Strong Majority of BC Business Owners Oppose Speculation Tax

August 2, 2018

BC – Two out of every three business owners across BC oppose the provincial government’s proposed Speculation Tax, according to new survey results released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

With enabling legislation expected this fall, the tax will be applied on properties which are not the primary residence of the owner and are not occupied by a tenant for at least half the year. The tax rate for properties is 0.5 per cent in 2018, but will jump in 2019 and onward. BC residents will pay 0.5 per cent, other Canadians will pay 1 per cent, and non-Canadians will pay 2 per cent.  

“This patchwork tax on vacant property and new development will kill jobs and hurt local economies.  We have already seen a major chill go through the home building and tourism sectors, especially in places like the Okanagan. The government needs a plan that will target actual foreign speculators, and not catch long-term BC homeowners and other Canadians in the cross-fire,” stated Richard Truscott, CFIB Vice President, BC and Alberta.

In a survey conducted from June 13th to 26th, CFIB asked business owners if they support or oppose the introduction of a new speculation tax on real estate. The findings, based on 833 responses, were:

  • 65 per cent oppose the tax (47 percent strongly oppose, 18 per cent somewhat oppose);
  • 30 per cent support the tax (18 per cent somewhat, 12 percent strongly);
  • Five percent were unsure. 

Opposition to the tax was even stronger in the Okanagan region with 74 per cent opposing the tax and just 23 per cent supporting it. Three per cent were unsure.

“Business owners understand the government is trying to address important issues related to housing affordability. Despite its name, however, the proposed tax won’t just target foreign speculators. It’s effects in the tourism industry is going to be a direct hit to many BC entrepreneurs and other property owners. The government simply has to find a better way forward”, says Truscott.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in B.C.

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