The Provincial Government said the new legislation, which will be introduced in the spring, will give municipalities the ability to grant tax relief to businesses and organizations they identify as paying high property tax.

Arts and culture organizations, non-profits and small businesses are all eligible for the upcoming tax breaks.

“I understand people’s frustration after years of an out-of-control real estate market have left many small businesses, non-profits and arts organizations struggling with unexpectedly large tax increases,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “With this interim legislation, we are giving municipalities the tools they need to provide immediate property tax relief to targeted properties, for 2020, while we continue to work with stakeholders on a permanent provincewide fix. The old government heard concerns and did nothing – we listened and got to work on solutions for people.”

The Provincial Government said that current assessments are valued on a building’s “highest and best use” value, which may result in a single storey business to be assessed as a multi-storey residential building.

It added that while it is standard in industry buildings, it can cause an increased tax burden should there be an unexpected spike in value.

The B.C. government said the proposed legislation will be in effect for a maximum of five years, with the intent of relieving organizations most impacted by current tax policy.