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

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

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

The food hub survey showed that over 61 per cent respondents were looking to expand their business. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
RDBN’s food hub survey highlights producers’ needs

The project team to set up further discussion sessions with producers this year

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Most Read