The foreign buyers’ tax in B.C. increased to 20 per cent in 2018, up from 15 per cent in 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Court rejects Chinese citizen’s constitutional challenge of B.C.’s foreign buyers’ tax

Judge rules that the tax does not discriminate based on race or national origin

The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed this week a Chinese citizen’s challenge of the province’s foreign buyers’ tax.

In his decision, Justice Gregory Bowden rejected Jing Li’s argument that the additional property tax doesn’t discriminate against people based on ethnic or national origins, and instead focuses on citizenship.

The foreign buyers tax, which was increased by the Horgan government from 15 to 20 per cent in February 2018, was first launched in August 2016 in order to help bring repreieve to an over-inflated housing market in the province’s largest cities.

Jing, who moved to Canada in 2013 and is not a Canadian citizen, accused the province of violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and discriminating on the basis of race, nationality, ethnic origin or colour.

ALSO READ: Election results means more tax for foreign buyers, little change on mortgages

Jing purchased property in Langley in July 2016 for roughly $559,000, with GST of $28,000. The final payment was due that November, when the tax was in effect, and Jing had to pay an additional $84,000.

Her lawyers argued the tax imposes an unfair burden on immigrants, specifically Chinese people, whom they referred to as the largest group of immigrants in Greater Vancouver and “more likely to purchase real estate than others.”

They also urged the court to consider how the tax “perpetuates prejudice towards, and the stereotyping or disadvantages of, Chinese people in B.C.”

But Bowden sided with the lawyers representing the province, citing the expert testimony of Simon Fraser University urban studies professor Andrew Yan.

His research argues that Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Chinese descent are “equally affected by housing affordability and equally will benefit from any measures that improve affordability.”

Bowden added that the tax received “overwhelming support” among Asian people in Greater Vancouver, and that the tax is intended to address the unaffordability in the region – specifically in Vancouver – which he said has “become one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Habitat for Humanity launches Victoria family challenge fundraising event

The Road To Home fundraiser set to be an activity-filled day

Sooke Meals on Wheels seeks volunteers to replace critical roles

Annual general meeting, volunteer appreciation dinner is July 26

Colwood library reopens for public use July 18

Limited services offered Monday through Saturday

Faulty janitorial equipment likely caused Saanich school fire

Saturday morning fire damaged roof of Strawberry Vale Elementary

Greater Victoria records highest unemployment in history with 11 per cent

Past peak was 7.8 per cent more than a decade ago, according to South Island Prosperity Partnership

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read