April 17, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
BC farms that employ seasonal workers have received greater clarity regarding the impact the province’s speculation and vacancy tax could have on their operations.
Responding to questions from the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative, BC Ministry of Finance staff clarified the terms under which worker housing might be subject to the tax.
The clarification says that residential improvements with an assessed value of $150,000 and more will not be exempt from the tax. Bunkhouse accommodation, however, is exempt from the tax.
The tax, which Victoria announced last year, targets residential property in select regions that are either owned by non-residents or are rented for a total of less than three months of the year (2018) or less than six months of the year (2019 onwards).
Regions where the tax applies include Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District (with several exceptions in both regions), as well as the municipalities of Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo and Lantzville.
Property owners were required to file declarations of exempt status by the end of March.
While the potential for farm properties to be caught up in the tax is a genuine concern, how many properties will be impacted is unknown.
A query to the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative was forwarded to the BC Agriculture Council, which oversees WALI. BCAC staff said it’s tough to gauge the impact.
“We have had a few inquiries from employers, so know that some are impacted, but have no idea how many,” says BCAC communications director Danielle Synotte.
An overview of the speculation and vacancy tax is available at the finance ministry’s website.
Vol. 105 Issue 5
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
What on earth?
Opposition slams ALC bill
Sidebar: Protection & pushback
Editorial: Truth in labelling
Back Forty: So you don’t believe in climate change
Viewpoint: Don’t blame the cows for global warming
Ag council’s lobbying efforts produce results
Learning a new skill
Foundation’s nest egg for funding projects increases
Province will hold the line on piece rates
New CEO aims to kindle team spirit at co-op
FIRB decision prompts rethink of pricing scheme
Beekeepers see potential in technology transfer
AgSafe markes quarter century
Raspberries hit hard by harsh February
Blueberry growers anxious for new varieties
Biological controls for pests in demand
Sidebar: Pesticides in play
Growers urged to focus on fresh
Westgen celebrates 75 years of excellence
Top seller was no-show at Holstein sale
Spring show attracts exhibitors from Quebec
Cheesemakers unite to grow niche market
Range use permits under greater scrutiny
Sidebar: Range use plans go digital
Market Musings: Top bulls sell for top dollar at spring sales
Grapegrowers share sustainability objectives
Grape specialist honoured for dedication
Hazelnut production expands across BC
Sidebar: Pest pressures
Supporters take to AITC’s Sips & Sprouts
Research: Cultured meat fails to impress researchers
UAVs undergo testing for pesticide delivery
Sustainability goes beyond saving farmland
Father and daughter roll with the last of the steel wheels
Woodshed: Susan Henderson is warming to country life
Wannabe: Farming is more than just a job
Surplus, cull fruit finds new purpose as tasty snacks
Jude’s Kitchen: Special food for special moms