Federal

January 26, 2023 - CMHC Rental Market Report
CMHC Rental Market Report –

The CMHC has released its latest Rental Market Report on January 26. The annual report highlights key changes in the Vancouver CMA and Victoria CMA rental markets, where vacancy rates remained some of the lowest in the country. Notably, the purpose-built rental (PBR) vacancy rate in Vancouver decreased between 2021 and 2022 from 1.2% to 0.9%, illustrating the impact of higher homeownership costs which have caused residents to remain in the rental market longer, alongside demand from new residents. This is in-line with other major cities, including Toronto.

Rent control, limiting rent increases during tenancies, contributed to a widening rent gap between vacant and occupied units. This highlighted the difference in the market conditions today, and those of the past reflected in the overall average rent rates.

Rental supply increased in both Vancouver and Victoria, the latter showing a slight loosening in vacancy rates. For PBR, vacancy rates increased from 1% to 1.5%, and for rented condominiums from 0% to 0.2%, still well below national averages.

Overall, the report reinforces that demand for rental housing is continuing to outpace supply, constricting rental availability as rents increased.

 

January 24, 2023 - Federal Initiatives Impacting Housing

Federal Initiatives Impacting Housing

 

The release of the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act Regulations in late December has prompted concern from builders in B.C. The low foreign investment threshold, set at 3% control, will likely impact both the development of new housing and the ban itself is expected to add even more demand to the existing rental market.

 

Combined with the suite of other commitments made in the mandate letter for the Federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and the proposed changes to rental financing programs, UDI is concerned that there will be negative impacts on the ability to expand housing supply in B.C. UDI has requested to meet with Minister Ahmed Hussen to discuss these and other concerns.

November 18, 2022 - Accessibility Standards Canada public review

Accessibility Standards Canada public review

In addition to our participation in development of the National Model Codes, we’re also working with standards development organizations to advance accessibility in the BC Building Code.

In June 2022, the Office of Housing and Construction Standards signed a memorandum of understanding with Accessibility Standards Canada. The agreement supports the collaboration and coordination to enhance accessibility in building codes and standards across Canada.

Accessibility Standards Canada is holding a public review of its draft Model standard for the built environment – accessibility. The B.C. government is reviewing this standard and may consider adopting portions in future BC Building Codes. We are pleased to extend this invitation to you, to participate in the public review. Your feedback will be valuable to confirm the requirements are clear, technically accurate, and remove barriers to accessibility at the design and construction stage.

The public review is open from November 8, 2022, to January 7, 2023. To participate, please visit the Accessibility Standards Canada website.

For more information please contact –  building.safety@gov.bc.ca

November 18, 2022 - Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Code public review

Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Code public review

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Code’s (CCBFC) is inviting the public to review proposed changes to the 2020 National Model Codes, including the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada, the National Plumbing Code of Canada, and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. The public review runs until December 23, 2022.

You are encouraged to participate in the public review. Your feedback on the proposed changes will help shape the National Model Codes which the BC Codes are based on.

 

Refer to the CCBFC website for details on how to participate.  If you require further information on the CCBFC public review, please email the CCBFCSecretary-SecretaireCCCBPI@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.

September 6, 2022 - Canada Green Building Strategy

The Government has released a Canada Green Building Strategy Discussion Paper and is seeking comments through a survey open until September 16, 2022. They plan on releasing the final version of the Strategy next Spring.

 

Canada’s 16 million dwellings and 482,000 commercial/public buildings account for 13% of country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with 91 Mt being released by the sector in 2019, and “… 14% of Canadian homes are located in areas at risk of flooding.” The Strategy is intended to reduce emissions to 53 Mt by 2030 and net-zero by 2050, as well as improve the resilience of the nation’s building stock. It is also intended to become an economic development tool. The Government states that affordability will be a key guiding principle of the Strategy, “… as they seek to lower the costs of transforming Canada’s buildings.” They argue many of the actions will reduce costs, and there will be other savings (e.g., lower insurance rates due resiliency improvements).

 

Key outcomes of the Strategy would include:

  • All new buildings need to be net-zero carbon-ready as early as 2027 and no later than 2032 and conform to the latest applicable codes, standards and guidelines for climate resilience as early as 2025 and no later than 2030;”
  • Increasing the retrofit rate from 1% to between 3% and 5% by 2025, and the retrofits would need to be deep as well as improve climate resiliency;
  • Electrifying space and water heating with “Phased timelines for the transition off of fossil fuel heating systems …,” so new natural gas connections would no longer be allowed;
  • Continuing to improve the energy efficiency of buildings; and
  • Reducing embodied carbon.

The Discussion Paper includes six Strategic Themes, which you can read more about here.

 

UDI will be providing a response to the Canada Green Building Strategy Discussion Paper. If you have any comments, please contact Cassandra Smith by September 12, 2022.

June 23, 2022 - CMHC: Estimating Supply Gaps Report
CMHC: ESTIMATING SUPPLY GAPS REPORT
On June 23rd, CMHC released a Canada’s Housing Supply Shortages: Estimating what is needed to solve Canada’s housing affordability crisis by 2030 Report. They utilize an economic analysis that includes factors such as income growth to estimate the needed supply of housing by 2030 to keep affordability levels to what they were in 2003/2004.CMHC projects that the county will “… need to 3.5 million additional housing units beyond current projections,” and “Two-thirds of the 3.5 million housing unit gap is in Ontario and British Columbia where housing markets are least affordable.” For British Columbia, the gap will be 570,000 homes, and this is with a target affordability in which 44% of household pre-tax incomes are spent on housing (the other provinces range from 30% to 37%).CMHC points out that “Many other potential explanations to explain high house prices on the demand side have been advanced with policy actions taken to address them, but these measures have had little long-term impact on house prices and affordability.”The report discusses constraints on housing supply as the main issue, pointing to the need for more and diverse supply across the housing system. They call on governments to speed up approval times and the development industry to become more productive. They also recognize that there are skilled worker shortages, supply-chain challenges, and construction cost pressures, which “… are big hurdles to overcome to meet the 2030 target.” Please see the CMHC blog post on the report.
April 12, 2022 - Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement

As you may be aware, the Province of British Columbia has signed the Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement (CCRA) under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The CCRA is a federal-provincial-territorial agreement related to the harmonization of building, fire, plumbing and other construction codes across Canada.
Harmonizing the provincial/territorial construction codes and the national model codes will help to decrease construction costs and reduce barriers related to manufacturing, operation, inspection, education, and training. It will also promote an open, efficient, and stable domestic market for long-term job creation, economic growth, and stability, and will encourage innovation and competition across Canada by reducing administrative and compliance costs, red tape, and time to market.
Key commitments of the agreement include:

  • reducing or eliminating technical variations between the provincial/territorial construction codes and the national model codes;
  • timely adoption of the national model codes by the provinces and territories;
  • transforming the national code development system to better meet the needs of federal, provincial, and territorial parties; and
  • making the national model codes freely available in electronic format.

The full text of the CCRA is available on the CFTA website.
Federal, provincial, and territorial parties have begun work under the agreement to plan the transformation of the national code development system. At this time, the features of the transformed system are still under consideration. The Province is committed to continue working with our valued partners once the new national code development system has been developed.
Further information on the CCRA and its implementation can be found on the Building and Safety Standards Branch website.

April 8, 2022 - Federal Budget

Yesterday, the Federal Government released its 2022 Budget, and much of the focus is on housing and transitioning to a climate resilient economy. There is a growing consensus that more needs to be done to increase housing supply across the country, and that work will require collaboration across all levels of government and with builders.

Support for new housing supply

  • Providing $4 billion over five years to launch a Housing Accelerator Fund. This could provide “an annual per-door incentive or up-front funding for investments in municipal housing planning and delivery processes that will speed up housing development;”
  • Creating flexibility in federal infrastructure programs to tie funding access to the delivery of housing supply. Part of this investment will be to link $750 million of funding to address transit system shortfalls to accelerated housing delivery and a commitment by provincial and territorial governments to match federal funding;
  • Providing $1.5 billion over two years for 6,000 new affordable homes by extending the Rapid Housing Initiative; and
  • $200 million to develop and scale up rent-to-own projects.

