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City of Vancouver likes new Airbnb tax in Quebec

The City of Vancouver is applauding Airbnb’s move to work with Quebec in implementing a tourism tax.

The City says the Quebec tax, the first of its kind in Canada, is a chance for the city and the new B.C. government to start a conversation around new policies.

The City’s General Manager of Development, Buildings, and Licensing Kaye Krishna says both provincial and municipal negotiations and corporations with Airbnb is critical.

“We really think it’s important for both the federal and provincial government to look at tax equity and when we did our stakeholder engagement on short term rentals that was very loud and clear from the tourism industry that they were OK and in support of  short term rentals but wanted to ensure that there was tax equity.”

Krishna says the city is considering all tax ideas, from a sales tax to a destination marketing fee that some hotels charge, but formal proposals have yet to be made.

Vancouver’s first priority is to regulate the short term rental industry.

Licensing proposals were made earlier this summer and Krishna says the city is still in talks with Airbnb.

She says there are about six thousand short term rentals in Vancouver alone.

“Airbnb is one of many platforms. So, VRBO, Expedia, HomeAway, Travel Advisor are all big sites, they are all also doing short term rentals. Unless they are all cooperating, we can’t create one policy or one implementation strategy based on one website. We think it’s great that Airbnb is being co-operative but we have to be able to create policy that all platforms can work within and work with us.”

In an emailed statement to CKNW, Finance Minister Carole James said that the province had only just learned of the decision in Quebec.

James said that the province was aware that many municipalities are looking at the issue of short term rentals in relation to rental vacancy problems, and are looking at a “broad spectrum” of possible solutions.

“Minister Selina Robinson and I will be working closely with local governments to develop an integrated strategy to fix the housing and affordability problems impacting people,” she said.

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