Is our FOOD SECURITY for sale?

Farm land is EXEMPT from the 15% foreign buyer’s tax in British Columbia.

B.C. government’s decision to exempt farmland from the 15-per-cent foreign buyers tax is fuelling runaway speculation on property in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Comment: Is our FOOD SECURITY for sale?

The Sun’s article illustrates that one result of the farm land exemption is that foreign buyers are snapping up acreages and building mega homes on them, thus driving up the cost of acreage from $750,000 to $1,500,000 per acre.

Just as aggravating is the fact that many foreign buyers then construct mega homes on the acreages (and take advantage of extremely low property taxes by planting the minimum amount of crops to qualify the property as “farm class.”)

It is hardly a news flash (except to the current provincial government) that foreign buyers are acquiring real estate in British Columbia for their own benefit and not to make the province a better or more prosperous place.

Of equal or greater concern however is the fact that we are allowing foreign buyers to buy BC farm land in the first place.

The issue of FOOD SECURITY has been raised in the US, China and many other major countries, but it seems to have gone unnoticed in Canada.

Do we want foreigners owning Canadian farm land?

Given the low prices of prime agricultural land in Canada compared to other countries (together with the fact that most foreigners are buying with USD, giving them a 35% price reduction right off the bat), it is possible that foreign buyers (which could include corporations and governments) could easily snap up most if not all of the prime farmland in this country.

At the risk of sounding like the late, Canadian nationalist, Mel Hurtig (1932-2016), I believe that the time is long overdue for Canadians to have a conversation about what resources in this country should be for sale to foreign buyers.

In our view farmland should be off the table from the get go.

And MINIMALLY, the foreign buyer’s tax should be extended to every piece of real estate in the province.

Disclaimer:  The foregoing is for information purposes only and not intended as legal advice to the reader.  Always consult with an experienced real estate lawyer when modifying the standard real estate contract in use in BC. In addition statutory law as well as case law may change from time to time which could render this analysis inaccurate in the future. 

(C) 2017 Pazder Law Corporation