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BC Housing CEO quits abruptly after claiming threats made against him

A new CEO has not yet been announced
BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay on Hastings Street. File photo Mike Howell

After 22 years as the CEO of BC Housing, Shayne Ramsay has announced his departure from the position.

His announcement letter to the public, shared Aug. 2, begins with the mention that "something shifted" for him on May 7, 2022 after a man was killed in CRAB Park. It goes on to outline multiple reasons for his departure.

The decision seems to have been made last week, as Ramsay says he was "swarmed by opponents and threatened with physical violence," after speaking at a public hearing at City Hall and that he has had other threats made against him.

Ramsay made a rare appearance as a speaker to the motion to approve a 129-unit social housing tower on a piece of city property in Kitsilano, telling Vancouver Is Awesome that he had never spoken in front of council at any time in his career prior to then.

In his letter, Ramsay goes on to say that "from the Interior to the West Side, doubtless small but vocal groups of people are increasingly angry and increasingly volatile," and that he is kept awake at night fearing for his personal safety as a result.

He lists a recent shooting on Hastings, a woman being set on fire in the DTES, and the recent heatwave as evidence that he can "no longer have confidence I can solve the complex problems facing us at BC Housing."

In response to Ramsay's resignation, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart said in a statement: “Shayne Ramsay’s work over the last 22 years as BC Housing CEO has meant thousands of people all across our Province have a warm and safe place to call home. His impact cannot be overstated and I want to thank him for his tireless advocacy."

Calling Ramsay's work "more challenging than ever before" due numerous factors, such as the mandate imposed upon BC Housing to create more housing, alongside "unprecedented housing demand brought on by COVID-19, the toxic drug crisis, and decades of underinvestment," Stewart lauded the departing CEO who "maintained his focus on helping those in most need."

Added Stewart: "On behalf of the City of Vancouver, I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to Mr. Ramsay for his years of service and dedication.”

Ramsay has been a lightning rod over the years, partly due to the fact that he is married to longtime Atira Women's Resource Society CEO Janice Abbott. Their two agencies work hand in glove, creating a longstanding perceived conflict of interest.

His last day of employment will be Sept. 6, 2022.

A new CEO has not yet been announced.

With files from Mike Howell

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