On Thursday, the Government of British Columbia announced that after "a rigourous search" for a new CEO to lead BC Housing, it is selecting Vincent Tong, who has been the Interim CEO since September 2022, as its new permanent CEO.
"Tong was selected based on his record of leading transformative change in complex organizations, as well as his high standards of integrity, commitment to advancing equity and reconciliation, and extensive experience leading complex residential development projects," BC Housing said in a press release.
Vincent Tong joined BC Housing in July 2021 as its Vice President of Development and Asset Strategies, before stepping in as the Interim Chief Executive Officer after the unexpected and sudden departure of then-CEO Shayne Ramsay, who said he was "retiring" but then joined the Squamish Nation's Nch’ḵay̓ Development Corporation less than two months later.
Prior to joining BC Housing, Tong held various roles at Toronto Community Housing, the largest social housing provider in Canada owned by the City of Toronto, including the Development Director and the Chief Development Officer.
Tong has a degree from Toronto Metropolitan University in Urban and Regional Planning, is a Registered Professional Planner with the Planning Institute of British Columbia, and a full member of the Urban Land Institute.
"I'm honoured to have the opportunity to continue leading the transformation at BC Housing," said Tong. "This is a pivotal time in BC where people are struggling to secure affordable housing. I am committed to ensuring BC Housing delivers on our mandate and recent record investments made by the Province through Homes for People to open tens of thousands of new affordable homes."
"The BC Housing board of commissioners wanted a transformational leader to guide the organization through its evolution, and we found that leader in Vincent Tong," added Chair of the Board of Commissioners Allan Seckel. "Under Vincent's leadership, BC Housing has been taking significant steps to strengthen our organizational structure and capacity, financial systems, governance practices, and policies related to oversight, transparency, and conflict of interest."
According to BC Housing, since he was named Interim CEO, Tong has brought several changes at the Crown corporation, including "modernizing leadership structure to consolidate accountabilities, increasing board oversight of development projects, strengthening oversight of housing providers, and creating new whistleblower protections.
The references of "oversight" and "conflict of interest" appear to be alluding to the controversy between BC Housing, then headed by Shayne Ramsay, and Atira Women's Resource Society, which was headed by Janice Abbott, whom Ramsay married in 2010. As reported by The Tyee, Ramsay allegedly asked BC Housing employees to find money for Atira.
A forensic investigation of BC Housing was ordered by Premier David Eby, and has already been received from the Ministry of Housing. In March, the Ministry announced that it was preparing for the release of the report.