Updated: Sept. 30, 2023
* Targets Released For First 10 Municipalities (Province of BC)
* Sample housing target requirement (City of Victoria)
* "We Can Achieve These Targets: Vancouver Island Mayors Address New Targets" (CTV News, Sept. 27)
* "'Naughty List' Mayors Wonder Where the $$$ will come from" (Vancouver Sun, Sept. 26)
* Government of Canada Unlocking $20 Billion for 30,000 More Apartments Per Year (Department of Finance, Sept. 26)
* Enhanced GST Rental Rebate To Build More Apartments (Department of Finance, Sept. 13) ~ "For a two-bedroom rental unit valued at $500,000, the enhanced GST Rental Rebate would deliver $25,000 in tax relief."
* "Trudeau Calls On Municipalities to Step Up on Housing Action" (Global News, Sept. 13)
* CMHC: Estimating How Much Housing We'll Need By 2030 (report released on Sept. 13). "We maintain our 2022 projection that Canada needs about 3.5 million additional housing units by 2030 to restore affordability ... Most of Canada’s housing supply gaps are in Ontario and British Columbia. Quebec and Alberta are also projected to need more supply because of economic growth."
* Rent Increases (+3.5% allowable in 2024) + CBC News (Sept. 11) + Ravi Kahlon statement
* CMHC: Approval Delays Linked With Lower Housing Affordability (July 13)
* "Progress on Homes for BC" (provincial website)
Updated: April 10, 2023
Ministry of Housing
- Homes For People Action Plan (announced April 3, 2023)
- Technical briefing presentation
- Updated map of funded housing projects across BC
- Newly launched (March 31) Permit Connect BC portal intended to simplify permitting processes
- Belonging In BC: A Collaborative Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness
"This Plan sets out the next steps and a framework to be implemented over the next three to five years in partnership with Indigenous peoples and organizations, communities and all levels of government. It is an iterative, responsive and living Plan that builds on successes and measured impacts for future phases."
Four pillars of the Homes For People plan (detailed on pp. 16-27)
"Unlocking more homes, faster
- More small scale, multi-unit housing (townhomes, duplexes and triplexes)
- Make it easier and more affordable for people to rent out secondary/basement suites
- Work with municipalities to make sure more homes are built in communities, faster
- Speed up permitting and approvals to get homes built faster
- Become a North American leader in digital permitting
- Deliver more homes and services near transit
- Launch BC Builds – A new program dedicated to delivering homes for middle-income people
- Expand B.C.’s construction workforce and spur innovation
- Explore new ways to get more rentals built
- Build more homes with mass timber
Delivering better, more affordable homes
- Thousands more social housing units
- Deliver 4,000 additional on-campus rooms for post-secondary students
- End discriminatory age and rental restrictions in stratas
- Protect affordable rental units through $500 million fund
- Create more housing through partnerships with Indigenous communities
- Revitalize co-op housing
Supporting those with the greatest housing need
- New income tested renter’s tax credit
- More homes to support people experiencing homelessness
- New actions to close encampments
- Partner to redevelop and replace single room occupancy units in Vancouver's downtown eastside
- Revitalize and expand aging BC Housing properties
- More Rent Bank support to help tenants in crisis keep their homes
Creating a housing market for people, not speculators
- Implement a “Flipping Tax”
- Stricter enforcement on short-term rentals
- Solve renter/landlord disputes faster and get tougher on bad-faith evictions
- Turn more empty units into homes by expanding the Speculation and Vacancy Tax to additional areas
- Crack down on criminal activity in real estate
- Offer more protections for renters displaced by redevelopment"
Media coverage of the action plan and housing summit ...
- "Province's Program to Boost Housing Short on Details" ~ Times Colonist, April 9 (feedback from Oak Bay's Kevin Murdoch, Highlands' Ken Williams, Esquimalt's Barb Desjardins & Saanich's Dean Murdock)
- "Housing Summit Begins Day After Premier Announces Housing Plan" ~ Global News
- "BC City Planners Embarking on Missing Middle Housing" ~ Times Colonist
- "Minister Quells Mayors Fears Over Upzoning of Neighbourhoods" ~ Vancouver Is Awesome, April 4
- "BC Desperately Needs Ottawa to tie Immigration Levels to Housing" ~ Vancouver Sun, April 3
- "BC to introduce house-flipping tax and expand secondary suites" ~ CBC, April 3
Random from my laptop notes taken at the summit ...