Targeting specific demand

  • The Budget introduced a new measure applying the GST to all assignment sales;
  • An anti-flipping tax that fully taxes the profits as business income for anyone (with some exemptions) “… who sells a property they have held for less than 12 months … after January 1, 2023;
  • A federal review of … large corporate players in the market and the impact on Canadian renters and homeowners,” which may include potential changes to tax policy; and
  • A prohibition on “… foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from acquiring non-recreational, residential property in Canada for a period of two years.”

New options for home buyers

  • A new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account that would be “Tax-free in, tax-free out,” to allow prospective first-time home buyers to save up to $40,000 to purchase a first home;
  • Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit amount to $10,000; and
  • The development of a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights in conjunction with the provinces to ban blind bidding – and potentially other practices such as the right to home inspections.

Addressing Climate Change

To help address climate change, the Federal Government is also investing a total of $350 million over five years to develop a Canada Green Buildings Strategy that will strengthen building codes and a Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative. Other initiatives that were part of the March 29th 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan announcement that were noted in our last newsletter are also funded in the Budget.

The Budget also proposed having stronger affordability and energy efficiency requirements for the Rental Construction Financing Initiative. There were additional incentives for developers who significantly exceed these new requirements or affordability targets, by converting a portion of their repayable loans to non-repayable loans.

Labour Mobility

People in the trades who move will also be able to take advantage of a Labour Mobility Deduction of up to $4,000 annually in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses. The Government is also doubling the Union Training and Innovation Program to increase the number of apprenticeships from underrepresented groups.

UDI will continue to advocate on behalf of our members and will work with the Federal Government through upcoming consultations as they implement the measures announced in this Budget.

April 6, 2022 - 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan

On March 29, the Federal Government released its 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan “… that outlines a sector-by-sector path for Canada to reach its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.” The Plan includes $9.1 billion in new investments, including approximately $1 billion for “Greening Canada’s homes and buildings,” and $2.9 billion to speed the switch to Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

For further information, please see the Government’s news release, backgrounder and the full Plan.

March 28, 2022 - 2022 Editions of the National Model Codes

On March 28th, the updated editions of the National Codes were published by the National Research Council of Canada. This includes the National Building Code of Canada 2020, the National Fire Code of Canada 2020, the National Plumbing Code of Canada 2020, and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2020. The National Codes were provided to the Provinces and Territories in December of 2021, so they could be adopted into each jurisdiction’s regulations.

March 3, 2022 - Digital Adoption Program

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the launch of the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), to help Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses grow their online presence and upgrade or adopt their digital technologies. This investment, which will provide $4 billion over four years, will support up to 160,000 small businesses and create jobs across the country, including thousands of jobs for young Canadians.

Under the CDAP, Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to assess their digital readiness and apply for grants and loans online. This funding will help them leverage e-commerce opportunities, upgrade or adopt digital technologies, and digitize their operations to stay competitive and meet their customers’ needs in the digital marketplace. Depending on their size, specific needs, and goals, businesses can apply for funding through the Grow Your Business Online or Boost your Business Technology streams.

More information can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2022/03/backgrounder–the-canada-digital-adoption-program.html

February 18, 2022 - CMHC Rental Market Report

On Friday, February 18th, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released their annual Rental Market Report. This report provides insights from the fall Rental Market Survey data including information on vacancy rates, average rents for purpose-built rental and condominium apartments, pandemic impacts on supply and demand, and economic recovery information. At a glance, Victoria’s vacancy rate decreased to 1% in 2021 from 2.2% in 2020. The report notes the impacts of demand and supply between 2020 and 2021 markets, beginning on page 20 of the report.
For more information on the pandemic impacts on the rental market, please see CMHC’s bulletin linked here

January 18, 2022 - KPMG Underused Housing Tax Bulletin

KPMG Underused Housing Tax Bulletin
On January 18th, KPMG released a bulletin summarizing the implementation of the new Federal Underused Housing Tax (UHT), which came into effect on January 1, 2022. The UHT is a national, annual 1% tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused. The bulletin covers the background of the tax and the exemptions.

There are some aspects of new tax that remain unclear, and UDI will keep members updated on any additional guidance received on this Tax.
To read more click here.

2022 Canadian Cost Guide
Altus Group has released its 2022 Canadian Cost Guide to contribute to industry understanding of Canadian real estate development and infrastructure construction costs. High demand, broken supply chains, volatile commodity prices, and persistent labour shortages have all contributed to rising costs and decreased predictability. The full Cost Guide can be viewed here.

January 12, 2022 - Government extends loan forgiveness repayment deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account

January 12, 2022, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International TradeExport PromotionSmall Business and Economic Development, announced that the repayment deadline for CEBA loans to qualify for partial loan forgiveness is being extended from December 31, 2022, to December 31, 2023, for all eligible borrowers in good standing.
Full press release here.

December 16, 2021 - Federal Mandate Letters
On December 16th, the new Federal Mandate Letters were published. The Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Mandate Letter includes the overarching goal to improve housing affordability and outlines commitments to:

  • Develop a Fairness in Real Estate Action Plan with new tax measures, policy development, preventing renovictions, and transparency and regulation requirements;
  • Invest in a new Housing Accelerator Fund to “support municipalities in increasing the housing supply in Canada’s largest cities through measures such as inclusionary zoning, increased densification, reductions in construction approval timelines, and the rapid development of vacant or underused lands.”;
  • Make investments and policy decisions to expand housing supply;
  • “Help make it easier for renters to get on the path to home ownership”; and
  • Various measures to address the usage of Federal Lands under the Federal Lands Initiative.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mandate Letter includes economic recovery and growth commitments and climate commitments that accelerate the goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.

We encourage our members to read the Federal Mandate Letters and continue to engage with UDI as key policy issues arise.

If you have questions regarding the Federal Mandate Letters please contact Lily Shields-Anderson at lshieldsanderson@udi.org.

August 11, 2021 - Federal Government Update: National Construction Waste Report

National Construction Waste Report

 

The National Zero Waste Council’s Construction and Demolition Working Group released a new report on reducing construction waste across Canada. It was found that by weight, concrete is the latest contributor to construction-related waste at 41.3% of the total, with wood contributing to 17% of total waste. The report highlights opportunities within the construction and demolition industry to divert wood waste and upcycle it for further use. This video looks at the different ways wood waste diversion can be achieved and possible uses for upcycled materials.

July 30, 2021 - Government extends COVID-19 benefits and business supports

July 30, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the Government of Canada continues to adapt its support to deliver support to those who need it, heal the wounds of the pandemic recession, and build a strong recovery that leaves no one behind.

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the extension of crucial COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors means workers and businesses continue to need support. These extensions include:

  • Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021, and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
  • Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.
  • Increasing the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB, by an additional 4 weeks, to a total of 54 weeks, at a rate of $300 per week, and ensuring it is available to  those who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits.

Read entire release here

 

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…

 

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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

January 26, 2023 - BC Builds and the Premiere’s New Housing Solutions Advisor

BC Builds and the Premiere’s New Housing Solutions Advisor –

On January 26, Premier David Eby announced that former City of Victoria mayor, Lisa Helps, would be joining his office as the Housing Solutions Advisor. She will be working closely with Housing Minister, Ravi Kahlon, as well as stakeholders and partners – including the building industry – to develop the BC Builds program. UDI is encouraged by this appointment and is engaging with Lisa Helps in this new role

January 26, 2023 - Amendments to New Strata Act

Amendments to New Strata Act –

On January 26, the Province announced new requirements to increase contributions from developers and strata corporations to the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF) of condominiums to address rising insurance costs. The minimum lump sum amount that developers are required to contribute to a CRF will increase from 5% to 10% of the estimated operating expenses of the interim budget. Developers will also be required to include a CRF contribution of at least 10% of the estimated operating expenses when preparing the interim budgets. For strata corporations and sections, the minimum yearly contribution to the CRF will be 10% of the annual operating expenses. These changes will be effective November 1, 2023.

