Pets OK BC sent the following survey to all candidates in Vancouver’s October 14 by-election:

Dog Voting for Pet-friendly Housing1. Will you introduce a motion for the City of Vancouver to support our initiative to end ‘no pets’ policies in BC, and write to the Premier and Housing Minister to that effect?

2. Will you introduce a motion to study how a property tax incentive for pet-friendly rentals could improve the situation, and then implement its recommendations?

3. Will you introduce a motion to eliminate ‘no pets’ policies in city-owned rental housing? The City’s own Renters Advisory Committee made this recommendation, which has yet to be implemented.

4. Do you have any of your own ideas on how to help families with pets stay together and housed?

Judy Graves (OneCity)

1. Yes! As a pet owner, it is very important to me that Vancouver’s pet owner tenants have someone to fight for their interests. I support ending ‘no pets’ policies in B.C., and will be a strong advocate for pet owners.

2. I would prefer a universal solution that essentially allowed renters to keep pets in every building. I would support creating higher taxes for buildings that demand exemption (which would be used to fund dog parks, etc.).

3. Yes, of course. My Affordable Housing Plan also calls for building up top 10,000 new social units and guaranteed affordable rentals within 5 years, and I would ensure that these city-owned rentals allow pets.

4. Yes! (a) A resolution from the City of Vancouver to request pet friendly changes to the Provincial Residential Tenancy Act. (b) insist that all new residential rental built in Vancouver be pet friendly.

Gary Lee (Independent)

1. Yes, as a dog owner who has just recently moved between rentals I can attest that it is almost impossible to find pet-friendly rental units in our current rental market that is below 0.5% vacancy. I would advocate at all levels of the government to end no pets policies in Vancouver and ensure that no renter should have to choose between their pet or the possibility of being homeless.

2. Yes. Since my background is in engineering I take an analytical, fact-based approach to policymaking. As such I would absolutely support a motion to determine what effects this incentive may have on alleviating the affordability crisis in this city.

3. Yes, I would support the recommendation made by the Renters Advisory committee to eliminate no pets policies in city-owned rental housing units.

4. Pets are an important part of people’s lives. People should be able to move freely between buildings through their life and age with their pets. If we want the average Vancouverite to be able to stay and work in the city then we need to make pet-friendly accommodations more accessible. My ideas on how to help families and pets stay together are below.

  • Short term – leverage municipal resource to communicate the benefit of landlords accepting pets into their rentals (ie. pet owners are longer-term more stable tenants)
  • Mid term – Explore including pet-friendly features in new buildings (dog rinsing station in the parking area, access to dedicated green space on the property, proximity to dog parks).
  • Long term – Advocate the province to eliminate the Strata Pet Bylaw and instead align pet policy with municipal when it comes to the species and quantity of animals allowed in different housing types.

Jean Swanson (Independent)

1. Yes. I am one of the more than ten thousand who have signed the petition. Pets OK BC is doing important advocacy work. If elected, I will work to make sure tenants with pets will no longer face discrimination in housing.

2. Yes. I am calling for a Mansion Tax that will create funding for new social and co-op housing, which should absolutely be pet-friendly. A tax incentive for the private market is an interesting idea, and I would push the city to study this and other measures to encourage existing rentals to go pet-friendly.

3. Yes. I don’t understand why the city hasn’t implemented its own recommendations on this. Another clear example of their failure to use the tools at their disposal.

4. All of the above. Plus, by implementing a rent freeze and mansion tax to build more social and co-op housing, we would increase the supply of housing and improve the vacancy rate, diminishing landlords’ power to discriminate against pets if they want tenants. We could try to end the provision of the RTA that allows landlords to discriminate against pets, as your petition calls for. While it is a park board decision to create dog parks, I would certainly support the creation of more of them. Pets are really important to lots of folks, including people who are homeless, to provide a sense of unconditional acceptance and connection. Thanks for working on this. I signed your online petition and will work for this if elected.

Damian Murphy (Independent)

1. Yes. Our animal companions are family and it’s not fair that landlords can discriminate against people who rent just because they have a pet. Since this issue falls under provincial jurisdiction vis a vis residential tenancy law it makes sense to lobby the premier and minister responsible. It’s not hard to find which landlords openly discriminate it’s usually right in their ads for rentals. I
would also lobby to strictly enforce the law against this kind of discrimination.

2. I’m not sure if there should be a property tax incentive to deal with this issue. It’s a matter of discriminatory practices and it should be dealt with at that level. I’m in favour of property tax incentives generally to encourage more purpose-built rentals.

3. Yes. This would be easier to achieve in city owned properties or on properties and developments in which the City is a partner or is providing any other kind of subsidy for development.

4. I love our two dogs and couldn’t imagine not having them in our home with us. More awareness and education to landlords about some of the realities of pet owners i.e. tend to rent for longer periods would be helpful. We could also take more seriously the bigger issue of discrimination by landlords and enforcement of tenant rights.

Pete Fry (Green Party)

1. Yes. Thanks for all the great advocacy work you’ve been doing. I’m a lifelong pet partner, which has many times compromised my living situation and forced me into housing that might have been pet friendly, but otherwise pretty substandard.

2. Yes to incentives for pet-firendly rentals. I like the idea, but I think it might be a more fulsome study to look at all options, rather than just focus on property tax. As a city and bound by provincial laws and the Vancouver Charter – we have very little control over property taxes, assessments and classes per se. There might be more opportunities we can avail if we “think outside the box” on this; I’m thinking on the by-laws and permits end of things. So I would introduce a motion to “study how incentives for pet-friendly rentals could improve the situation”.

3. Yes, enthusiastically.

4. Since my time on the City Of Vancouver’s Dog Strategy Task Force (2006-2008) I’ve advocated for the city to support and empower the creation of a engagement strategy and public interest group for people and their animal companions. Similar to the cyclist group HUB, the idea would be for the group to enable peer support, advocacy, and instruction: in the interest of furthering inclusion and best practices and mitigating conflict and misunderstanding.

Diego Cardona (Vision)

1. Absolutely. This is something I am very passionate about and plan to act on right away. In fact, advocating for more pet-friendly rental housing is part of my four-point plan to help renters. I promise to submit a letter advocating for more pet-friendly rental housing to the Premier and Housing Minister within the first week of taking office at City Hall.

2. Yes. I am a strong believer in fact-based decision-making and think it’s important to conduct studies as we develop innovative solutions to problems facing renters in Vancouver. I would be happy to introduce such a motion and hope the results will assist City Council in implementing new rules that increase pet-friendly rentals in our city.

3. Yes. I think this is a great place to start and something the city can do while we work on a long-term solution and continue to advocate for changes at the provincial level. This is a great example of how a simple change can make a big difference for renters right away and it’s precisely the kind of fast-action thinking that I hope to bring to City Hall.

4. I think the work done by Pets OK BC should be commended and such efforts continued until we see changes made that allow renters to have more opportunities to own pets. I also think that in order for meaningful changes to be made we need a strong voice in City Hall to champion this cause. As someone who rents and loves animals, I am fully committed to being this voice and hope to quickly advance the movement that has been created once elected to City Council.

Mary Jean Dundson (Sensible)

“I love pets. We are a pet family. Pets are family too.”

No endorsements.

Joshua Wasilenkoff (Independent)

No response

Hector Bremner (NPA)

No response