On February 19, 2019, the Honourable Carole James, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier presented BC Budget 2019-20 with a stated premise to “create opportunities to make life better for people”. With Budget 2019 the BC NDP government is working to continue implementing the direction set out in its 2018-19 budget with notable new programs introduced in the Budget 2019 that include a BC Child Opportunity Benefit (to replace the current Early Childhood Tax Benefit), a student loan interest relief, and a provincially supported rent bank. A summary of Budget 2019 can be found here.
While LandlordBC anticipated that Budget 2019 would largely represent a continuation of the direction the Government set out in its 2018-19 budget, and we wish to acknowledge our support for the important continued investment in community sector housing as outlined in Budget 2019, we are very concerned that the failure to introduce any measures to encourage and incent the building of new secure market-rate purpose-built rental housing is a missed opportunity that ultimately will hurt renters and negatively impact our broader economy. The absence of any incentives in tandem with a steady layering of regressive legislative and tax measures is impeding market-rate rental construction, and while this may be sound politics, it is neither sound housing policy or economics. Only at such time that secure market-rate purpose-built rental housing supply is less restricted will we achieve increased affordable housing options for current and future renters while providing them with the security of tenure that they want and deserve. LandlordBC has been and will continue to actively engage the Government to develop meaningful solutions to this persistent rental housing supply crisis.
LandlordBC would also like to acknowledge the Government’s introduction of the “Rent Bank” in Budget 2019 and offer our strong support for this initiative. LandlordBC is proud to currently serve in an advisory capacity for the Vancouver Rent Bank, a highly successful program that has done remarkable work with very sparse funding. We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Government to ensure a successful roll out of this new province-wide initiative. To learn more about the Vancouver Rent Bank please click here.