Homeowner grant hike shows faulty priorities

Owners of million-dollar homes shouldn't move to the front of the line for those in need of government assistance

Thousands of B.C. families are struggling to get by, with many couples working at two minimum wage jobs just to eek out an existence at below the poverty line. The province’s homeless are coping with one of the coldest winters in years, huddled in parks and doorways hoping to keep warm. Skyrocketing daycare costs, precious few vacancies in a tight rental market, long waits for medical treatment.

There’s no shortage of hardships many British Columbians are forced to endure. But we can’t solve everyone’s problem, there’s only so much government can do.

That’s why the provincial government’s decision this week to extend financial relief to million-dollar homeowners show where its priorities lie.

This is not to say that dramatic spike in property assessments has not been a shock to the system for many B.C. homeowners. However, the rising home values hardly represent a crisis requiring Finance Minister Mike de Jong leap to spring into action before the ink on the assessments had even dried. Let’s not forget, these are the same homeowners whose homes have nearly doubled in value over the past decade, seeing their investment increase by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To help ease the pain, the province increased the threshold for the $570 homeowner grant to properties worth $1.6 million, up from $1.2 million. That $570 will cover about four days worth of payments on a million-dollar mortgage. Is that really what this government considers the best bang for its buck.

Since 2010, the value of properties eligible for the homeowner grant has risen more than 50 per cent, from $1.05 million in 2010 to $1.6 million today. This year’s increase alone represents a jump of 33 per cent. In the meantime, the province’s minimum wage has risen just six per cent since its last significant increase in 2012, while the province’s welfare rate sits at $610 a month, where it has remained since it was last increased in 2007.

Yes, rising assessments can pose a challenge. But million-dollar homeowners aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch.


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

Just Posted

The State of Aging: COVID-19 exposed a long-term care system already in crisis

A look at Greater Victoria’s aging population and what that will mean for the future

Oak Bay home ready to house refugees, immigrants

District leases two village homes to Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society

Central Saanich police sport personalized face masks

Masks feature the crest and individual officer pin numbers

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read