The Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), introduced in 1987 by the BC Government, is a tax on the purchase of all short-term accommodation in certain areas of the province, to generate revenues for municipalities, regional districts and non-profit tourism organizations — like Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) — for tourism marketing programs and projects. (Note: In 2018 the government added Affordable Housing as an allowable use of specific MRDT funds.)
The MRDT is applicable to all short-term vacation rentals in designated areas, and must be charged to the purchaser by the rental owner/operator if they rent directly, or it is collected through Online Accommodation Platforms (OAPs) like Airbnb and VRBO.
The allowable MRDT is 2% – 3% of the rental rate and the exact amount collected is set by the respective municipality, regional district or tourism organization. It is now collected in over 55 municipalities across the province and is the primary funding source for most tourism marketing boards in BC.
MRDT recipients must apply and be approved for program participation every 5 years.
MRDT on the Sunshine Coast
In 2016, Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) signed onto the MRDT program to collect a 2% tax from all short-term accommodation providers in the qathet Regional District (North Sunshine Coast) and the Sunshine Coast Regional District on the south coast. SCT’s application for continued participation in the MRDT program is pending (February 2021).
MRDT revenues now make up the primary source of funding for SCT’s marketing and promotional activities and have enabled SCT to make a significant contribution to the growth of Sunshine Coast’s tourism economy.
MRDT & Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing
In 2018, the provincial government added Affordable Housing as an allowable use of MRDT funds collected from Online Accommodation Platforms (OAPs) like Airbnb and VRBO.
In keeping with its mandate as a Destination Marketing Organization, the SCT Board of Directors approved that 60% of these MRDT funds be allocated to local government-sponsored workforce housing initiatives, in recognition of the challenges many businesses have recruiting staff due to the current lack of affordable housing on the Sunshine Coast.
For more information, see Municipal Regional District Tax Program Guidelines