Local Government and the Provincial Housing Agenda (updated)

The provincial government’s April 2023 “Homes for People” housing strategy identified 9 separate actions, most of which (highlighted below) directly engage the priorities and practices of local governments.

Focused on four priorities – unlocking more homes faster; delivering better, more affordable homes; helping those with the greatest housing need; and creating a housing market for people, not speculators – the actions in Homes for People include:

delivering more middle-income small-scale, multi-unit housing that people can afford, including town homes, duplexes and triplexes through zoning changes and proactive partnerships;

offering forgivable loans for homeowners to build and rent secondary suites below market rates to increase affordable rental supply quickly;

building thousands more affordable homes for renters, Indigenous Peoples on and off reserve, women and children leaving violence, and building thousands more on-campus student housing units;

delivering thousands of new homes near public transit, and launching BC Builds to use public land to deliver affordable homes for people;

▪ introducing a flipping tax to discourage short-term speculation;

▪ providing an annual income-tested tax credit of up to $400 per year for renters;

providing more homes and supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness;

streamlining and modernizing permitting to reduce costs and speed up approvals to get homes built faster; ...

This fall the government introduced Bill 35, the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act, Bill 44, the Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act, 2023, and the Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Development) Amendment Act, 2023 (Bill 47), which implement several aspects of the provincial housing strategy; more legislation is expected in the 2024 session. This paper examines aspects of the Province’s strategy that particularly affect local governments and takes a preliminary look at Bills 35, 44 and 47. Together with the Housing Statutes (Development Financing) Amendment Act, 2023 (Bill 46) (which isn’t addressed in this paper), Bills 44 and 47 make the most substantial amendments to the planning and land use management authorities of local government since Part 14 of the Local Government Act was revised in 1985. (Bills 44, 46 and 47 make as many equivalent changes to Vancouver’s land use management powers under the Vancouver Charter as are practical, given the fact that the Charter doesn’t contemplate an official community plan.)

Download pdf: Local Government and the Provincial Housing Agenda (updated)

Contributing Lawyers: