HOUSING PLATFORM ANNOUNCEMENTS BC NDP: ELECTION 2020

TAXATION
  • A temporary 100% PST rebate on select machinery and equipment.
  • A 15% refundable tax credit based on eligible new payroll for businesses.

 

RENTAL
  • Rent freeze until the end of 2021, afterwards annual rent increases will be permanently limited to inflation.
  • Income-tested renter’s rebate of $400/year for HH earning up to $80K/year and not receiving any other rental support.
PROCESS AND APPROVALS
  • Eliminate “outdated” parking minimums near transit.
  • Develop a “single-window” provincial permitting process.
  • Work with municipalities to streamline their development approval processes (DAPR).
INCREASING THE SUPPLY OF NEW HOMES
  • Recommitment to 114K new affordable homes in 10 years.
  • Continuation of Homes for BC Plan.
  • Recommitment to Housing Hub funding program offering low interest loans for projects constructing homes for middle-income households.
BELOW-MARKET AND SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
  • Recommitment to 114K new affordable homes in 10 years.
  • Expand the Housing Hub to partner with non-profit and co-op housing providers to acquire and preserve existing rental housing.
  • Through the Housing Hub, explore new affordable home ownership models include rent-to-own and equity building programs.
  • Recommitment to build 2,200 more supportive housing units through the 10-year Homes for BC Plan to address encampments.
  • Provide new rent supplements for residents of supportive housing to support their transition to independent living.
  • Recommitment to delivering 1,750 new homes both on and off reserve.
  • Lobby the Federal government to provide urgent housing for Indigenous people.
STRATA INSURANCE
  • Further to the work of the BCFSA, if rates have not corrected by the end of 2021, develop a public strata insurance option, similar to Saskatchewan.
TRANSIT, TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
  • Increased connections within the TransLink network for people living in the Fraser Valley and the Sea-to-Sky region and expanded West Coast Express service.
  • Widen the Highway 1 to ease congestion by 2026.
  • Work with communities to complete the SkyTrain connection to Surrey and Langley and add new rail and rapid bus lines.
  • Support planning and development for other projects include high-speed transit to the North Shore and expansion of the rail network in the Fraser Valley.
  • Invest an addition 1% of annual GDP ($3bn) in new capital commitments including schools, hospitals, childcare spaces, roads, and transit. This includes Hwy. 1 widening.
ENVIRONMENT
  • Recommitment to and legislating of CleanBC and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Empower local governments to set their own carbon pollution performance standards for new buildings.
  • Expand CleanBC and zero emissions vehicle program to industrial vehicles.
  • Require realtors to provide energy efficiency information on listed homes to incent energy-saving upgrades
  • Spur more energy-efficiency upgrades with programs and incentives for both residential and commercial buildings including the use of the PACE program.
  • Continue to prioritize the use of mass timber in public sector construction.
  • Develop and engineered wood and clean tech innovation cluster.
  • Create a watershed security strategy to plan, manage and protect local watersheds for the public good and step up protection of fish habitat through their biodiversity strategy.
  • Identify holes in existing emergency response procedures and resources, with the goal of updating and futureproofing our province-wide ability to respond to crises.
LABOUR
  • Promote industrial and manufacturing in resource communities though a number of measures including offering training, which could assist with tall timber prefabrication.
  • Develop employment standards targeted to precarious and gig economy workers.
  • Create a government-backed collective benefit fund for independent contractors, the self-employed, and part-time workers – and expand access to a voluntary pooled-capital pension plan for workers who do not otherwise have coverage.
  • Attaching Community Benefits Agreement (CBAs) to projects launched through the Recovery Investment Fund.
  • Address skilled worker shortage through training programs, apprenticeships and support for re-certification for new immigrants.
  • Restore the compulsory trades system and give more workers access to apprenticeships that develop their skills.
  • Ensure every worker has the right to join a union and bargain for fair working conditions.
CHILDCARE
  • Exceed the current target of 22,000 new childcare spaces by expanding the childcare capital program and modular strategy for childcare. When government builds a new school, housing complex or other projects the government will work to ensure childcare is included in their capital plans.
  • Partnering with the federal government, we will expand the number of $10-a-day childcare spaces while enhancing our other affordability measures.
MISCELLANEOUS
  • A one-time $1,000 direct deposit to families whose household income is under $125,000 annually – with a sliding scale up to $175,000.
  • A one-time $500 direct deposit to single people earning less than $62,000 annually – with a sliding scale up to $87,000.
  • Recommitment to new Accessibility legislation.
  • Strengthen local communities’ ability to respond to crises, including new community safety fund, local governments can apply for funding to help them tackle street disorder, cleanliness, and public safety.  This would include strengthening their ability to respond to challenges posed to businesses and neighbourhoods by increased visible homelessness as a result of the pandemic.
  • Help BC restaurants and hospitality businesses through COVID-19 and beyond by making permanent several measures from the spring (patios, allowing restaurants sell beer).
  • Partner with Indigenous peoples through evolving shared decision making.
MORE INFORMATION