Under the B.C. Financial Services Authority’s Policy Statement 1 (section 3.8), developers must:

Disclose who is responsible for paying the cost of utilities and other services. Attach a copy of the estimated operating budget of the strata corporation as an Exhibit, including a schedule showing how the budget will be allocated amongst the individual strata lot owners. If the strata corporation has approved a budget at an annual general meeting, attach a copy of its most recent budget as an Exhibit, including a schedule showing how the budget is allocated amongst the individual strata lot owners.
NOTE: Interim budgets should meet the requirements set out in section 13 of the Strata Property Act. If the development is a phased strata plan development, budget information should meet the requirements set out in section 13.4 of the Strata Property Regulation, B.C. Reg.43/2000. If the expenses of the strata corporation are allocated by reason of sections, type of strata lot or designation of limited common property, the budget should reflect the allocation.”

As such, amendments to disclosure statements will likely be required for developments subject to the new requirements and UDI recommends that you contact your legal advisors.

January 24, 2023 - Provincial Webinar on Soil Relocation Changes and the Discussion Paper on Making Contaminated Sites Climate Ready

Provincial Webinar on Soil Relocation Changes and the Discussion Paper on Making Contaminated Sites Climate Ready (UDI Letter linked below)

 

The Province recently posted the recording of a webinar held in December regarding upcoming soil relocation changes and information on the Discussion Paper on Making Contaminated Sites Climate Ready. The changes to soil relocation, including amendments to the Contaminated Sites Regulation, come into effect on March 1, 2023.

January 24, 2023 - Non-Profit Acquisition Fund Announced

Non-Profit Acquisition Fund Announced

 

On January 12, Premier Eby and Minister Kahlon announced a new $500 million fund to support non-profits to acquire rental buildings. Called the Rental Protection Fund, this program will “provide one-time capital grants to non-profit housing organizations so they can purchase affordable residential rental buildings and ownership co-operatives listed for sale.” The Fund is to be administered by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), the Co-operative Housing Federation B.C. (CHF BC), and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA).

 

The details of the Fund are not yet available and the ability for this fund to provide rental protections, as described in the news release, has not been clarified.

 

UDI will continue to work with the government on its housing supply objectives.

January 24, 2023 - New Approach to Provincial Permitting

New Approach to Provincial Permitting

 

On January 16, Premier David Eby was joined by Housing Minister, Ravi Kahlon and Water, Land and Resource Stewardship (WLRS) Minister, Nathan Cullen to announce a new coordinated approach to provincial permit processing. The new Permitting Strategy for Housing will prioritize multi-family, Indigenous-led, and BC Housing applications as well as housing applications in areas where the Speculation and Vacancy Tax is applied.

 

The approach is intended to streamline applications and reduce conflicts or multiple reviews across ministries. The goal of this approach is also to address the backlog of permits including under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) and Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR), as well as those issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for contaminated sites, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

 

This approach will be supported by additional staffing resources and a Permitting Solutions group in the Ministry of WLRS, which will work closely with the Ministry of Housing and industry stakeholders to identify permitting issues and find solutions.

 

UDI has been calling on the Province to streamline provincial permitting for several years and this was a key opportunity identified by the 2019 DAPR report. We are encouraged to see that housing is being prioritized to address the need for more supply.

 

 

December 7, 2022 New Cabinet
NEW CABINET

 

On December 7, Premier Eby announced his new cabinet of 27 positions, including a stand-alone Housing Ministry, led by Minister Ravi Kahlon. The full cabinet list and mandate letters are available on the government’s website.

The mandate letters provided high-level direction, while signaling government priorities for the remainder of the term. While it was encouraging to see that the government will work towards improving the provincial permitting process, implementing the Housing Supply Act, and supporting more streamlined municipal approvals, the effectiveness of these initiatives will hinge on their implementation.

The following day, Kevin Falcon and the BC Liberal Caucus announced their Official Opposition Shadow Ministers.

UDI looks forward to working with the new cabinet and shadow ministers on key initiatives to support the delivery of housing and job spaces across B.C.

 

November 30, 2022 - Provincial Housing Announcements
Provincial Housing Announcements

On November 22, Premier David Eby announced that Housing will no longer be paired with another ministry (or ministries) and will become a standalone portfolio. The Minister of Housing will be named when Premier Eby announces his cabinet on December 7.

This announcement came one day after the Premier introduced two legislative changes that are intended to spur housing supply across B.C. In Bill 43, the Housing Supply Act, the Province sets out a framework to implement housing delivery targets for municipalities. UDI has been calling on the Province to make these changes for some time, and we hope these measures will remove barriers to new housing and streamline approval processes.

A second piece of legislation, Bill 44, changes the Strata Property Act, to remove rental and age restrictions from strata housing. Strata bylaws to promote seniors’ housing requiring residents to be 55+ will still be permitted.

Both of these bills received Royal Assent on November 24. The changes to the Strata Property Act come into effect immediately, while the Housing Supply Act is expected to be implemented next year, following the development of regulations.

National Public Reviews to be Considered in Future BC Building Codes

The Building and Safety Standards Branch has reached out to industry partners to participate in two national public reviews that will be considered for adoption in future BC Building Codes.

Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Code public review

The public is invited to respond to proposed changes to the 2020 National Model Codes including the:

  • National Building Code of Canada;
  • National Fire Code of Canada;
  • National Plumbing Code of Canada; and the
  • National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings.

Please visit the website for more information. The public review runs until December 23, 2022.

If you have questions about the review please email CCBFCSecretary-SecretaireCCCBPI@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.

Accessibility Standards Canada public review

The Province is also working with standards development organizations to advance accessibility in the BC Building Code. Accessibility Standards Canada is holding a public review of the draft Model standard for the built environment – accessibility. The Province may consider adopting portions of this standard in future BC Building Codes.

More information on how to participate in the review can be found on the website here. The deadline for feedback is January 7th, 2023.

Provincial Webinars: Contaminated Sites Regulation Amendments

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has amended the Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) to align with amendments in the Environmental Management Act (EMA) (Bill 3) regarding soil relocation. The amendments include changes to:

  • “Streamline the legal regime, making the process clearer; and
  • Improve the ministry’s ability to carry out compliance verification and enforcement”

The changes will come into effect on March 1st, 2023.

The Ministry is hosting two webinars to explain the changes to the CSR and EMA, as well as to explain the Making Contaminated Sites Climate Ready discussion paper, as mentioned in previous newsletters.

Please find the webinar times and registration links below:

2022 Demand-Side Measures (DSM) Regulation Amendment

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation is amending the DSM Regulation  under the Utilities Commission Act (UCA) in December “… to support provincial efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.” The Regulation sets out how the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) approves utility incentives for demand side measures for new and existing buildings (e.g., “… energy efficient lighting, appliances, furnaces, and heat pumps as well as building insulation and windows”).

As noted in previous newsletters, under the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, the Province is committed to ensuring “After 2030, all new space and water heating equipment sold and installed in B.C. will be at least 100% efficient.” The Ministry is amending the DSM Regulation to shift the focus of utility-funded efficiency programs to support this, and “… place more emphasis on electrification …”. As such, “Instead of seeing incentives for conventional gas-fired heating equipment such as furnaces and boilers, consumers [and builders] will see more support for building-envelope improvements such as insulation and better windows, and … high efficiency heat pumps – electric, gas and hybrid.”

