BC Green Party affordable housing and income strategies released

Apr 12 2017, 6:36 pm

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has released its strategies aiming to make housing more affordable and incomes fairer, ahead of the upcoming BC Election.

Among the affordable housing measures proposed are building 4,000 new units of affordable housing per year, and piloting a basic guaranteed income for all.

Other BC Green proposals include expanding the foreign buyers’ tax to 30%, and introducing a “speculation” tax to discourage flipping of property.

For renters, their strategy includes amending the Residential Tenancy Act to control rent increases and protect tenants from having their leases ended and losing affordable housing.

In terms of income, the BC Greens plan to set up an arm’s-length fair wages commission to establish a new minimum wage, and oversee regular rate reviews.

Under the BC Greens, the commission would also make recommendations on how to address the gap between minimum wages and liveable wages.

Disability assistance, income assistance and shelter allowance rates would be increased by the BC Greens, by 10% from October, then by 50% in 2020.

And basic income support would be provided for young people aging out of foster care, as would a low-income benefit of up to $205/month for families.

Finally, under the BC Greens plan Medical Service Plan premiums would be rolled into payroll tax and personal income tax to make them more proportionate.

More BC Greens promises

  • Work with the federal government to introduce measures to eliminate money laundering and international property speculation in BC.
  • Introduce a sliding scale of property transfer tax (PTT) rates from 0% on the first $200,000 of a property’s value, to 12% on property value over $3 million. For properties under $1 million, PTT will decline.
  • Lead a comprehensive rethink of zoning to ensure that it is consistent with government objectives such as the provision of affordable housing.
  • Protect existing social housing and reduce operating costs by investing $100 million per year in retrofits and renovations of older units.
  • Work with BC Housing to enable the inclusion of private rental properties in their directly managed portfolio of affordable accommodation.

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