Who's in Charge? Provincial Override in Land Use Management

Over the past several years commentators on municipal land use policy in BC have been suggesting that the time has come for the provincial government to play a greater role in local land use management, specifically with respect to the accommodation of additional housing units in existing communities. Various reports, including Opening Doors: unlocking housing supply for affordability, the final report of the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability, have detailed some suggested interventions.[1] Our new Premier signalled during the campaign for his party’s leadership that the era of complete municipal autonomy in matters of residential zoning and housing supply is coming to an end.[2] In response, some local government leaders have indicated an intention to defend against provincial incursions into what they consider to be their exclusive jurisdiction. The time is right for a review of the legal framework in which this exchange of views is occurring.

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