The proposed changes will phase out the ability of FortisBC “… to provide incentives for conventional gas-fired space and water heating equipment including, gas furnaces, boilers, water heaters, and fireplaces that have an efficiency of less than 100%.” There will be some exceptions to this for indigenous and lower income customers in ground-oriented homes, and radiant tube and unit heaters will still be incentivized for warehouses. For builders and other customers, incentives will be offered for gas heat pumps or “… hybrid systems that use an air source heat pump as primary heat with a gas furnace or boiler for backup heat.”  The Province will also be adjusting the DSM regulatory tests that the BCUC uses to evaluate energy efficiency incentive proposals to encourage more programs and measures in the future.

Even though the Regulation will be passed in December, it will not immediately impact the incentive programs in place today because FortisBC’s next DSM Plan will be for 2024-2027, and BC Hydro’s next DSM Plan starts in 2026. For more details, please see the attached slides.

B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) Municipal Energy Utilities Inquiry

The BCUC has been conducting an Inquiry into the Regulation of Municipal Energy Utilities. Under the Utilities Commission Act (UCA), local governments providing energy services (e.g., District Energy) within their own communities are excluded from BCUC regulation. However, it is not clear whether this exclusion also applies to “… a wholly owned and operated Local Government Corporation (LGC),” as well as other “… ownership and operational structures that Local Governments use to provide services …”. The purpose of the Inquiry is to determine whether:

  • “… the interpretation of the Municipal Exclusion,” should “… be broad because Local Government legislative authority allows municipalities and regional districts to provide energy services under local government legislation;” or
  • Should the Municipal Exclusion only apply to a municipality or regional district providing services within its own boundaries and therefore not capture LGCs?

The Inquiry began in August 2019, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the BCUC reconvened last year, they divided it into two stages. The first stage addressed wholly owned and operated LGCs, and they released their Report earlier this month, and recommended:

  • That the municipal exclusion under the UCA, not apply to LGCs; but
  • “… LGCs that are wholly owned and operated by a Local Government and providing energy utility services exclusively within the boundaries of that Local Government should be eligible for exemption, providing certain annual reporting conditions are met.”

On November 14th, the BCUC wrote the Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, who is responsible for allowing the exemptions, regarding their recommendations. The Commission will now move to the second stage of the Inquiry and address the “… other types of energy utilities affiliated with municipalities and regional districts.”

BC Flood Strategy

The Province is preparing a BC Flood Strategy in the new year, and has released a From Flood Risk to Resilience in B.C.: An Intentions Paper, as well as a summary document. Currently, there are over 500,000 people living in flood risk areas, and the situation will grow worse because climate change is increasing flood risk (the atmospheric river flooding across the Southern and South-Central areas of B.C. late last year is an example of this). They note in the Paper that every $1 million invested in flood resilience during this decade will save an average of $7-$10 million in flooding and recovery costs in the 2040s to 2060s.

The Flood Strategy is intended to address riverine, coastal (e.g., sea level rise), local pluvial/stormwater (from extreme rainfall), and groundwater floods. The Province is seeking to enhance public safety, ensure economic stability and improve environmental stability through the Strategy and is adopting the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

There are seven draft principles for flood resilience, and four program areas in the Intentions Paper – Understanding Flood Risks; Strengthening Flood Risk Governance; Enhancing Flood Preparedness; Response and Recovery; and Investing in Flood Resilience.

The Ministry is asking for comments by January 6th, 2023 regarding the Intentions Paper, and there is an online survey that also closes on January 6th.  UDI will be providing a submission to the Province, so if you have any comments, please contact Lily Shields-Anderson, by December 7, 2022. You can also contact the Province if you have any questions at BCFloodStrategy@gov.bc.ca. After the Strategy is approved, BC Flood Resilience Planning will occur in 2023/2024, and implementation will begin in 2024 to 2030.

 

November 18, 2022 - FINAL REMINDER: Land Owner Transparency Registry

FINAL REMINDER: Land Owner Transparency Registry

 

Over the summer, the Province sent letters to all businesses and organizations it thinks may own property in BC, and therefore may need to register with the new Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR).

 

If you received this letter, you may be required to make a filing with the registry by November 30, 2022. If your business or organization owns land in BC, you are likely required to file a report disclosing the individuals who have an interest in the land (such as the business owners, partners, directors or shareholders). This filing is mandatory, requires a legal professional to make the filing on your behalf, and refusal to do so does carry the risk of fines.

 

In general, this report must report all individuals who have:

  • 10% or more of the used shares of a corporation or 10% or more of the rights to vote at general meetings of the corporation; or
  • The right to elect, appoint or remove one or more of the corporation’s directors; or the indirect control over the election, appointment or removal of directors; or
  • The ability to exercise direct and significant influence over an individual who in turn can elect, appoint or remove one of the corporation’s directors.

Even if your business or organization does not have any individuals who meet the above criteria, a filing would still be required.

 

If you have questions, you are encouraged to contact your existing corporate or business lawyer to assist you. More information can be found by visiting the LOTR website here.

November 18, 2022 - Energy Step Code (ESC) Changes

Energy Step Code (ESC) Changes

 

As noted in previous newsletters, the Province has been conducting a Public Review regarding two changes to the ESC that they would like to approve (and could make effective) in December for new buildings:

  1. Establishing B.C. wide standards for energy efficiency, which are generally in line with Step 2 for Part 3 buildings (although the standards are slightly more stringent for commercial buildings) and Step 3 for Part 9 buildings; and
  2. Allowing local governments to implement greenhouse gas (GHG) limits for operations of new buildings with several different performance GHG target steps that are in line with the following:
  • Measure-only (requires measurement of a building’s emissions without reductions, and is intended to build knowledge and capacity).
  • Medium carbon (in most cases, will require decarbonization of either space heating or domestic hot water systems).
  • Low carbon (in most cases, will require decarbonization of both space heating and domestic hot water systems).
  • Zero-carbon ready.

UDI has responded to the Public Review in a letter, recommending that the Ministry defer the implementation of the Regulation until several outstanding issues are addressed, including:

  • B.C. Hydro capacity issues at the local level and some of their fee structures that penalize building electrification;
  • A decision is made by the B.C. Utilities Commission regarding the use of the Renewable Natural Gas in new construction;
  • There is more clarity about Provincial expectations for local governments regarding the delivery of more housing; and
  • There is time for builders (especially Part 3 ones) to meet the new province-wide energy efficiency and changing ESC standards in the proposed Regulation.

You can read more here about how local governments and the Province will continue to implement energy efficiency standards and requirements, in addition to accessing resources from the Ministry of Housing regarding changes.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS: Land Owner Transparency Registry, Property Tax Assessment, Contaminated Sites Discussion Paper, Existing Building Renewal Strategy
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Land Owner Transparency Registry

Over the summer, the Province sent letters to all businesses and organizations it thinks may own property in BC, and therefore may need to register with the new Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR).

If you received this letter, you may be required to make a filing with the registry by November 30, 2022.  If your business or organization owns land in BC, you are likely required to file a report disclosing the individuals who have an interest in the land (such as the business owners, partners, directors or shareholders). This filing is mandatory, requires a legal professional to make the filing on your behalf, and refusal to do so does carry the risk of fines.

In general, this report must report all individuals who have:

  • 10% or more of the used shares of a corporation or 10% or more of the rights to vote at general meetings of the corporation; or
  • The right to elect, appoint or remove one or more of the corporation’s directors; or the indirect control over the election, appointment or removal of directors; or
  • The ability to exercise direct and significant influence over an individual who in turn can elect, appoint or remove one of the corporation’s directors.

Even if your business or organization does not have any individuals who meet the above criteria, a filing would still be required.

If you have questions, you are encouraged to contact your existing corporate or business lawyer to assist you. More information can be found by visiting the LOTR website here.

Property Tax Assessment Reminder

A reminder to UDI members that under the Assessment Act, October 31st is the permitted use and physical state and condition date for the 2022 tax year. BC Assessment photo documents all development sites to use as evidence in appeals for classification and valuations cases. All developers should photo document their sites on October 31st, so they have their own evidence as to the physical changes on their site to assist in arguments around change in use and value of any improvements in the ground. If you have questions regarding this, call your tax agent/expert.

