Philosophers’ Café Jan 5: Should City of Vancouver Tax Absentee Property Owners?

(Updated, with mini-report)SFU Philosophers Cafe - absentee property owner tax, 5-Jan-2015

Philosophers’ Café: Should the City of Vancouver Tax Absentee Property Owners?

Monday, January 5, 2015, 7 pm
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews

A recent poll found 72% of Vancouverites support taxing vacant properties. How do empty properties affect neighbourhoods and just how many properties are vacant? And for what length of time?

Post meeting mini-report: The meeting produced a good discussion, and ended with several questions:

  1. How do we define “empty properties”?
  2. Would this not best be a provincial tax as it is in some Maritime provinces? Or as in Australia? This phenomenon is not just in Vancouver. Properties in West Vancouver, Richmond and other municipalities are also vacant. (Reference on tax system in Queensland, Australia:
    https://www.osr.qld.gov.au/land-tax/about-land-tax/land-tax-rates.shtml)
  3. Would the measures need to be applied only to “foreign owners”? What if the absentee owners were Canadian citizens?
  4. Exactly how many properties are empty in Vancouver and how do we verify that?

Moderator: Dr. Judy Zaichkowsky


Judy Zaichkowsky is a professor of marketing in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. She received her PhD in Marketing from UCLA, with minors in Psychology and Statistics. She holds a Masters degree in Consumer Studies from the University of Guelph and received a Centenary Alumni award in 2003 for outstanding contributions to research.Judy’s 1985 Journal of Consumer Research article on the involvement construct is one of the most cited articles in marketing and one of the most influential articles in the field of advertising. She is the author of The Psychology Behind Trademark Infringement and Counterfeiting (2006).

About the Philosophers’ Café: Philosophers’ Café is a series of informal public discussions in libraries, cafés and restaurants throughout Metro Vancouver. The cafés, which are open to everyone, have brought dialogue and discussion to thousands of people who are interested in exploring issues from the absurd to the sublime. To learn more about the Philosophers’ Café, please visit their website.

Questions? Email: cafes@sfu.ca

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