Vancouver East is no doubt one of Canada’s most diverse and social justice-oriented ridings, full of rich history and cultural heritage. The richness and beauty of the riding attracts artists, cultural workers, activists, entrepreneurs, and families from all cultures and walks of life who want to make Vancouver East their place to work and call home. Vancouver has one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in Canada, and the community is strong in Vancouver East. Heritage businesses operated by generations of families further enrich the cultural and culinary landscape of Van East. Van East has the highest per capita concentration of non-profit organizations in all of Canada.

Like many cities impacted by the affordability crisis, Vancouver East is also faced with many challenges, including an affordable housing and homelessness crisis, and the opioid overdose crisis. Families and businesses with long connections to the community are being priced out, and home ownership is out of reach for young workers and families. Art and cultural spaces are struggling and disappearing with rising rents and the pressures of gentrification. With less green spaces than other parts of Vancouver, Vancouver East is also vulnerable to the deadly effect of heat waves.

To protect and nurture the heart and soul of Vancouver East, it is paramount that we tackle the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, and the climate crisis with everything that we’ve got. We must also support the heritage businesses, non-profits, art and cultural spaces and workers, and entrepreneurs that give Van East its rich cultural landscape.

Van East is where the pulse of social justice beats the strongest and it is my honour to represent this amazing riding. You have my assurance that I will fight every day for all the things that make Van East incredible.

OPEN LETTER: The disastrous state of IRCC

OPEN LETTER: The disastrous state of IRCC

It is with grave concerns that we write to you as the leader of the New Democratic Party, as the NDP critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and as Caucus Chair, to demand immediate action to address the ongoing system-wide delays and utter chaos at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It’s important to remember that these are more than just files in a system, each application number corresponds to an individual and delays often have profound and expensive effects on their lives and prevents loved ones from being able to reunite.
One of the highest demands at a MP office is on immigration-related issues. Sadly, IRCC is in complete chaos with over 2 million applications stuck in the backlog that continues to escalate. The unprecedented massive delays in processing in virtually every immigration stream is far beyond a few months above processing standards, whether it’s a permanent resident application, family reunification, renewal of CoPRs, verification of citizenship, work permit or study permit application or renewal, PR card renewal, or refugee applications. Applicants are informed of a processing timeline, only to have it changed months later. The Canadian Council for Refugees latest report highlights the dire backlog and slow processing times for permanent residence of those who have received refugee protection in Canada. For some, the threats are so severe that it’s a matter of life and death. Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans who have previously assisted Canada’s missions abroad are left behind and are being hunted down by the Taliban.

UBCIC JOINT LETTER: Urgent Housing Crisis Emergency

UBCIC JOINT LETTER: Urgent Housing Crisis Emergency

Follow-Up Open Letter Re: Urgent Housing Crisis Emergency
We write you with renewed urgency about how the ongoing national housing crisis affects residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). The dire and life-threatening situation facing unhoused people will not resolve without federal leadership and immediate intervention and we plead for your action. The situation is a mounting human rights crisis as governments are failing to ensure the right to safe dignified shelter to those most in need and requires an urgent distinction and rights-based approach.
Open Letter to Federal Housing Minister on urgent housing crisis

Open Letter to Federal Housing Minister on urgent housing crisis

I am therefore calling on the federal government to re-establish the Vancouver Agreement – a tripartite initiative that brought all levels of government together to support social, economic and community development in Vancouver, with a specific focus on the Downtown East Side.  We need an urgent and concerted effort between all levels of government working in collaboration with local non-governmental organizations to address the challenges in our community, with urgent interventions to find safe housing and supports for people in crisis, and long-term systemic solutions to address the needs of the community.  The status quo simply cannot continue.

IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

Two years ago, NDP MP Jenny Kwan protested that the federal Liberals were directing less than one per cent of their social housing budget to B.C., despite the province being home to 11 per cent of the nation’s population.
The stark imbalance has improved since Kwan aired her complaints.
“Since exposing that B.C. only got 0.5 per cent of the funding, I’m glad to report that more funds have begun to flow to B.C.”

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Vancouver sets ambitious building emissions example for Canadian municipalities

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Vancouver sets ambitious building emissions example for Canadian municipalities

“The City of Vancouver is providing real leadership with this significant change in policies,” NDP MP for Vancouver East, Jenny Kwan, told Canada’s National Observer in an emailed statement.   She pointed to the heat dome that “shattered record temperatures and killed hundreds of people.” 
Homes and other infrastructure in B.C. are generally not built to withstand such temperatures, and solutions like heat pumps and improved insulation help keep us cool and reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. 
Two other Canadian cities emerged as leaders in sustainability earlier this month.

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - ‘Binner’ Ken Lyotier led recycling initiatives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - ‘Binner’ Ken Lyotier led recycling initiatives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Mr. Lyotier followed up United We Can with the Binners Project in 2016, continuing his efforts to bring respect and dignity to the work. That year, binners were hired as “zero-waste ambassadors” for Vancouver’s annual Pacific National Exhibition.

“He was a bridge builder. I don’t know very many people who could navigate that many levels of bureaucracy,” says Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan, a friend of Mr. Lyotier’s since meeting him in the early 1990s when she was a community legal advocate in the Downtown Eastside.

IN THE NEWS: Tyee - Struggling workers face ‘bleak’ future as pandemic benefits end

IN THE NEWS: Tyee - Struggling workers face ‘bleak’ future as pandemic benefits end

Jenny Kwan, the NDP MP for Vancouver East, said she is concerned about the impact the federal government’s decision not to renew CRB will have on the arts and culture sector. According to Kwan, her riding has the highest per capita number of people employed in that sector in the country.

“The pandemic has hit them hard,” said Kwan, who has spoken to constituents who have seen live bookings dry up during the pandemic’s fourth wave.

“With the CERB and CRB ending, it places people in that very, very difficult situation,” she added. “It is a situation where people are saying, how are they going to make rent?”

“The assumption that they might just be looking to collect the CRB without working, that’s simply untrue,” said Kwan. “There are still a lot of people who are still out of work and unable to secure employment.”

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - Federal funding helps salvage Downtown Eastside Vancouver social housing project

The project had to be put on pause in June when the CMHC financing did not come through at the last minute. Anhart co-founder Keith Wiebe and MP Jenny Kwan said the pause was the result of the CMHC treating non-profits like commercial builders when they are granting low-cost financing.

The site has been sitting with a hole in the ground and some early signs of construction since.

IN THE NEWS: Global News - ‘We’ve really reached a tipping point’: Scarred by COVID, Chinatown leaders want city to remember its commitment

IN THE NEWS: Global News - ‘We’ve really reached a tipping point’: Scarred by COVID, Chinatown leaders want city to remember its commitment

Said Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan: “Chinatown as we know will disappear if we do not get the support from all levels of government.”
Kwan wrote Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in July 2020, calling for a lifeline for the National Historic Site in the form of federal emergency funding.
In comparison, federally-owned Granville Island received $17 million in emergency relief in 2020, with another $22 million earmarked in the 2021 budget.
She told Global News she received no response.  “I’d like to ask the government what is the difference between Granville Island and Chinatown. Are we less important?”
Global News put the question to Freeland, but she did not offer a clear answer, and instead used the opportunity to praise the federal wage and rent subsidies.
Constituent Resources
Mobile Offices
Contact Jenny

Sign up for updates

Connect with Jenny