Discussion Paper: Making Contaminated Sites Climate Ready

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is looking for input on the newly released discussion paper, Making Contaminated Sites Climate Ready. The feedback deadline is November 30th, 2022 and potential legislation changes could be released as early as Spring 2024.

The discussion paper includes six proposed outcomes and potential opportunities to provide input on. The outcomes are:

  1. Incorporate engagement with Indigenous peoples as a component of remediation plans;
  2. Incorporate climate change adaptation in the contaminated sites framework;
  3. Incorporate remediation alternatives evaluation more fully in the contaminated sites framework;
  4. Incorporate periodic review of remedial actions for sites with risk assessment or risk management approaches;
  5. Establish remediation requirements for viable groundwater aquifers; and
  6. Incorporate financial security for sites with risk assessment or risk management provisions.

The online feedback form can be found here, and email submissions can be sent to site@gov.bc.ca.

For more information on the engagement, visit the Province’s website here.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Lily at lshieldsanderson@udi.org.

UPDATE: Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy

As noted in previous newsletters, the Province has been developing an Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy and Alterations Code for several years, so the current building stock will “… become more energy and water efficient, cleaner, and safer for British Columbians during events like earthquakes, wildfires and wildfire smoke, heat waves, drought, and floods.” They held another round of consultations between September 2021 and January 2022 to obtain feedback on the design of a prescriptive Alterations Code …,” and triggers for energy efficiency upgrades as well as climate resiliency measures. BSSB has now released an Engagement Summary of the consultations.

For energy efficiency improvements, the Report includes twelve case studies on how a Regulation could operate. They proposed an exemption for maintenance/repairs, but for minor alterations, the energy efficiency improvements would apply to project areas and default to current Building Code requirements. For major alterations, the requirements would be much broader. Several issues and concerns were noted during the consultations regarding the proposed approach, including:

  • High and rapidly escalating costs;
  • The “…restrictive legislative environment landlords operate within,” the rental sector;
  • The potential of upgrades to buildings being deferred;
  • The lack of local government capacity to enforce an Alterations Code – especially with already slow processing times in several jurisdictions; and
  • The potential of increasing demolitions (to redevelop sites).

Regarding climate resiliency, there was a focus on the need for further regulations for existing buildings. At the same, more incentives were recommended – especially to support low income and vulnerable residents. For more information on Suggested Actions, read more here.

It is expected that the Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy will be released later this year. BSSB will then be working with stakeholders to prepare requirements that would be implemented in 2024. Potentially, local governments may be allowed to proceed sooner than 2024. If you have any questions, please contact Lily Shields-Anderson. UDI will keep members informed as the Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy and the Alterations Code are developed.

September 28, 2022 - Minister David Eby Housing Announcement
Yesterday, Wednesday, September 28, 2022, Minister David Eby announced bold new solutions he promised to bring forward to the way housing is built in BC if he becomes our province’s next premier.  Below outlines those changes.

A Good Home For Everyone
We all know how hard it is to find affordable housing these days. Bold new solutions are needed.
Housing should first and foremost provide homes to people, not profits for investors. 
For too long, the rules in BC benefited big corporations and wealthy investors while everyone else paid the price – so we’re going to change the game.
Immediate Action On The Housing Emergency
Too many people in B.C. are unhoused without adequate shelter and support so we will:

  • Work with Indigenous and local governments to build more housing to respond to homelessness, immediately. The Province will provide the funds needed to non-profits who are ready right now to build projects in high-need communities.
  • Increase the Indigenous Housing Fund.  And work with First Nations and Indigenous led housing partners to fund, build, and support housing for Indigenous people both on and off reserve.

‘BC Builds’ Real Middle-Class Housing
We will immediately launch a bold new initiative: BC Builds. A brand new housing development initiative to greatly expand government’s role in creating middle-class homes that people can actually afford. BC Builds will:

  •  Get to work building multi-family rental and purchase units in both urban and rural areas for a range of incomes. We will partner with First Nation and city governments, non-profit and private partners, to offer rapid approvals, increased density, land, and construction financing
  •  Using public land to build housing. Leveraging publics land held by the province, we can eliminate the biggest cost in building housing and passing on the savings to the people living in those units.
  •  Lock-in the low rates. Affordable housing must be built-in long term for all projects, including when homes are sold by using co-op structures, community land trusts, and shared equity partnership models.

A BC Flipping Tax
Big and small investors alike are using the housing shortage to make excessive profits through short-term flipping. Often little or nothing is improved on the house before it sold again a few months later. It spurs speculative demand and drives up prices for everyone, putting it out of reach for most British Columbians. We need to get serious about taking the profits out of house flipping with a BC Flipping Tax.

  •  Bringing in a Flipping Tax on sales of residential properties sold within two years. The tax rate goes down to zero the longer the property is held, with exceptions for major life events such as a death, divorce, or employment loss.  Any revenue will go back into building homes for British Columbians.

Acquire And Secure Rental Housing For The Long Term
Huge international corporations are trying to buy up rental buildings in BC and squeezing renters out of places they can afford. This results in housing that is unattainable for many middle-class families, seniors and individuals who work, live in, and keep communities healthy and functioning. We will step in to protect renters and keep people in the homes they live in by establishing a new Rental Housing Acquisition Fund that will:

  •  Provide $500 million in capital funding to jumpstart rental housing acquisition so that non-profits can purchase affordable rental buildings listed for sale, to protect the renters living there without displacement.
  •  Bring in a right of first refusal law that stops affordable rentals being bought by big corporations. We will provide one-time capital grants so that non-profits can purchase affordable rental buildings listed for sale, to protect the renters living there without displacing them.
  •  Protect tenants from rent increases when the building is purchased. We will support non-profits in getting the financing so that the cost of buying the building is not downloaded onto the tenants and if needed the province will provide rentals supplements to any tenants who need support.

Changing The Game 
We are in a housing crisis, where the current rules are preventing homes from being made available, we’ll change them so they work for people by:

  •  Removing strata restrictions on rentals. Strata’s will have the right to appear easily at the Residential Tenancy Branch to address any issues.
  •  Legalizing secondary suites, everywhere, across the province.
  •  Adding density in our urban centers. Homebuilders in major urban centers will be allowed to replace a single family home with up to three units.

To read the full plan click here

 

September 6, 2022 - Building Officials’ Association of BC Executive Committee Recruitment

The Building and Safety Standards Branch is recruiting for the Building Officials’ Association of BC executive committee.

 

To serve the public interest in the safety of occupancy of buildings, the Association has developed a new strategic plan to establish the priorities and strategies to guide and align the Association over the next five years. The strategic plan includes primary priorities of education, professionalism, governance, and relationships. Through the strategic plan and organizational development work, the board will have an opportunity to shape how the organization fulfills its legislative responsibilities and delivers value to members and the broader building construction industry.

 

More details can be found in the live job posting.

 

The board currently meets virtually on the second Tuesday of each month, and in-person meetings are possible where necessary. The term is a one-year term with the possibility of reappointment following a positive performance appraisal and the continued interest of the member.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin Harding at kevin.harding@gov.bc.ca.

September 6, 2022 - BC Construction Association Receives Federal Funding

The BC Construction Association (BCCA) has received over $21M in funding from the Government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service to enable small and medium sized employers in BC’s construction industry to hire and register first-year apprentices.

 

An employer with fewer than 500 employees in BC’s construction industry can receive financial incentives for hiring new employees or registering existing ones as first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal Trades.

 

Participating employers will receive $5,000 for hiring or registering any worker. An additional $5,000 will be received if the worker self-reports as a woman, new Canadian, LGBTQ+, Indigenous, a person with a disability, or a visible minority, which contributes to much-needed workforce diversity. Employers can receive payments for up to two first-year apprenticeship positions per year during the two years of the drive, for a maximum of $40,000 per employer.

 

In addition to the financial incentives, the BCCA will conduct a major promotional campaign to attract new talent to the industry.

