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FOREIGN NATIONALS' PROPERTY TAX

STATUS UPDATE November 1, 2017:

This action is being case managed by Mr. Justice Bowden.  While this action remains a proposed class action, and the Plaintiff is prosecuting it as such, Justice Bowden has directed that a summary trial is to proceed before certification.  To this end, the dates that had been set aside for certification have been vacated and a summary trial hearing has been scheduled for the last week of June 2018. It is possible the hearing will require an additional week to be heard.

UPDATE April 6, 2017:

The certification hearing has now been scheduled to take place over two days on November 2 and 3, 2017.

 

A proposed class action was commenced in the British Columbia Supreme Court against the Government of British Columbia alleging that certain provisions of the Property Transfer Tax Act, RSBC 1996, c 378 (“PTTA”) which impose an additional 15% tax on the purchase of residential properties by foreign entities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (the “Foreign Nationals’ Property Tax”) are unconstitutional. The original claim was filed on September 19, 2016 and was amended on February 28, 2017.  A copy of the amended claim can be found here.

Proposed Class

This action is brought on behalf of all persons or corporations who purchased residential property and paid or will pay the Foreign Nationals’ Property Tax from August 2, 2016 to the date this action is certified. The class is broken down into subclasses depending on the country of origin of each proposed class member, and where they reside. More information about the proposed Class and Subclasses is available on the amended claim.  

There are different rules for participation in class actions depending on whether persons physically reside in British Columbia or elsewhere (whether within Canada or abroad). If the proposed class is certified by the Court, persons who reside in British Columbia will be automatically included in the action, but will have a period of time in which to opt out (exclude themselves) if they do not want to participate. Conversely, persons who reside outside British Columbia will have to elect to participate in the action during a certain period of time after certification, so it is important that those persons monitor this website from time to time for updates.  We are also keeping a list of persons who are potential class members and wish to receive direct notice of developments in the action so they do not miss out on any timelines. If you would like to be added to the list, please follow the steps below under “How do I sign up for more information or to receive copies of any notices”.  Make sure to include your country of citizenship and where you physically reside. 

What happens next?

The first substantial step in a proposed class action is for the Court to consider whether the action can proceed as a class action, and define the class and the common issues to be determined on behalf of the class. This process is called “certification”. The parties appeared before the Court on March 7, 2017 for an initial case management conference where a schedule was put in place leading to a certification application in October 2017.

How do I participate?

If the action is certified, all persons who fit the class definition will have an opportunity to decide whether to participate in the action or not.  Persons who live in BC are automatically included (but have a chance to exclude themselves), whereas persons who live outside BC will have an opportunity to ask to be included. There will be a limited period of time in which people can decide whether to remain or join in the action, depending on whether they live in BC or elsewhere. For this reason, it is important that potential Class members monitor the progress of this action and watch out for any notices. 

How do I sign up for more information or to receive copies of any notices?

While it is not necessary to sign up with us, we are encouraging all potential Class members to do that so they can be added to our database of known potential claimants, be updated on the progress of this proposed class action and receive direct notification of certification and the opportunity to participate in this action, or other substantial steps. If you would like to do so,  please contact:

Branch MacMaster LLP
Barristers & Solicitors
Suite 1410 - 777 Hornby Street
Vancouver , BC V6C 1S4
Attention: Chelsea Hermanson
Email: chermanson@branmac.com 
Telephone: 604-654-2999
Fax: 604-684-3429

Please note that registration with us does not mean you are a part of the class action; determination of eligibility is made by the Court in the certification process, and you may need to make an election if the action is certified.  However, registration ensures you receive notice of certification and of the opportunity to exercise your right to opt out (for persons living in BC) or to opt in (for persons living outside BC), and continue to participate in the action.

The Lawyers

Lawyers from Branch MacMaster LLP, McInnes Cooper and Appleton & Associates are working together to advance the proposed class action.

Within Branch MacMaster LLP, the lawyers responsible for this file are:

Luciana P. Brasil and Chelsea D. Hermanson
1410 – 777 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC  V6Z 1S4
(t) 604-654-2999
(f) 604-684-3429
chermanson@branmac.com

Within Farris, the lawyer responsible for this file is:

Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C.
2500 - 700 W Georgia Street
Vancouver BC Canada V7Y 1B3

(t) 604-661-9338
(f) 604-661-9349
 jarvay@farris.com

Within Appleton & Associates, the lawyers responsible for this file are:

Barry Appleton and Sean Stephenson
77 Bloor Street W
Suite 1800
Toronto, ON M5S 1M2
(t) 416-966-8800
(f) 416-966-8801
bappleton@appletonlaw.com