Fair Property Tax Exemptions

Towns and cities across British Columbia exempt millions of dollars worth of property each year.

Provincial laws require the exemptions of religious-owned buildings used for "public worship" and many municipalities go further and exempt all other properties owned by religious groups.

A few councils, however, have taken a different path. Some administer a local benefits test to all organizations seeking property tax exemptions, while others have a policy to reject all exemption requests.

We will be profiling some of these communities and encourage you to look into the rules in your own community. Share what you learn with us and we'll feature it here.

Join our campaign for fair property tax exemptions


Latest news


SOGI and property tax exemptions

A group of 200 pastors lined up to denounce the province's sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum (SOGI 123). The curriculum was developed under the previous provincial government and continues to be supported by the current government, the teachers' union, principals' associations, independent and First Nations schools associations.

Permissive tax exemptions in Summerland

We've looked at how a few different communities treat religious property tax exemptions in BC and in most of those cases the policies have been long-established. In Summerland earlier this month, its council decided to change its policy.

Permissive tax exemptions in Greater Victoria

When a journalist from Saanich News reached out for a story on permissive tax exemptions in the District of Saanich, I decided to go through and look up the detailed policies for most of the municipalities around Victoria. Even within a very small region, we're able to see a wide...

Permissive tax exemptions in Kamloops

After releasing the responses we received to our survey of BC municipalities' various approaches to permissive tax exemptions for religious organizations, I spoke to Radio NL in Kamloops about their city's approach. Kamloops, like most cities in BC, does give permissive tax exemptions to religious properties and doesn't apply a...

Permissive tax exemptions in Vancouver

As British Columbia's largest city, it makes sense for the City of Vancouver to be the first municipality we profile in our Fair Property Tax Exemptions series. However, Vancouver is actually a fascinating case for the way the city council has set its priorities.

What BC cities give religious property tax exemptions? A look at our data

As we've outlined, city and town councils across the province have the freedom to exempt certain lands from property taxes. In an effort to understand what cities have done, earlier this year we wrote to every city, town, village and incorporated district in BC and asked them. While most communities provide...

Starting a conversation about permissive exemptions for churches

With an understanding of what a permissive exemption is, it's worth discussing some of the issues that are raised by municipalities granting these exemptions to religious organizations. Provincial and municipal governments grant exemptions from property taxes as a way to recognize and promote the public benefit of certain institutions. As...

Do churches pay property taxes in BC?

Police, fire, parks, libraries and fixing potholes are all funded by the property taxes that cities and towns across British Columbia collect. But not all properties are treated equally.

Questioning religious tax exemptions

Today's front-page story of the Nanaimo Daily News asks whether it's time to end the millions of dollars in property tax breaks that are given away each year to religious organizations. Journalist Spencer Anderson reports that the City of Nanaimo alone approved $170 736 in tax relief for church properties...

Langley City council rejects proposal to end religious tax exemptions

A proposal to reduce tax exemptions for religious organizations and charities in Langley City failed on Monday evening following concerted protest from local churches. Councillor Rudy Storteboom presented, for discussion, a motion that would have reduced property tax exemptions for 29 church and non-profit properties. No one seconded the motion. Currently, the...



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