 

More details can be found in the Government of Canada News Release here.

Aug 23, 2022 - Register with the new Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR)

Over the summer, the Province sent letters to all businesses and organizations it thinks may own property in BC, and therefore may need to register with the new Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR).

If you received this letter, you may be required to make a filing with the registry by November 30, 2022.  If your business or organization owns land in BC, you are likely required to file a report disclosing the individuals who have an interest in the land (such as the business owners, partners, directors or shareholders). This filing is mandatory, requires a legal professional to make the filing on your behalf, and refusal to do so does carry the risk of fines.

In general, this report must report all individuals who have 10% or more of the used shares of a corporation or 10% or more of the rights to vote at general meetings of the corporation; or  The right to elect, appoint or remove one or more of the corporation’s directors; or the indirect control over the election, appointment or removal of directors; or  The ability to exercise direct and significant influence over an individual who in turn can elect, appoint or remove one of the corporation’s directors.

Even if your business or organization does not have any individuals who meet the above criteria, a filing would still be required.

If you have questions, you are encouraged to contact your existing corporate or business lawyer to assist you. More information can be found by visiting the LOTR website here.

June 20, 2022 - Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy
Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy
On June 20th, the Government released its Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy – Actions for 2022 – 2025, which is a workplan for future investments and policies “… help people and communities across B.C. prepare for and adapt to climate change.” It has four pathways:

  • Foundations of Our Success (partnerships, education and data gathering);
  • Safe and Healthy Communities;
  • Resilient Species and Ecosystems; and
  • Climate Ready Economy and Infrastructure.

There are also a number of Strategy Actions, including:

  • “… Developing new climate resilience design standards and guidance …,” for public sector buildings, and to support “… the broader building sector to adopt climate resilient, low-carbon building standards and practices.”
  • Expanding hydroclimatological and flood/drought data collection and monitoring;
  • Conducting a Provincial Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment by 2025;
  • Developing a Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Toolkit for local communities by 2024;
  • Funding an Adaptation Learning Network for B.C. professionals;
  • Developing a B.C. Flood Strategy and Resilience Plan and increasing investments in flood mapping;
  • Releasing a draft Watershed Security Strategy later in the year (to be finalized in 2023); and
  • “… Working with the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative to identify barriers … to using nature-based solutions …,” not just relying on engineered infrastructure.

Please see the Government’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy News Release and Summary.

April 20, 2022 - Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement (CCRA)

Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement (CCRA)

Under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, provinces, including B.C., have been signing CCRAs with the Federal Government. The intent is to harmonize “… building, fire, plumbing and other construction codes across Canada,” to lower construction/compliance costs, improve innovation, allow trades and design professionals to more easily work in different Canadian jurisdictions; and “… reduce barriers related to manufacturing, operation, inspection, education, and training.”

The key commitments in the CCRA, include:

  • reducing or eliminating technical variations between the provincial/territorial construction codes and the national model codes;
  • timely adoption of the national model codes by the provinces and territories;
  • transforming the national code development system to better meet the needs of federal, provincial, and territorial parties; and
  • making the national model codes freely available in electronic format.”

For more information, please see the Building and Safety Standards Branch website.

April 20, 2022 - Mass Timber Action Plan

Mass Timber Action Plan

On April 7th, the Government launched its Mass Timber Action Plan as well as announced a Mass Timber Demonstration Program with funding to assist  “… four new projects ranging from multi-family homes to mixed-use commercial and industrial buildings.” They are supporting mass timber to reduce the Province’s carbon footprint from construction and increase value-added manufacturing in B.C.’s forestry sector. By 2035, they hope to have potentially ten additional new mass timber manufacturers.

The Action Plan includes a number of initiatives, including:

  • Increasing the number and diversity of public sector mass timber buildings;”
  • Improving the way the public sector works with builders and encouraging decision-makers to choose mass timber;”
  • Incentives to promote innovation in the sector;
  • Improving the regulatory environment and Building Code;
  • Optimizing local government approvals;
  • Creating and expanding training opportunities;
  • Releasing a Low Carbon Materials Strategy in 2023 to expand market adoption of low carbon materials in construction; and
  • “… building a construction-sector circular economy.”
April 12, 2022 - Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement

As you may be aware, the Province of British Columbia has signed the Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement (CCRA) under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The CCRA is a federal-provincial-territorial agreement related to the harmonization of building, fire, plumbing and other construction codes across Canada.
Harmonizing the provincial/territorial construction codes and the national model codes will help to decrease construction costs and reduce barriers related to manufacturing, operation, inspection, education, and training. It will also promote an open, efficient, and stable domestic market for long-term job creation, economic growth, and stability, and will encourage innovation and competition across Canada by reducing administrative and compliance costs, red tape, and time to market.
Key commitments of the agreement include:

  • reducing or eliminating technical variations between the provincial/territorial construction codes and the national model codes;
  • timely adoption of the national model codes by the provinces and territories;
  • transforming the national code development system to better meet the needs of federal, provincial, and territorial parties; and
  • making the national model codes freely available in electronic format.

The full text of the CCRA is available on the CFTA website.
Federal, provincial, and territorial parties have begun work under the agreement to plan the transformation of the national code development system. At this time, the features of the transformed system are still under consideration. The Province is committed to continue working with our valued partners once the new national code development system has been developed.
Further information on the CCRA and its implementation can be found on the Building and Safety Standards Branch website.

April 6, 2022 - UBCM Report Missed the Mark

On March 23, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) released a position paper entitled, Building BC: Housing Completions & Population Growth 2016-2021. The report concluded that B.C.’s housing supply is keeping pace with population growth and the lack of supply is not the primary challenge facing B.C.’s housing market. Instead, UBCM focused on labour shortages, senior levels of government, speculative demand and the financialization of housing.

While there is no silver bullet that will solve this province’s housing crisis, and addressing capacity shortages and provincial approvals will be key, municipalities play a critical role in the delivery of housing, as they decide if and when new projects are approved.

In their report, Opening Doors: Unlocking Housing Supply for Affordability, the joint federal and provincial task force identified that we need to be building an additional 10,000 homes per year above current construction levels in Metro Vancouver. The same year, Scotiabank reported that Canada produced chronically insufficient amounts of housing, and recorded the lowest number of homes per capita across all G7 countries. This deficit will likely worsen as Canada has set historic immigration targets for the coming years, and many new residents will choose to settle in British Columbia.

Others have also weighed in on UBCM’s approach, including an economic analysis by Jens von Bergmann and Nathan Lauster and commentary by Andrew Ramlo, Vice-President, Advisory, with the rennie.

Arguing that there is adequate supply in the market does not reflect the reality that many British Columbians face when searching for a home to buy or rent. Builders also face challenges in delivering housing including lengthy approval processes. Some municipalities are leaders in the delivery of housing, while others lag behind, but partnerships across all levels of government with builders is necessary to affect change. We encourage governments to collaborate with builders and support the delivery of more new housing across B.C.

February 23, 2022 - BCUC Thermal Energy System (TES) Guidelines

As noted in previous newsletters, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) was engaged in a review of the Thermal Energy System Guidelines that establish how the Commission regulates district energy systems (except exempt systems such as those owned by local governments). They have two streams. Smaller systems (Stream A) have more streamlined oversight process, than larger systems (Stream B).

The review was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now proceeding. The BCUC has released a draft TES Guidelines Review: Proposed Exemptions document for comments by March 31, 2022.

February 23, 2022 - BC Budget 2022

BC Budget 2022 sees few measures to address housing supply as government action likely coming this fall

Yesterday, Finance Minister Selina Robinson, tabled the government’s budget focused on childcare, climate resiliency, and healthcare. The lack of additional housing measures in the Budget was expected as the government continues to focus on the municipal approvals process. Over the weekend, BC’s housing minister David Eby again raised the prospect of legislative changes to the municipal approvals process next fall. Eby said the government is looking at what other jurisdictions have done to increase housing supply such as minimum targets around transit hubs.