To see the BC NDP’s full election platform, click here.

Federal

April 20, 2021 - Federal Budget Highlights

Yesterday the Federal Government tabled its first Budget since 2019, including the announcement of a new tax on “Unproductive Use of Canadian Housing by Foreign Non-resident Owners,” investments in affordable housing, skilled trades training and transit, and the extension of COVID-19 emergency benefits.

Here are a few initial highlights from Budget 2021:

Tax on Unproductive Use of Canadian Housing by Foreign Non-resident Owners

Foreshadowed in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government announced today that it will be implementing a new 1% annual tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused, effective January 1, 2022. The new tax will require that owners file a declaration on the current use of their property, or face significant penalties.

While this budget announcement did not include details on the implementation of the new tax, the government will be conducting consultation with stakeholders in the coming months which will focus on the parameters of the tax and whether special rules are needed for small tourist and resort communities.

Investments in Affordable Housing, Skilled Trades Training, and Transit

UDI was pleased to see new investments made in affordable housing including $1.5 billion in funding to expand the Rapid Housing Initiative, $600 million over seven years to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, and the reallocation over the next two years of $750 million for the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, and an additional $300 million for the Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) to convert vacant commercial and office space to residential homes. These much-needed investments will help support the creation of new homes for Canadians through partnerships with builders and non-profits.

Builders rely of skilled tradespeople to build the homes, retail and office spaces across Canada. In Budget 2021, the Federal Government has recognized the need to support more training to ensure construction can keep pace with the growing demand through funding for businesses to train and recruit new skilled workers, as well as the establishment of a new Apprenticeship Service to connect the next generation of tradespeople with new opportunities.

Yesterday’s budget also reiterated the $15 billion in transit investments that were announced earlier this year.

Extension of COVID-19 Emergency Benefits

Budget 2021 also extended several key benefits to support pandemic recovery by businesses and individuals. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the successor to the CERB, Federal wage subsidy (CEWS), rent subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support will be extended until September 25, 2021. CERB and CEWS supports will slowly decrease beginning in July until their conclusion in September.

Yesterday’s Budget was largely positive, and UDI is pleased to see new investments made by the Federal Government to support the creation of more new housing across the country. However, we are concerned that a new demand-side measure to regulate “unproductive” use of housing will have the opposite effect, if not implemented correctly.

January 12, 2021 - B.C. Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) – Final report on Strata Property Insurance

Over the past few months the BCFSA has been reviewing the issue of rapidly increasing insurance rates and deductibles for strata corporations. UDI has participated in their consultations and…

 

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September 24, 2020 - Canadian Federal Government’s Throne 2020 Speech

Yesterday, September 23, 2020, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the second session of the 43rd Parliament and outline the government’s agenda.

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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”.

Provincial

May 18, 2021 - Temporary Tools Become Permanent Improvements for Local Governments

On May 13th, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, announced new legislative amendments to permanently implement temporary municipal authority changes, including virtual public hearings.
These legislative changes will provide municipalities and regional districts in B.C. with new permanent authorities, such as enabling them to hold virtual and hybrid meetings and public hearings in addition to in-person meetings.

