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

Castlegar autism workshop helps parents cope with wait times

Kootenay Family Place holding workshop Feb. 1

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

RDKB urges caution when reading into early snowpack reports

Staff say it’s too early in the season to have a strong handle on water flow projections

Treading snowy trails across the Boundary

Before the rain came this week, trails in the Boundary were well-travelled

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read