Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Privatization, Student Housing, and UBC

UBC quietly announced last Friday the 13th, through a report to the UBC Board of Governors, that they are planning on privatizing aspects of student housing through the creation of Government Business Enterprise. The Ubyssey reports out UBC's argument for privatization.

This new GBE would be joining UBC Properties Trust (UBC's real estate developer) and IMANT (UBC's investment management firm). Both of which operate outside of the view of public scrutiny. Even though they are whole owned by UBC, normal freedom of information requests (FOIPPA): that is, they have no obligation to divulge information in the same way that UBC must comply. Another aspect is that as a GBE these entities are able to raise private debt that does not show up on the government ledger and in ways that UBC itself is legislatively constrained from doing.

As presented to the Board on Friday the 13th last Andrew Parr, UBC's head of housing, described how the management plan would essentially be restricted to managing the physical assets - specific details of the presentation, which was presented in open session and shared with governors, cannot be located on the UBC Board of Governor's web page as of today's date. Nor is there mention that any info on this project will be brought to the April 19th Board meeting as posted on the web page.



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