Today in the legislature I introduced Bill M202 – Property Law Amendment Act, 2017. I had previously introduced this Bill in February, 2017 during the 6th sesison of the 40th parliament. Its purpose is to ensure that farmland in British Columbia is safeguarded from real estate speculation using foreign capital. In addition, it is important to ensure that British Columbia’s future food security is protected.
Below I reproduce the text and video of the introduction along with our accompanying media release.
A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled the Property Law Amendment Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.
Mr. Speaker: Please proceed.
A. Weaver: I’m pleased to introduce a bill intituled the Property Law Amendment Act, 2017. This bill amends the existing Property Law Act to ensure that land held within the agricultural land reserve is protected from international real estate speculation. If passed, this bill would prohibit foreign entities from purchasing ALR land over five acres without prior permission from the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council.
At UBCM last week, I met with communities in northern British Columbia. They emphasized the impact that the foreign purchase of ALR lands is having on local farmers, their local economies and our food security. For example, in Cariboo North, 42,000 acres have been bought by two foreign entities, with a total of 22,239 acres being removed from local agricultural production. This is affecting the local price of hay and pricing farmers out of the market.
Many other provinces regulate and restrict foreign ownership of agricultural land in this way, including Alberta, Saskatchewan Manitoba, Quebec and PEI. Our agricultural land reserve should have the same protection.
Mr. Speaker: The question is the first reading of the bill.
A. Weaver: Now I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Andrew Weaver introduces bill to ban foreign ownership on Agricultural Land Reserve land over five acres
For immediate release
October 5, 2017
VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, reintroduced a bill that would ban foreign ownership on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land over five acres. Weaver first introduced the bill in February 2016.
“B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve is vital for promoting our province’s food security and growing our agricultural sector,” said Weaver.
“Today I am reintroducing a bill that would prohibit foreign entities from purchasing ALR land over five acres.
“B.C. currently imports 70% of its vegetables from the United States, with half of that coming from California. With these regions increasingly experiencing extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, it is more important than ever that B.C. take the future of our food security seriously. Moreover, agriculture presents a significant economic opportunity for B.C. Our thriving wine industry alone has a $2.8 billion economic impact, generating 12,000 jobs throughout the province.
“One of the key reasons why young people are unable to pursue farming is due to the cost of land. By allowing ALR land to be subject to international real estate speculation, we are limiting their opportunities to get into this vital, sustainable industry.
“Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec and PEI have all passed similar legislation to protect their agricultural land. This leaves B.C. as the only western province without such a law. It’s time we took action on this important issue so that we can ensure that ALR land is used as it is intended – to offer opportunities to local communities across the province and to promote the overall food security of our province.”
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
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