For years, people across the province have seen their incomes be eroded by the skyrocketing cost of housing. The lack of regulation and improper taxation of real estate in B.C. has made the province's housing market a playground for speculators and big banks hoping to make profits at the expense of workers.
By the summer of 2017, members of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) had had enough. Members passed multiple convention resolutions calling on their union to take action on housing affordability. That is how the Affordable BC campaign was born.
Since then, the BCGEU has been working with members, local governments and the province to build communities where working-class families can afford to live and thrive. The backbone of the campaign is focused on what the provincial government can do to solve the housing crisis, but we have also prepared recommendations that local governments can implement on their own.
Many of our recommendations to the B.C. Rental Housing Task Force to reform the Residential Tenancy Act were implemented, including:
- Capping Annual Allowable Rent Increases to the CPI inflation rate
- Improved resourcing and staffing at the Residential Tenancy Branch
- Improved processes and enforcement measures to address bad faith evictions
- Stopped demovictions in Burnaby by working with community allies and city council to shape the most robust municipal tenant assistance policy in Canada
- Won our campaign for a province-wide freeze on evictions and rent increases during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic
- City of Burnaby green-lit BCGEU’s affordable housing project, which utilizes land value capture to create more affordable units
- Successfully lobbied for a below-inflation cap on provincial allowable rent increases as inflation soars.
The Next Phase
While some of our campaign’s policy recommendations have been successfully implemented, policy makers have left some of the most consequential investments and policy reforms on the table, meaning B.C. affordability crisis continues to worsen.
That’s why the next phase of our campaign will focus on what we believe are the top four issues that governments must focus on in order to strike at the root of the housing affordability crisis. Read more here.