Vancouver street vending bylaws target the poor and the marginalized

The street vending bylaw, currently being constitutionally challenged by Pivot Legal Society, penalizes a survival strategy for low-income people who struggle to make ends meet. More than 95% of all street-vending tickets issued in Vancouver were for bylaw infractions in the DTES. The neighborhood is also the location of the city’s highest rates of ticketing for jaywalking and panhandling.

These tickets, often around $250, are too expensive for those already supplementing poverty wages with the sale of recycled goods and their own belongings.

Street Vending Around the World
Street vending is one of the most significant categories of informal work, especially for women. The low costs of entry and flexible hours make street vending a globally attractive option for the poor; for many, it is the only option.

In India, there are anywhere from 3 to 10 million street vendors. The 2014 Street Vendors Act is a piece of Indian legislation aimed at providing social security and livelihood rights to street vendors.

In New York City, there are approximately 20,000 street vendors. Disabled U.S. veterans are exempt from vendor licenses. More than 90% of NYC street vendors are immigrants. Many veterans are treated with disrespect by the police. In 2013, New York City Council voted to reduce street vendor fines from $1000 to $500.