February 2020 - Mortgage “Stress Test”

On February 18, the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Bill Morneau, announced that on April 6 changes to the benchmark rate used to determine the minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages (i.e. the “stress test”) will come into effect. Currently, the benchmark is the Bank of Canada’s 5-year benchmark posted mortgage rate, which will be changed to “… the weekly median 5-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insurance applications, plus 2%.”

According to the Globe & Mail, if the policy were currently in place, there would be a 30 basis point change in the “stress test” rate, which “… would give most borrowers upward of 3 per cent more buying power.” The new approach will also be more reflective of market conditions as they change.

In addition, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is seeking input from stakeholders regarding whether the new benchmark coming into place in April for insured mortgages should also apply to uninsured mortgages. OSFI is seeking comments by March 17. UDI will be supporting the new approach, and requesting further relaxations in the “stress test”.


January 2020 - Corporate Beneficial Ownership Registry and Mortgage Brokers Act Review Consultations

On January 17, the Province announced “… public engagements on creating a central registry of company beneficial ownership, as well as modernizing mortgage broker regulation to guard against money laundering.”

The central registry would be used to improve access to information for tax and law enforcement authorities. As part of the consultations, the Government is seeking input on whether such a registry should be publicly accessible. For more information please see the consultation paper.

January 2020 - Partners for Rental Housing Launch RRTZ Report

Through the release of a landmark rental report, the Partners for Rental Housing are calling on the Provincial Government to implement appropriate guidelines for the use of Residential Rental Tenure Zoning (RRTZ), to be developed through consultation with builders and community stakeholders. The report, titled Making Rental a Reality, also provides recommendations for municipalities to support the use of RRTZ as a tool for rental growth.

Click here to read the full report


January 2020 - Victoria 3.0 – Draft Economic Action Plan

Victoria 3.0 – Pivoting to a Higher-Value Economy – 2020-2041. Accompanying the City’s Official Community Plan to 2041, Victoria 3.0 has a vision for a sustainable, growing, influential city that creates high-value jobs now and for the future. The aim of the plan is to create a diverse, resilient, inclusive economy over the next two decades.


February 2020 - Development Cost Charge Increase

Council direct staff to bring forward an amendment Bylaw to establish a Consumer Price Index-based 2.5% increase to DCCs.  On February 27th this amendment will go to council for consideration of introductory readings. Read the report here.

February 2020 - Air Space Parcel Zoning and Fee Increase

On Thursday, February 20th at the City of Victoria’s Committee of the Whole meeting Council were discussing air space parcels and amending the Zoning Regulation Bylaw so that it includes the same air space parcel regulations that exist in Zoning Bylaw 2018.  The end result will mean that air space parcels will be treated in a consistent manner across the city and they can be accommodated without a rezoning application, assuming the development is not seeking changes to use or density.   At the same time the City’s Legal Department also brought forward a report to amend the fee schedule for air space parcels – due to the extensive complexity of reviewing air space parcel applications.  The fees could potentially increase from the now $150 – $250 to $15,000.

Presentation: Accommodating Air Space Parcels in the Zoning Bylaw
Report: Accommodating Air Space Parcels in the Zoning Bylaw
Report: Air Space Subdivision Fees


January 2020 - 2020 Climate Plan

The District of Saanich is taking action to protect their community, improve their quality of life, and reduce local and global risks associated with a changing climate.  The PLAN VISION is that by 2050, Saanich will be 100% powered by renewable energy and will be a resilient, thriving community, where climate action has improved the quality of life for all people in Saanich.

Click here to read more:  https://www.saanich.ca/assets/Community/Documents/Planning/sustainability/2020-climate-plan-web-v13.0.pdf


December 2019 - DCC Review

The Urban Development Institute – Capital Region has been heavily involved with Saanich’s Development Cost Charges (DCC) review over the past year, providing feedback to staff and Council on the proposed DCC rate increase.  We have been opposed to the increase as proposed by staff and have communicated that at every opportunity. As well, in the interest of working collaboratively with staff we have suggested solutions to mitigate the potential negative consequences.  UDI remains very disappointed that on Monday, November 25th council voted to enact the full increase without implementing any of our suggested revisions that would have helped to mitigate the industry hardship and prevent negative consequences for Saanich housing.

Click here to read more: https://www.saanich.ca/EN/main/local-government/departments/engineering-department/development-cost-charges.html