***For Immediate Release***
BC Government must rectify the eviction crisis in Metro Vancouver; VTU slams Housing Minister’s previous statements on the issue
September 16, 2021
A new UBC study shows that Metro Vancouver is the eviction capital of Canada. The five-year eviction rate is 10.6%, double the rate of Toronto. Not only does this represent the loss of homes for tens of thousands of renters every year, but due to the lack of Vacancy Control in BC, each eviction represents a home which has now likely jumped dramatically in rent. Metro Vancouver is losing its most affordable homes at the fastest rate.
“This study is the smoking gun of the ongoing eviction crisis that tenants have been shouting from the rooftops about for years,” said Sydney Ball, an organizer with the VTU. “As long as the financial incentive to evict remains, tenants won’t have reprieve from landlords taking away their homes for profits. The government’s refusal to properly support tenants and prevent property speculation during the pandemic have only made things worse”.
During a town hall meeting with 84 VTU members on April 20th, the Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby responded to a question about evictions by claiming that he “did not see a massive spike in orders of possession applications”, and that “there is a balance when it comes to rental housing”. Unlike Ontario, the BC provincial government does not track the total number of evictions that happen, as landlords are able to freely serve eviction notices. In that same event, Minister Eby committed to “releasing all data [he has] on evictions publicly”.
“It’s time to put an end to the callous collaboration between politicians, government bureaucrats, and landlords for the sake of maximizing profits,” said Mazdak Gharibnavaz, spokesperson for the VTU. “Minister Eby must put an end to the manufactured ignorance around eviction data. We can't regulate something we don't keep track of. The lack of information is a feature and not a bug of our system due to intense landlord lobbying, and it’s shameful that we’ve had to rely on a series of byzantine processes to get very important information”.
The VTU is demanding three immediate steps for the BC Government to deal with the ongoing eviction crisis:
- Immediate public release of all data BC Government has on evictions
- Immediate commencement of work on implementing a system that tracks all evictions province-wide while preserving tenants’ privacy
- Implementation of Vacancy Control: real rent control that ties the cap on rent increases to the unit, not the tenant