A sizeable minority of residents within Metro Vancouver have a highly cynical perspective on how the real estate market in the region operates.
Transparency International Canada, a non-profit group that advocates against corruption, paints a troubling picture with the findings of its recent survey of residents in Western Canada.
According to its findings, 37% of those living in Metro Vancouver described the real estate sector as “extremely corrupt.” This is contrasted by only 15% of Western Canadian respondents outside the Vancouver region who share this same view.
“For years, real estate has been a dominant issue in Vancouver-area politics, with high housing prices a major public concern. These prices created lucrative opportunities for unethical conduct by real estate agents with conflicts of interest representing both buyers and sellers, enabled by lax and ineffective regulation, and a lack of transparency,” reads the report.
“While these practices have led to new rules and government regulation, allegations of conflicts of interest continue to be made against Vancouver politicians and the real estate industry. Reports have also made connections between foreign drug dealers, money laundering through BC casinos, and investment of laundered money in real estate.”
Across all respondents from BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, the most common definition of corruption “involves some kind of self-interested action at the expense of the public or stakeholder interest” (31%). This is followed by abuse of power (21%), bribes and kickbacks (19%), unethical practices (15%), illegal activity (15%), and dishonesty (15%).
For case studies of corruption in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the report illustrated examples of police corruption in Calgary and allegations of conflict of interest in Saskatchewan’s municipal and provincial governments.
The survey also found that BC residents are more likely to view the oil and gas sector as “extremely corrupt” (26%) compared to Alberta (19%) and Saskatchewan (18%).
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