The Minister’s comments are likely informed by the government’s lack of progress to build the promised 114,000 affordable housing units (with only 32,000 units under construction or completed). The program launched in 2018 to meet this goal, Housing Hub, did receive an additional $8 million for administrative support to speed up the applications process.

Under the climate resiliency banner the government also introduced two tax changes to support retrofits and heat pumps:

  • Introducing a Clean Buildings Tax Credit to encourage major retrofits for multi-unit residential and commercial buildings to meet CleanBC standards, effective April 1, 2022, and expiring April 1, 2025.
  • Introducing a PST exemption on heat pumps, paired with an increase to the PST on fossil fuel heating equipment to 12%, effective April 1, 2022, helping fund the cost of a new incentive to make heat pumps more affordable for rural and northern communities.

The Budget documents can be found here: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2022/default.htm

February 2022 - Final Policy Direction Paper for Regulating Soil Relocation

Final Policy Direction Paper for Regulating Soil Relocation

The Province has recently released the Final Policy Direction paper for Regulatory Soil Relocation. This policy direction outlines the process for uncontaminated soil reuse and relocation where commercial or industrial Schedule 2 uses have occurred. Some key changes include:

  • A new soil relocation notification process;
  • Soil testing requirements;
  • High volume receiving sites; and
  • Soil vapour investigation for soil relocation.

This paper reflects many of the comments UDI has previously made in consultation with the Province, and we will continue to communicate with our members as the policy timeline moves forward.

For reference, please find UDI’s letter from March, 2021 linked here. The letter includes feedback on:

  • Increased delays and cost of managing soils;
  • Notification requirements;
  • Soil characterization and high-volume receiving sites; and

Administrative monetary penalties.

January 4, 2022 - BC Assessment Released

On January 4th BC Assessment released the 2022 Province-wide and regional property assessments. On the website, market trends and property locations can be found in the interactive maps, as well as relevant news releases on the 2022 assessments. To find your property’s 2022 assessment visit the website here.

December 14, 2021 - Changes In and About a Stream – New Guidance Effective January 10, 2022

Changes In and About a Stream –

New Guidance Effective January 10, 2022

 

The Ministry of Forests Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) has recently released updated guidance for changes in and about a stream (CIAS) under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA). These updated guidance documents will take effect on January 10, 2022, and will replace existing outdated guidance on instream works.

 

Updated materials will become effective on January 10, 2022 and include:

The updated guidance does not include any regulation or legislation changes but instead aligns the materials with theWSA and Water Sustainability Regulation and helps communicate the requirements for making a CIAS in B.C. A frequently asked questions document is also available as a brief introduction to the updates.

 

 

BC Hydro Residential Rate Design

 

On November 18, UDI participated in a BC Hydro Residential Rate Design Engagement Session. This was the second of two workshops, and many rates were explored before being narrowed to the two options presented below. They are assessing whether or not to continue with the Tier 2 inclining block rates that increase from $0.0939 / kWh to $0.1408 / kWh after customers use over 675 kWh per month. While the approach has helped BC Hydro to encourage energy efficiency, it has also penalized households with electric vehicles (EVs) and/or homes with electric space/hot water heating. This is undermining BC Hydro’s and the Province’s goals to encourage EVs and building electrification. BC Hydro is proposing two options:

  • Maintaining the Tier 2 rates; or
  • Transitioning “… to a Flat Energy Charge Rate.”

UDI supports the latter option because of increasing requirements to install EV charging in new projects and future regulations at the Provincial and municipal levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for operations in new buildings (please see the CleanBC section of our November 2 newsletter). Read more about other options here.

 

It is anticipated that BC Hydro will be going to the BCUC with proposed changes to the rate structure in February 2022. If you have any questions, please contact Lily Shields-Anderson at 604.901.1948 or BC Hydro at BCHydroRegulatoryGroup@bchydro.com.

 

November 4, 2021 - BC Government Extends Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR) Filing Deadline

BC Government Extends
Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR) Filing Deadline

UDI is pleased that yesterday, the BC government issued an Information Bulletin indicating they have extended the deadline for pre-existing registered owners of prescribed interests in B.C. land who are reporting bodies to file transparency reports with the Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR), giving them more time to complete their filings.

The revised filing deadline of November 30, 2022, responds to concerns from legal professionals in B.C. that pre-existing owners need more time to gather information about ownership and prepare to file. The LOTR filing requirements represent a significant change for impacted B.C. land owners, and the pandemic has also placed additional strain on the resources of many businesses.

UDI, through the work of its Legal Issues Committee, has been actively engaged throughout the development of the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) and the LOTR. Concerns about the previous filing deadline were raised at the October 19 Tax & Legal Updates UDI Webinar – including efforts by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) to extend the deadline. UDI was supportive of CBA’s efforts, and is pleased with yesterday’s announcement by the Government.

UDI’s Legal Issues Committee will discuss LOTR implementation issues at its next meeting, and will continue to provide updates to our members ahead of the new LOTR filing deadline next year.

To learn more about LOTR, visit landtransparency.ca.

Oct 26, 2021 - Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR)

Development Approvals Process Review

UDI participated in the Ministry’s Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR). On October 26, the Hon. Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs, introduced Bill 26, the Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2021. It includes several DAPR recommended improvements that would “…give local governments more powers to simplify and speed up their development approvals processes…”. If the legislation is passed:

  • It would remove “…the default requirement for local governments to hold public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments that are consistent with the official community plan;”
  • Councils would be able to delegate decision-making powers for minor development variance permit decisions to their municipal staff; and
  • Local governments would be able “…to determine and specify, by bylaw, the methods they will use to provide public notice that will reach the greatest number of people in their communities.”

These changes are being made on top of the $15 million Ministry investment in the Local Government Development Approvals Program, announced in September that is funding municipal initiatives to “ create more efficient approvals processes.”

Clean BC

On October 25, the Government released the CleanBC: Roadmap to 2030 to meet the Province’s 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets. The original CleanBC plan that was launched in 2018 will not meet the Province’s goals at the end of the decade. In fact, the measures originally were estimated to achieve 75% of the 2030 target; however, they now expect them to meet only 32% to 48% of the target. The Roadmap has eight pathways to reduce GHGs by the end of the decade (several will impact builders). The Government announced in the Roadmap that a Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy will be released next year. It will also likely impact new projects.

UDI will keep members updated on the progress of all of these initiatives as they move forward.

Oct 25, 2021 - Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy

Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy

The Ministry of Housing has been “developing an Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy that provides a path for today’s buildings to become more energy and water efficient, cleaner, and safer for British Columbians during events like earthquakes, wildfires, wildfire smoke, heat waves, and floods.”

The Branch is currently conducting a number of engagement webinars to obtain feedback on what steps they can take to improve existing buildings. The first webinar occurred on September 28. The focus was on flood resilience. The second was on water conservation, which took place on October 6. The third was on wildfire risk, which took place on October 19.  Please see the attached slides for the flood resilience, and  water conservation presentations – the wildfire risk presentation will be available on the Ministry’s website shortly.  There will also be four upcoming engagement sessions (please see below):

Topic Date
Existing Buildings – Energy and Carbon Regulations Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Existing Buildings – Overheating and Air Quality Thursday, November 4, 2021
Existing Buildings – Energy and Carbon, Supporting Measures Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Existing Buildings – Integrating Migration and Adaption Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Branch will continue to engage with key stakeholders into 2022 as they develop the Existing Buildings Renewal Strategy based on feedback received through the formal engagement in Fall 2019 and Fall 2021.

Groundwater License Deadline

The Province has sent out a reminder that “Only six months remain for some groundwater users to apply for a water license.” This applies to “…those who were using groundwater from a well or dugout on or before February 29, 2016, for non-domestic purposes, such as irrigation, commercial or industrial use.” They also note that “There may be significant consequences for your business if you miss the March 1, 2022 deadline to apply for an existing use groundwater license.” Those who have not applied by the deadline, will become unlicensed and will no longer be able to use groundwater after March 1. Please see the Information Bulletin on the issue. You can apply for the license at: www.groundwater.gov.bc.ca.  

