Class action lawsuit launched against BC government over speculation tax

May 24 2018, 12:06 am

After the BC government announced the introduction of a Speculation Tax as part of its provincial budget earlier this year, a class action lawsuit has now been filed against the government in response.

Launched by out-of-province homeowners, the suit includes a letter sent to the government from the law firm Gowling WLG, which outlines the case.

Made available to Daily Hive, the letter specifically mentions “homeowners from Alberta” and says the speculation tax “raises a number of serious concerns from a legal perspective, not the least of which is the potential violation of the Charter rights of fellow Canadians.”

As the tax would apply to a person with primary residence in any province other than BC, but with another home in a community in which the tax applies to, “such tax would discriminate against Canadians on the basis of their province of primary residence,” the letter reads.

The tax would impose a “substantial” financial burden on those affected and would restrict the ability for people from outside BC to live in BC, it adds.

“In our view, such restriction would violate the interprovincial mobility rights guaranteed to Canadians under section 6 of the Charter.”

The letter note that additional legal issues could arise with respect to its ultimate implementation.

“This includes reviewing any potential conflicts of interest with the Exempted Individuals, or other government officials, who obtained exemptions for their particular ridings or for ridings in which they or a related party owns a home,” it reads.

And when it comes to those aforementioned exemptions, “we also understand that a number of MLAs… such as Andrew Weaver… and Leonard Eugene Krop… may have received an exemption from the speculation tax with respect to either of their ridings or for ridings in which they or a related party owns a home.”

Gowling WLG has also sent a copy of the letter to the Ministry of Finance.

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