A Research Co. poll has found that a majority of British Columbians support progressive policies to address the housing affordability crisis.
The poll was commissioned by the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) as part of Affordable BC – the union’s ongoing campaign to address housing affordability.
The soaring cost of housing is the single biggest component of the affordability crisis in B.C. This poll showed that an overwhelming number of British Columbians believe all levels of government need to do more to address this crisis – with 78 per cent, 81 per cent, and 73 per cent, respectively, saying that the federal, provincial, and municipal governments need to do more.
“While high inflation is now affecting economies worldwide, years of inflated land values in B.C. have created the housing crisis we have today,” said Paul Finch, BCGEU treasurer and chair of the union’s Affordable BC campaign, on Wednesday.
“This polling underlines what has become a divide in our society – between creditors profiting on the housing market and working people who must pay significant portions of their income on rents and mortgages. Unless we take action now, what is increasingly becoming a generational gap will only grow.”
The poll’s findings include the following:
- 76 per cent of British Columbians support stronger investments in public housing.
- 67 per cent support mandatory municipal inclusionary zoning policies – where a set number of below-market rate housing units are required when properties are up-zoned for development.
- 62 per cent support tying the provincial cap on rent increases to units rather than individual tenancies – also known as vacancy control.
- 47 per cent support land value taxation to recover and reinvest land value increases that result from public investments.
“All levels of government can implement proven solutions to make our communities more affordable but year after year they fail to take the action needed to make a difference,” said Kari Michaels, BCGEU executive vice-president.
“Public support for expanded housing affordability measures is strong and BCGEU members are working with community allies to urge action on proven solutions now.”
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines housing as “affordable” if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s pre-tax income. Among those who are paying rent or a mortgage, more than half of respondents spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing. Of those who do not own their homes, 50 per cent of respondents do not believe that homeownership is achievable for them.
Recognizing that wages cannot keep up with runaway housing costs, the BCGEU’s Affordable BC campaign was launched in 2017 after members directed their union to push for housing affordability at the 2017 convention.
Since then, the BCGEU members have engaged with experts to research and develop housing policy solutions that, if implemented by local and provincial governments, will make housing in communities across B.C. more affordable.
Read the Affordable BC Plan here: https://www.affordablebc.ca/
Results are based on an online study conducted from June 29 to July 1 among 804 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points.