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Remove racist language in land title documents, UBCM tells Victoria

Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said Metro Vancouver municipalities once restricted Asians in many areas.
Vancouver city councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung wants proactive removal of racist language in land title documents

B.C.’s Land Titles Office should remove racist documents and covenants from its files rather than forcing landowners to pay for that work to be done, Union of BC Municipalities delegates voted Sept. 22.

The resolution recommends the Land Titles Office conduct an audit of land titles and systematically remove racist and discriminatory covenants and documents.

Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung “vociferously” encouraged delegates to approve the resolution.

She said Metro Vancouver municipalities had titles that restricted people of Asian descent from owning land in their jurisdictions, calling the situation “racist and exclusionary.”

Courtenay Coun. Evan Jolicouer said the document language prevented certain people from owning or visiting properties.

“We’re asking the province to proactively remove that language,” he said.

The UBCM membership in 2022 endorsed a resolution making a similar request of the province to instruct the Land Titles Survey Authority (LTSA) to search for and identify discriminatory language contained in registered covenants and for the LTSA to be able to remove them.

The resolution said discriminating covenants are not enforceable, noting the Land Title Act operates against any registered covenant that directly or indirectly has a discriminating effect, whenever registered and in whatever form created, making discriminating covenants void and of no effect.

The resolution said the LTSA has worked with Simon Fraser University to explore other techniques which assist in identifying occurrences of these covenants.

The province has indicated that there is no charge to landowners who initiate the process. It said the LTSA has initiated a process to identify these discriminatory clauses, and while prohibited from removing, LTSA does use a strike through process to show that the discriminatory clause is void.