VANCOUVER — A legal challenge of a British Columbia levy on foreign home buyers has been filed in Vancouver, seeking a class-action lawsuit on behalf of those forced to pay the 15 per cent tax.
Lawyer Luciana Brasil says the notice of civil claim alleges B.C. acted outside its jurisdiction when the Property Transfer Tax Act was amended in July, targeting the country of origin or nationality of home buyers across Metro Vancouver.
She says the revised legislation violates over 30 international treaties where Canada has committed to treat foreign nationals just as favourably as citizens of this country.
If the class-action lawsuit is approved by the court, Brasil says it seeks to overturn the legislation and demands repayment of any tax added to the purchase price of a home because of the buyer’s nationality.
The lead plaintiff is 29-year-old Chinese student Jing Li, who Brasil says has been studying in Canada since 2013 but had not become a permanent resident by Aug. 2, when the new tax impeded her purchase of a Langley, B.C., home.
A judge must still decide if the class action application can proceed and Brasil says it could take six months to a year to set a hearing date for the lawsuit.