In the final days of BC’s Rental Housing Task Force, Pets OK BC has been given a stakeholder consultation meeting, to communicate their analysis and solutions to the housing crisis from a perspective of putting affordable pet-friendly housing policies at the centre.
“It was refreshing to have the opportunity to openly discuss how the lack of affordable pet friendly housing is affecting families across the province, and how we can improve that situation,” said Pets OK BC co-founder and organizer Eliot Galán. “The Task Force I think showed sincere interest to learn more about the issue from our point-of-view, so we are very thankful for the opportunity to be heard.”
Pets OK BC’s policy report illuminates how other parts of the world are dealing with a lack of pet-friendly options for families. In particular in the U.S. and France, animal companionship has been legally recognized as a “basic civil right,” according to a recent study published in Oxford University’s Journal for Public Health. (Here is an article about it.)
“Though under President Trump, I don’t expect private property rules to change any time soon, it is important to recognize that the US government is taking steps where it can, specifically by ensuring tenants in public housing and those receiving rent subsidies have their right to animal companionship respected. In the UK and Australia, legislation is being considered that would give renters a default right to pets in their homes, and of course Ontario did exactly that 28 years ago. Here in BC, however, we have no such protections, even if you are a senior or have mental health challenges. We are hopeful that this Task Force will recommend to right those wrongs and modernize BC’s approach to housing, for the benefit of all families,” said Galán.
The Oxford study cites a “persistent undervaluing of human–animal relationships that exists at policy and practice levels. Furthermore, banning companion animals from affordable housing subsumes an accepted yet insidious practise of regulating the lives of older adults who have not achieved idealized conceptions of responsible aging, including home ownership.”
We successfully held our first rally on the steps of the Legislature in Victoria, BC, October 22, to celebrate the milestone of reaching 10,000 signatures on our petition to end “no pets” policies in the province. In response, the Housing Minister has agreed to meet with us.
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Approximate number of pets surrendered to the BCSPCA each year due to housing related issues.
How much longer people with pets stay in their rental units than people without.