The extra property tax rate imposed on foreign buyers of Vancouver real estate will no longer apply to those living and working in British Columbia on temporary work permits.
The rate, which came into force in August last year, means foreign buyers have to pay an extra 15% property transfer tax when they buy real estate in Metro Vancouver.
From the outset, the tax did not apply to permanent residents or dual citizens, but it did apply to temporary foreign workers living and paying taxes in British Columbia.
Speaking at the Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, BC Premier Christy Clark said she hoped lifting the tax would encourage more people to come here.
“We believe that people, the best and the brightest, should be able to come to British Columbia,” Clark told reporters.
Lifting tax was planned already
A spokesperson told Daily Hive the move was planned before US President Donald Trump banned nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the US.
Those countries are Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq. Trump also halted the US refugee program for 90 days, and barred refugees from Syria indefinitely.
The president has said that for any Syrians applying for refugee status in future, priority would be given to Christians over Muslims.
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The travel ban has thrown the lives of citizens of the affected countries into chaos and has already seen more than 100 people detained at the border or in US airports.
In the aftermath, said the spokesperson, Clark believed it was important to signal that British Columbia is open to people from around the world.
Speaking to reporters, Clark said she was going to stand up for Canadian values and British Columbian values.
“Those are, we believe that people who are seeking refuge around the world should be able to find safe haven here in our province,” she said.
“Those are the values we stand for as Canadians and I am going to fight for those values.”
‘They haven’t done anything wrong’
Clark went on to say she would fight to make sure people who are dual citizens of Canada, who may hold a passport from Iran or Iraq or Syria, can continue to travel.
“These are Canadian citizens. America is our closest neighbour and our best friend,” said Clark. “Canadians, many people run businesses down there, have family down there, they need to continue to travel.
“These are people, they haven’t done anything wrong. They love our country. They love our neighbours. They are no threat to our neighbours and I hope that that uncertainty is lifted very quickly.”
In the last 24 hours, it has emerged Canadian citizens who are also dual citizens from the countries listed in Trump’s travel ban will be able to cross the border into the United States.
Clarification was provided by the Prime Minister and Canada’s Ambassador to the United States on Saturday night following mounting confusion after the ban went into effect.
Dual-citizen travellers were initially told that they could not cross a border or take a US-bound flight.
Reports are also coming in that Canadian permanent residents with passports from the affected countries will not be subject to the ban.
Meanwhile, Canada has said it will offer temporary residency to anyone stranded in Canada due to Trump’s travel ban.