B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

BC VOTES 2020: Where the parties stand on housing affordability ahead of Oct. 24

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

As British Columbians struggle financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of B.C.’s major parties have released housing affordability promises in an attempt to woo voters.

BC NDP

The incumbent NDP have promised a 10-year Homes For B.C. plan to “to build and revitalize affordable homes for everyone from students to seniors.” As part of that plan, the NDP vowed to build 114,000 affordable rental and supportive homes across the province, 25,000 of which they say are already completed or currently being built. The party said 5,000 of the units will be supportive housing, and that rent supplements will be paid out to people ready to leave supporting housing.

The party has also pledged to extend the current rent freeze, in place until Dec. 1 due to the pandemic, up until the end of 2021. The NDP have also said they will cap rent increases in future years to inflation.

For households with an income of up to $80,000 annually, the party will also provide a $400 renters rebate if they are not receiving another form of rental aid.

Developers have been promised that the NDP will “streamline and modernize housing construction” by nixing minimum parking requirements for housing built near transit. The party will also bring in a single-window provincial permitting process and work with municipal governments to make the local approval process simpler.

People living in stratas have been promised that a public insurance option will be developed if a solution to sky-rocketing costs is not found by the end of 2021.

For B.C’s indigenous community, the NDP said it will build the units remaining in its prior $550 million commitment to develop 1,750 new homes, both on and off reserve.

BC Liberals

On the BC Liberal side of the aisle, the party said they will do better than the NDP, which the Liberals accuse of having completed just 2,963 units out the promised 114,000. The BC Liberals have pledged to get rid of the NDP’s “phoney” speculation tax by bringing in what they dub a “true real-estate speculation tax,” which will involve moving to a condo-flipping capital gains tax. The Liberals also said they will bring in higher property taxes for non-resident home owners.

In terms of strata insurance, the Liberals said they will facilitate a self-insurance model and eliminate “best-terms” pricing. The party also said it will reduce required insurance from full replacement value to a level “in line with actual claims cost history.”

The BC Liberals said they will work with municipalities to review current property taxes to incentivize developers to build affordable rental housing, as well as bring in an “incentive fund” for local governments. The party also said it would make sure there was no net loss ff rental units due to developer projects.

Further, the Liberals said they would implement tax and permitting changes they say will boost housing supply. The party said it will also spend funds to get homeless people in B.C. into housing and connect them with social services.

BC Greens

For their part, the BC Greens said they will bring in a “housing first” approach to speed up supportive and social housing projects. The party said it will also extend leases for co-ops and create a land bank for future co-ops. The Greens also said they will work with municipalities to expand townhouses and triplex housing option and deal with the current issues in strata insurance costs.

The party has said it will close loopholes in speculation tax that currently exempt satellite families and some foreign owners.

On the rental affordability front, the BC Greens said they will establish a means-tested grant for low to moderate income households paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent, as well as introduce a capital fund to support the buying and maintaining of rental housing by non-profits.

READ MORE: B.C. party leaders talk taxes, housing at board of trade event


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A COVID-19 exposure has been recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure occurred between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26, 2020. (Centennial Christian School Facebook photo)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace

It’s the first known school exposure in Terrace

RCMP cruiser with lights flashing. (File photo)
Smithers crime severity index jumps 18 per cent

RCMP expected increase due to reporting changes, but concerned it remains double provincial average

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

Dan Imhof with a group of Bulkley Valley Soccer Society kids. (Contributed photo)
Two members of BV soccer club honoured with provincial awards

Daniel Imhof is Youth Coach of the Year and Georgia Mack is Administrator of the Year

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read