a solution to sky-rocketing costs is not found by the end of 2021.

For B.C’s indigenous community, the NDP said it will build the units remaining in its prior $550 million commitment to develop 1,750 new homes, both on and off reserve.

BC Liberals

On the BC Liberal side of the aisle, the party said they will do better than the NDP, which the Liberals accuse of having completed just 2,963 units out the promised 114,000. The BC Liberals have pledged to get rid of the NDP’s “phoney” speculation tax by bringing in what they dub a “true real-estate speculation tax,” which will involve moving to a condo-flipping capital gains tax. The Liberals also said they will bring in higher property taxes for non-resident home owners.

In terms of strata insurance, the Liberals said they will facilitate a self-insurance model and eliminate “best-terms” pricing. The party also said it will reduce required insurance from full replacement value to a level “in line with actual claims cost history.”

The BC Liberals said they will work with municipalities to review current property taxes to incentivize developers to build affordable rental housing, as well as bring in an “incentive fund” for local governments. The party also said it would make sure there was no net loss ff rental units due to developer projects.

Further, the Liberals said they would implement tax and permitting changes they say will boost housing supply. The party said it will also spend funds to get homeless people in B.C. into housing and connect them with social services.

BC Greens

For their part, the BC Greens said they will bring in a “housing first” approach to speed up supportive and social housing projects. The party said it will also extend leases for co-ops and create a land bank for future co-ops. The Greens also said they will work with municipalities to expand townhouses and triplex housing option and deal with the current issues in strata insurance costs.

The party has said it will close loopholes in speculation tax that currently exempt satellite families and some foreign owners.

On the rental affordability front, the BC Greens said they will establish a means-tested grant for low to moderate income households paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent, as well as introduce a capital fund to support the buying and maintaining of rental housing by non-profits.

READ MORE: B.C. party leaders talk taxes, housing at board of trade event


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Guenther’s efforts are aimed at persons in need. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay group provides showers of chivalry for those in need

Guenther just got federal tax status for Wiseland Humanitarian Association

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

The site of the King George Hotel in Cumberland. Photo by Mike Chouinard
VIU students research Cumberland’s past, future

Specific practicum topics were King George Hotel’s significance, densification incentives

Courtenay–Alberni MP Gord Johns says 12 million Canadians do not have dental insurance. Photo by Bofu Shaw, courtesy of Unsplash
Courtenay–Alberni MP, CDA consider dental care for all Canadians

Gord Johns has initiated a mail-out that asks constituents the date of… Continue reading

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read