Along with the electronic meetings and hearings, the new legislation will amend the Community Charter, the Local Government Act, the Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act (No.4) and the Vancouver Charter. The legislation will:

  • expand eligibility for mail ballot voting by bylaw in local government elections;
  • permit improvement districts greater flexibility with the timing of their annual general meetings and trustee terms; and
  • create new ministerial authorities for borrowing in emergency situations and elections administration matters, allowing the Province to be more responsive in future extraordinary events.

For further details please see the government news release.

 

Exemptions from the Additional Property Transfer Tax Improved for Partnerships with Foreign Entities

UDI has been working with the Province concerning the Additional Property Transfer Tax for Foreign Entities & Taxable Trustees on the acquisition of residential property for redevelopment (the “Foreign Buyers Tax” or FBT).

Over the past year, UDI has been seeking amendments to improve the Regulation. The Government has now amended Regulation 74/88. The FBT exemption now also applies when a bare trustee corporation acquires property by on behalf of the qualified Canadian-controlled limited partnership, again provided that certain specific conditions are met. The change is retroactive to June 1, 2020.

April 28, 2021 - SUPERINTENDENT OF REAL ESTATE EXTENDS EARLY MARKETING PERIOD FOR DEVELOPMENTS EFFECTIVE MAY 1, 2021

Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, UDI worked with the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and others to temporarily extend the early marketing period for projects marketed prior to obtaining building permits and financing commitments under the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA) regulatory framework.

UDI was successful in this advocacy, and effective April 17, 2020, Policy Statement 17 temporarily extended the 9-month early marketing periods set out in Policy Statements Five and Six to 12 months. Initially, the temporary extension was supposed to end on July 17, 2020. However, on July 15, 2020, the Province extended the provisions in Policy Statement 17 to April 30, 2021.

UDI continued to support additional and permanent extensions to early marketing periods. We are very pleased with the announcement made yesterday that the Superintendent has permanently extended the early marketing period to 12 months. OSRE will sunset Policy Statement 17and has amended Policy Statement 5 and 6 with the 12-month period, effective May 1, 2021.

These changes were made by the Superintendent in recognition, “that as developments and approval requirements become more complex, it may take longer to obtain building permits. It may also take longer to qualify for development financing as lenders are now requiring more substantial numbers of pre-sale purchase agreements before providing financing commitments.”

Please note that prior to COVID-19, after the nine-month early marketing period was over, there was an additional three-month period offered under the Policy Statements to obtain financing and building permits for projects. During that three-month period, active marketing of projects and receiving deposits had to cease. This period has not been extended (nor was it temporarily extended under Policy Statement 17 last year). As part of the announcement, the Superintendent made clear that, “All of the other provisions in Policy Statements 5 and 6, including the rights of purchasers to cancel their purchases under specified conditions after 12 months, remain in effect and are unchanged.”

This is a positive step for consumers and builders. UDI will continue to advocate to further extend the timeframes to obtain financing commitments and building permits for projects due to their increasing complexity and delays in municipal approvals – especially for larger developments.

For more information on this change, please see the information bulletin here. Additional information on marketing requirements for projects is also available on the Government of B.C. website here.

 

April 21, 2021 - BC BUDGET 2021

Yesterday, Finance Minister Selina Robinson, tabled the government’s budget focused on economic recovery post COVID-19 including a $3.25 billion pandemic contingency fund. There were few surprises in the document as the majority of the measures had been previously announced.

The central housing initiative in the document, $2 billion of additional funding for the HousingHub program, was revealed by Minister Eby on April 15. With this new funding, the target income will be raised to include those with incomes under $75,000. The government hopes this will lead to the creation of an additional 9,000 affordable rental housing and homeownership units.

The government did not include any new demand side initiatives in the budget stating that the increased federal mortgage stress test coming into effect on June 1 was a sufficient policy change when added to the previous provincial taxation measures. UDI continues to raise the need to focus on supply measures as the most effective way of addressing affordability and housing choice.

