Paul Kershaw, a Pitt Meadows resident and UBC associate professor, spoke at forum called ‘Through The Eyes of Langley’s Children: A Conduit for Change.’ The forum was held Nov. 2 at the Township of Langley Civic Facility. Troy Landreville Langley Times

B.C.’s ‘Generation Squeeze’ feeling pinch of high cost of living, says UBC prof

Paul Kershaw spoke in Langley Township about high costs of housing, childcare

B.C.’s economic system needs a serious overhaul.

That’s according to Paul Kershaw, a Pitt Meadows resident and UBC associate professor who opened a forum at the Langley Township Civic Facility by talking about ‘Generation Squeeze’ and the economic pitfalls facing today’s young adults.

“B.C. has the worst performing economy in Canada for younger generations,” Kershaw said following his presentation on Thursday, Nov. 2.

“Earnings are down and home prices have gone up so much that as a result, it takes years more to cover the cost of living.”

If you want to understand how Langley is doing for young children, we need to look at how the economy is performing for the generation raising them,” Kershaw said.

“And right now, the economy is failing those younger generations because it’s not allowing hard work to pay off like it used to, and that then squeezes (young people) for time, and it squeezes them for services like child care, which is hard to find and costs more than another mortgage-sized payment.”

Young adults are also squeezed for money as well as government and environmental debt, Kershaw noted: “That is a big domino effect that’s created by an economy that’s failing the younger demographic.”

The Langley Early Years Centre, in partnership with and funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, hosted the forum called “Through The Eyes of Langley’s Children: A Conduit for Change.”

The forum was the first in a three-part cross-sectoral professional development training for professionals.

The purpose is to bring an awareness of the state of B.C.’s youngest children and facilitate conversation in order to build support and partnerships among agencies and municipalities.

“It is our belief and hope that this session and the initial conversations that follow, will increase our knowledge base and shared understanding so that we may provide meaningful impact and elicit positive change within our communities to best meet the needs of our children and families moving forward,” said Langley Early Years Centre co-ordinator Alicia Stark, leading up to the forum.

Kershaw painted a grim picture.

“In Metro Vancouver, when my mom was my age, it took her five to six years to save a 20 per cent down payment on an average price home,” Kershaw said. “Now, in Metro Vancouver, it takes 27 years. That is a massive deterioration in the standard of living for young adults who happen to be in their prime child-bearing and rearing years.”

Kershaw said there are a range of solutions. One of the most important of which is to first acknowledge that the economy will fail younger people as long as society tolerates home prices leaving earnings behind.

So how do we commit to the principle of homes-first philosophy?

“Homes-first reminds us that the primary purpose of the real estate market is the efficient supply of suitable homes that are in reach of what typical people earn,” Kershaw said.

“If you can make a return on your housing investment, that’s fabulous but it now needs to be a secondary consideration with first keeping home prices within reach.”

Kershaw believes adopting that principle would spark a series of policy changes, including a surge in housing supply that would create competition in the market and in turn would cool prices.

“Let’s restrict harmful demand where people are purchasing homes and leaving them empty or just renting them out to vacationers rather than people who work or study here,” Kershaw said.

He also suggested reducing income taxes, and compensating for that by taxing real estate wealth differently “so we can raise money fairly for medical care and other things.”

Finally, Kershaw said, now’s the time to curb monthly child care fees, so they aren’t the equivalent of another mortgage payment.

“If we can do those kinds of things, we’d better position young adults to deal with the new reality of high home prices,” Kershaw said.

Don’t be fooled by B.C.’s boast that it has fastest-growing Gross Domestic Product in the country, Kershaw warned.

“What makes our economy grow faster than any other province is that real estate is bigger in our province than anywhere else, and that would be OK if we had lots of jobs in real estate, but we don’t.

“As a result, our economy is growing based on the following strategy: let’s raise the cost of living without creating enough jobs that keep earnings in pace. That’s a bad model for economic growth.”

Other guest speakers on Nov. 2 included Joanne Schroeder and John Stark.

Schroeder is the executive director of Comox Valley Child Development and the recent recipient of the Max Bell Foundation Policy Fellowship Association hosted by the Human early Learning Partnership.

Stark is the acting manager of planning with the City of New Westminster.

Just Posted

Agassiz Community Health Centre welcomes its newest doctor

Nikki Cohen is one of three doctors practicing at the local health clinic

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack school board making effort to foster better relationships

Board reaching out to parents via dinner event, and online forum

PHOTO: Pollination time

Hyacinths attract bees looking for pollen

Sardis Library hosting Star Wars-themed escape room

Participants asked to summon the force for week-long attraction

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison celebrate National Pet Day

From cats and dogs to lizards and chickens, residents showed off the animals that enrich their lives

Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on B.C. dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Victims injured in Lower Mainland deck collapse ranged from 15 to 83 years old

Victim Services staff have reached out to those hurt and their families

‘Ghost restaurants’ cooked up by Joseph Richard Group to meet demand of delivered food

The new Meal Ticket Brands venture aims to ‘disrupt’ the local restaurant industry

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Torched SUV linked to Vancouver’s fourth homicide

Manoj Kumar, 30, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Kitsilano neighbourhood

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Most Read