“Imagine that a wealthy person could access all of the same social services and public amenities as a local individual, but not pay income taxes.”

China Town Vancouver – vintage

Douglas Todd: Why we need to stop subsidizing foreign ownership of Metro Vancouver housing

It took me a while to twig to how middle-class workers are subsidizing many of the wealthy owners that they are competing against to buy a home in urban B.C.’s stratospherically expensive housing market.

When Vancouver Sun editors asked me six years ago to expand my diversity and religion beat to include more coverage of migration, I had no idea I would be compelled to peel back the layers of the loopholes some of the global rich exploit to buy houses and engage in tax avoidance in Canada.

But that’s what started happening in the summer of 2015 when I wrote a series on Richmond, where a Canadian record six out of 10 residents are born outside the country. The frustrated former mayor Greg Halsey-Brandt alerted me to one neighbourhood full of elegant homes where owners were declaring income levels lower on average than those barely surviving in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.