Courtenay-Comox MLA co-spearheading new rental housing task force

The task force has begun its public feedback tour of B.C. this month

Ronna-Rae Leonard is busy this month.

The Courtenay-Comox MLA is co-spearheading the B.C. government’s recently-implemented rental task force alongside Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert (NDP) and Saanich North MLA Adam Olsen (Green Party).

According to Leonard, the task force’s goal is to examine and modernize the province’s tenancy legislation.

“It’s about the residential tenancy laws — not so much the supply, although people tend to drift towards that because it’s obviously one of the pressures we have on our rental housing market,” said Leonard. “But that’s one of the reasons we need to look to modernize it, to address those pressures.”

As part of the task force’s mandate, the government has commissioned consulting firm Urban Systems to facilitate 10 public feedback sessions throughout B.C. this month. The consultation sessions allow rental housing providers, renters, and other stakeholders to provide feedback on B.C.’s residential tenancy legislation.

The first forums took place in Maple Ridge on June 4 and Nanaimo on June 6. The sessions will wrap up on June 28 in Surrey.

Leonard, who will attend seven of the forums this month, said the first few sessions have provided interesting discussions on rental issues.

“In Nanaimo, a landlord came out and said ‘thank you for coming out and asking ‘us’ as sometimes the organizations out there don’t represent our opinions or share our experiences.’ This is a really important thing for us, to hear what people’s experiences are out there in the real world,” she said.

The next public forum will be held June 12 in Kelowna, followed by meetings in Nelson June 14, Terrace June 18, Prince George June 20, Salt Spring Island June 22, Victoria June 26, Vancouver June 27 and Surrey June 28.

Feedback is also being gathered online at bit.ly/2JsoSjz

According to Leonard, the task force will submit a report on its findings to the premier alongside recommendations for tenancy legislation by next fall.

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