British Columbia

Burnaby man's petition asks Canadian government to take action on foreign ownership

A Burnaby man has started a petition asking the federal government to track and curb the foreign ownership of real estate.

Petitioner believes soaring property values are driving families, seniors, young people out

The B.C. government is going ahead with a study to examine key factors affecting housing prices. (Mike Cassese/Reuters)

A Burnaby man has started a petition asking the federal government to track and curb foreign ownership of real estate.

Raymond Wong says on the petition site that he believes families and young professionals are being driven out, and seniors are being 'taxed' out due to soaring property values in the Lower Mainland.

The petition is sponsored by Burnaby South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who says high housing prices are starting to scare away businesses in his riding.

"We have a number of video companies, movie studios and high-tech companies," said Stewart. "They say from a business perspective the number one thing that would make them move from Burnaby is the housing prices — companies are starting to get very worried because their employees can't afford housing."

"It's reaching a crisis level and there's no actions being taken by the federal or provincial government."

In his petition Wong asks the Canadian government to take action on five fronts:

  • Collect data on off-shore investment in Canada's real estate market.
  • Investigate financial transactions flagged as suspicious by FINTRAC.
  • Consider restricting foreign ownership.
  • Demand real estate boards and lawyers disclose information about buyers and sources of incomes.
  • Study the restrictions placed on off-shore investment by Australia, USA, Hong Kong, England, Singapore and New Zealand.

Home prices in Canada are at historic highs, with Vancouver and the Fraser Valley leading the way. 

The average price price of a home in the Metro Vancouver area is up over 25% over last year according to numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Board.

Almost 3000 people had signed the petition as of 12:00 p.m. PT Monday, well over the 500 signature threshold needed for it to be presented in the House of Commons. The petition will close August 6.

According to E-petition guidelines the government has 45 days to respond after the petition has been brought to parliament.