BC FORUM News
BC FORUM submits feedback to Expert Panel
on Housing Supply and Affordability
Read about this work here.
Submitted by: Diane L. Wood, President, BC Federation of Retired Union Members
To: The Expert Housing Panel,
Comments by the BC Federation of Retired Union Members (BC FORUM) to the “What We Heard Interim Report of the Canada/British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability”
BC FORUM thanks you for reading our feedback to the panel report on “What We Heard”
The BC Federation of Retired Union Members – BC FORUM – represents thousands of retired and active workers from unions affiliated to the BC Federation of Labour.
For retirees, BC FORUM keeps the strength of the union movement on their side after they have left the work force. For active workers, BC FORUM helps them plan for retirement – because leaving work should not mean leaving the movement.
By working together in solidarity, we retain the bargaining power to spotlight issues important to seniors, demand the attention of legislators, and negotiate the best benefits for our members.
BC FORUM is a registered non-profit society for union members age 50 and up. We are dedicated to representing the well-being of members, their families and their spouses.
It is with this background that we want to provide feedback to the “What We Heard report”.
Raising Seniors’ Incomes
The “What We Heard” report focused on the affordability of homes and housing in B.C. BC FORUM endorses the recommendation to “Increase the earnings of the lowest earners to enable them to afford housing.” We want to point out that one way to address the affordability crisis in regards to seniors housing is to raise seniors’ income. We are asking that the Province increase the BC Seniors Supplement and work with other levels of Government to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Old Age Security (OAS), and to improve the Canada Pension Plan. BC FORUM has continually advocated for improvements to the Canada Pension Plan and for increases to both Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
BC FORUM is concerned to read the following recommendation of the panel: “Eliminating rent control on newly built rental can be key. Phase rent control in as the building ages, this greatly aids in the economics of the construction.”
BC FORUM does not agree with this recommendation as we are concerned it will make housing unaffordable to moderate and low income seniors. We are asking that this suggestion be rejected in its entirety.
SAFER –the Shelter Allowance for Elderly Renters
BC FORUM is disappointed that the “What We Heard report” contained nothing about the Shelter Allowance for Elderly Renters (SAFER). We know that many seniors in BC rely on SAFER in order to pay their rent. BC FORUM is also aware that the rent ceilings used to calculate SAFER have not kept pace with rising rents in BC.
BC FORUM is asking the BC government to significantly increase the rent ceiling used in the calculation of SAFER to better reflect the actual costs of renting in B.C.
Seniors Subsidized Housing
BC FORUM is aware that many seniors in BC are in need of senior’s subsidized housing. We know that some of our members are on long waiting lists to access senior’s subsidized housing. Therefore BC FORUM recommends that the Province work with housing providers to develop and build (using many of the suggestions in the report) seniors subsidized housing as a priority.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.