BCGEU offers policy ideas for local governments to address affordable housing issue - BCGEU

BURNABY – The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has released a list of policy proposals titled "What Can Local Governments Do?", directed at municipalities who want to take bold action on issues of housing affordability. As property prices across B.C. continue to escalate, access to affordable housing has become a central concern for BCGEU members.

By focusing on measures that can be taken by local governments, the union hopes to engage with candidates running in the fall municipal elections, as housing affordability will undoubtedly be one of the main issues in many B.C. communities.

"Municipal governments possess powerful toolkits to address the need for affordable housing in their communities," says BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch. "Much of what needs to be done is within their existing powers."

The eight recommendations include clearly defining "affordable" in relation to municipal housing policies, taking advantage of new rental-only zoning powers handed down by the provincial government, utilizing public land to build affordable housing, and offering tax incentives and benefits to accelerate affordable housing projects.

In addition, the union highlights key measures that the federal and provincial governments can take to help municipalities address the housing crisis, such as offering tax waivers and incentives for purpose-built rental housing projects and allowing local governments to mandate inclusionary zoning of affordable housing on new developments.

The plan is an addendum to the union's Building an Affordable B.C. report, co-authored by CUPE 1767 President Jared Melvin and Vice President Harpinder Sandhu, which mainly advocates for policy changes at the provincial level to curb real estate speculation. 

View the BCGEU's policy proposals for local governments here: https://www.affordablebc.ca/local_government 

View the report Building an Affordable B.C. here: https://www.affordablebc.ca/our-plan

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia, representing over 77,000 members across the province.

For more information contact Karen Tankard, BCGEU Communications, 604-473-5454