The lack of additional housing measures in the Budget was expected as the government continues to focus on policy changes related to streamlining and modernizing the municipal development permitting process and ensuring greater alignment between transportation and land-use planning. Minister Robinson noted she believed the Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR) will be an important tool to speed up the construction of new homes.  During her speech in the Legislature, she added that “for businesses, affordable housing is key to attracting and retaining workers.”

The urgency of these changes has increased with pace of BC’s economic recovery and job growth. While the pandemic reduced net migration to 20,395 in 2020 (down from net increase 79,887 in 2019), the government expects these numbers to rebound to 58,000 this year and to 68,000 by 2022.

The full Budget can be found here:https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2021/default.htm

October 7th, 2020 - UDI HOUSING POLICY PRIORITIES

In preparation for the provincial election, UDI developed a Housing Policy Priorities paper for consideration for all major parties.

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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

Victoria

November 19, 2020 - Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw

As part of the City’s efforts to improve rental housing and support for renters, a new bylaw has been approved to support a minimum standard of rental housing in Victoria and will come into effect on January 31, 2021.

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November 18, 2020 – City By-Election

If you own property in Victoria but live elsewhere, you might be eligible to vote in the City of Victoria by-election as a non-resident property elector.

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May 26, 2020 - Proposed Changes to Tenant Assistance Policy

The City of Victoria is seeking stakeholder feedback on a proposed change to the moving expenses section of the City’s Tenant Assistance Policy (TAP).

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April 28, 2020 - Online Communications Update

The City of Victoria is working to keep development applications moving, while continuing to provide transparency and allowing the public to continue to engage in the process.  They have significantly expanded their use of on-line communications over the past weeks and have adjusted to a new way of working.

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March 27, 2020 - Developmental Permit Application Updates

Effective Immediately the City of Victoria is implementing the following to their development permit applications:

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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.

https://www.victoria.ca/assets/City~Hall/Mayor~Council/Documents/DRAFT%20Victoria%203.0%20Economic%20Action%20Plan%20for%20Feedback.pdf#search=%22Victoria%203.0%20economic%20action%20plan%22

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.

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

Saanich

April 19, 2021 - Saanich Housing Strategy Task Force and Survey

Saanich is currently developing a Housing Strategy; a 10-year strategy that will direct how they move forward to improve housing outcomes and support residents of all ages, incomes, and abilities.

The Housing Strategy Task Force was formed to provide Council with recommendations for strategies and actions designed to achieve greater housing supply, affordability and diversity, and accommodate a broad range of community housing needs now and in the future.

Recommendations from the Task Force are anticipated to form the core content of the Housing Strategy. These recommendations are outlined in a report and will guide the direction of housing decisions in Saanich.

Saanich would like your feedback on strategies to improve housing affordability, choice, and supply based on the Housing Strategy Task Force recommendations through an online survey.

Your input on Task Force recommendations for principles, focus areas, strategies, and actions is important to help shape the development of the Housing Strategy.

The survey should take just 10-20 minutes to complete. Survey deadline is April 30, 2021.
For further information on the report of the survey please contact Cam Scott at cameron.scott@saanich.ca

November 16, 2020 - Saanich Electric Mobility Strategy

Saanich Council unanimously approved the Electric Mobility (E-Mobility Strategy). The Strategy is intended to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and e-bikes in our community, recognizing the important role they play in achieving Saanich’s climate targets.

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April 6, 2020 - Extension of Construction Hours

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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

https://www.saanich.ca/assets/Community/Documents/Planning/sustainability/2020-Climate-Plan-intro.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

Langford

March 23, 2020 - Inspection and Permit Updates

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Esquimalt

April 14, 2020 - Extension of Construction Hours

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Industry Updates

April 6, 2020 - Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Clarification to CMHC’s Multi-Unit Mortgage Loan Insurance (5+ units) on flexibilities related to COVID-19 – Payment Deferrals

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April 13th, 2020 - FortisBC introduces new financial support for customers

COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund provides immediate relief to residential and small business customers facing hardship and a flexible framework for recovery.

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