BC Housing: Fire and Life Safety Fundamentals Guide

BC Housing has released a Fire and Life Safety Fundamentals Guide to outline the application of the BC Building Code fire and safety requirements. The guide is for residential builders, architects, engineers, consultants and other stakeholders to better understand and implement the requirements of the Building Code. Key concepts include:

  • Fire and Life Safety Risk Quantification;
  • Fire Containment; and
  • External Fire Spread.

Other fundamental concepts include building characteristics, occupancy, fire compartmentation, and spatial separation. You can find the guide on the BC Housing website or linked here.

Building Excellence Research & Education Grants

The 2022 Building Excellence Research & Education Grant application intake is now open. This program encourages new research and education to help improve the quality of residential construction and enhance consumer protection for buyers of new homes in British Columbia. Industry and consumer organizations, education providers, housing sector organizations or associations, and independent researchers are encouraged to identify projects and can apply for up to $30,000 in grant funding.

For more information, please visit the BC Housing Building Excellence Research & Education Grants webpage. The deadline to apply for the Building Excellence Research & Education Grant is 4:00 pm, January 14, 2022.

If you have any questions, please email BuildingExcellence@bchousing.org

July 27, 2021 - Additional Mass Timber Investments Made by the Province, BCFSA Integration Update

Additional Mass Timber Investments Made by the Province

Building on the previous investments in the Mass Timber Demonstration Fund, the Province has invested an additional $2 million to re-open the program for a second intake. This investment will support applicants with costs associated with the design, development, permitting, and construction required for a mass timber project. Projects can apply for up to $500,000 each. Expressions of interest will be accepted between July 16, 2021, and Oct. 8, 2021. Successful applicants will be notified by December 2021.

 

This second intake follows the initial $4.2 million investment made earlier this year, which will support eight mass timber demonstration projects and four research projects in B.C. UDI is a member of the Mass Timber Advisory Council, which supports the work of the Mass Timber Demonstration Program.

BCFSA Integration Update

As of August 1, 2021, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (“OSRE”) and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (“RECBC”) are expected to complete their integration into the BC Financial Services Authority (“BCFSA”). Currently, BCFSA has four pillars of responsibility: pension plans, mortgage brokers, financial institutions (including credit unions, insurance, and trust companies), and the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (“CUDIC”). In addition to its current accountabilities, upon completion of the integration, BCFSA will have authority over real estate education and development marketing as well as discipline responsibilities for licensed and unlicensed real estate activity. BCFSA will also have rule-making authority governing the conduct of real estate licensees.

 

Payment submissions and staff contact details have also changed as part of this integration process.

 

Read More

July 2, 2021 - Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability

The Federal and Provincial governments established an Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability in September 2019. They have released their Final Report – Opening doors: unlocking housing supply for affordability, which provides important data and insights regarding the housing supply conundrum that has been increasing housing costs for buyers and renters in B.C. – especially in the fast growing urban regions. Read more to find out about the 23 recommendations provided by the panel.

 

 

June 30, 2021 - BC Residential Tenancy Changes 

On June 30, 2021, the Province released details on the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) renoviction regulations – requiring the RTB approval to end a tenancy for renovation or repair – which will come into effect on July 1, 2021, as well as the Additional Rent Increase framework for capital expenditures. You can read the full news release here, as well linked below are the bulletins on the changes.

June 9, 2021 - Ministry of Environment and Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy

On June 9, the Government released its draft Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy, which is intended to strengthen B.C.’s “… capacity to anticipate and respond to impacts from climate change.” It follows the 2019 Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment, noted in previous newsletters that identified the greatest climate change risks facing the Province.

The draft Adaptation Strategy includes a number of Actions for 2021/2022, including:

  • Expanding “… community planning and disaster risk management through enhanced use of climate data;”
  • Improving climate change monitoring and forecasting;
  • Initializing work on a B.C. Flood Strategy and a Watershed Security Strategy; and
  • Assessing climate risk on public sector buildings.

They are also seeking public input on a number of proposed actions for 2022-2025, including:

  • Having a climate change lens for future legislation, policies and programs;
  • Developing educational resources for engineers, planners and other professionals;
  • Expanding “… provincial, Indigenous and local monitoring networks for stream flow, groundwater, snow, glaciated areas, agricultural areas, climate, ocean conditions, ocean acidification, and ecosystems;”
  • Enhancing the early warning capacity of the Government for floods, droughts and wildfires;
  • Finalizing and implementing the B.C. Flood Strategy noted above;
  • Developing and piloting planning initiatives to help secure water supplies and reduce water consumption;
  • Including climate resilience in community planning;
  • Increasing climate resilience in buildings by –
  • Adopting building codes that account for future changing climates throughout B.C.;
  • Providing training to the public sector and building industry on the use of future climate information to support market transformation;” 
  • Assessing current and future climate risks to public sector buildings;”
  • Requiring future climate be considered in capital planning;”
  • “… Integrating resilience considerations with existing and proposed energy efficiency programs for buildings;” and 
  • Sharing best practices.

The Ministry is asking for comments by August 12. If you have any questions or comments please contact the Ministry at ClimateReadyBC@gov.bc.ca or visit www.engage.gov.bc.ca/climatereadybc.

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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

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.

Victoria

August 4, 2022 - Missing Middle Initiative

The Missing Middle Initiative public hearing took place on Thursday, August 4, 2022.  Not all speakers were able to have their chance at speaking.  Council is now on their summer break so the public hearing will resume on Thursday, September 1, 2022. Ways to participate and the agenda can be found here.

June 9, 2022 - Zoning Bylaw 2018 (CBD-1 and CBD-2 Setbacks)

Thursday, June 9, 2022 – the amendments to Zoning Bylaw 2018 (CBD-1 and CBD-2 Setbacks) were approved at public hearing.

June 25th, 2022 the DCAP design guidelines take effect through the OCP along with the online version of Zoning Bylaw 2018 .

Amendments and approving motion links

April 14, 2022 - Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing

On April 14, 2022, Victoria Council unanimously passed new legislation to accelerate construction of new affordable housing in the City.  Projects by non-profit, government or co-op housing organizations will no longer require rezonings or public hearings when they are consistent with the City’s Official Community Plan and related design guidelines.
To read more click here

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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).

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

March 27, 2020 - Developmental Permit Application Updates

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

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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

August, 2022 - Launch of new online Permit and Development Tracker

Launch of new online Permit and Development Tracker
Accessing information and updates about development and permit applications in the District of Saanich just got a lot simpler thanks to the launch of Saanich’s new online Permit and Development Tracker.

January 2022 - Development Industry – Opt into Committee of the Whole Process

Development Industry – Opt into Committee of the Whole Process
In January 2022 UDI – Capital Region wrote a letter to Saanich Mayor and Council respectfully expressing the industry’s desire to have changes made to Council’s procedure bylaw to allow Developers the option to present their applications to the Committee of the Whole, at the discretion of the Developer.
Council approved the request and now the option is available to developers who wish to present their applications at a Committee of the Whole meetings.

December 15, 2021 - Cadboro Bay Area Plan 
Saanich – Cadboro Bay Area Plan 

 

Saanich welcomes your feedback on their draft Cadboro Bay Area Plan.  Below you will find links to the Draft Plan and Draft Village Design Guidelines.  Your feedback is requested through their Community Survey which is active until January 10, 2021 – see link below.

If you have questions, please direct them to Silvia Exposito – the Project Manager for the Cadboro Bay Local Area Plan – silvia.exposito@saanich.ca

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

April 6, 2020 - Extension of Construction Hours

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

Esquimalt

April 14, 2020 - Extension of Construction Hours

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

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.

Information on this update was sent directly to our members; if you are a member and did not receive this update, please contact emilyd@udi.org.

If you are not a member and would like information on membership opportunities, please contact emilyd@udi.org.