UBCM President Jen Ford in her opening remarks
"Province should be applauded for hitting re-set and encouraging new approaches. I know our members share the goal of increasingly supply of attainable housing."
Terry Beech, Burnaby MP and Parliamentary Secretary on Housing
- Federal government is committed to an $80b housing strategy by 2030, less than 40% of which is spent to date
- $7.7b invested in BC so far, 23% of total national funding
- Need for a high-density counterpart to the "Vancouver Special" style of post-war housing
- "We need to incentivize creative solutions"
BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon
- $4.2b in provincial funding over next three years for housing
- Homes for People priorities to become legislation in fall 2023
- Goal: Close gaps in supply to meet demand
- Goal: Create more small-scale multi-unit homes near transit that fit in with existing neighbourhoods
Vancouver Mayor Ken Simm
- City of Vancouver aspires to rapid permitting goals: 3 days for simple renovations; 3 weeks for new SFD and townhomes; 3 months for mid-rises; one year for larger projects
- Explore possibilities for 3D printed homes
- Densify wherever possible, i.e. housing atop schools, rec centres
Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke
- Acclerated housing must proceed in lockstep with infrastructure needs
- An entire new classroom is birthed daily at Surrey Memorial Hospital
Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto
- Prioritization in permit queque to affordable housing projects
- Judicious use of public hearings
- In our urban environment, building homes for people, not cars
- Wants to see quicker action at federal and provincial levels; amend the Local Government Act to reward public amenities; eliminate the GST on rental housing.
Labour Shortages and Supply Chain Disruptions
- Need to maximize work force participation, recognize & speed-up approval of foreign credentials and temporary work permits ~ Bridgitte Anderson, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade + statement on Homes For People plan
- "If we're to solve housing shortage, we need contractors at the table. 90% of contractors in BC have less than 20 employees ... we must accommodate new Canadians and rebuild our communities ... contractors will go where there is less risk to do business, so local governments must provide clear, open, predictable processes." ~ Chris Atchison, BC Construction Association
- Local governments face own hiring problems for building officials (qualified through Building Officials Association of BC) and technical staff drawn from same talent pool the construction industry accesses; supply chain impacts include shortages of fire hydrants and street lights; limited responses to RFPs and lack of competitive bids also delay construction schedules ~ Jeremy Holm, Development Approvals Director, City of Nanaimo
- more to follow ...
Original Post: March 31, 2023
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities' Housing BC Together Conference is this week in Vancouver with a program covering multiple fronts ~ the need for rapid housing growth to meet accelerating demand in some (if certainly not all) communities, densification best-practices, indigenous housing partnerships, labour and supply chain issues, homelessness, development permit delays and regulation of short-term rentals included.
Given the evolving policy landscape at provincial and municipal levels, a Sooke staff and council contingent will cross the pond to attend. In doing the advance homework, I'm assembling another link-heavy explainer for my own use and repeated reference. Again, as with other subjects, I'm encouraged by the degree to which the issue (now routinely framed as a "crisis" given dizzying housing and rental cost increases) is understood, studied, statistically documented and backed by phased strategies leading to decade's end at least. This follows a long period of federal and provincial inattention after the "golden age" of housing starts in the 1960s and 1970s. We're definitely, of necessity, in another such renaissance in the wake of two master plans launched in 2018: the federal National Housing Strategy and, in our part of the country, the Province of BC's Homes For BC.
Two fundamental documents to start:
~ Opening Doors: Final Report of the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability (June, 2021)
~ A Home For Everyone: A Housing Strategy for British Columbians (UBCM, Jan. 2018)
And this key contextual point: "Canada’s housing system is one in which the vast majority of housing is constructed, owned and operated in the private market. Just over two thirds (68%) of houses are privately owned by their occupants while another 27% are privately operated rental units. Less than 5% of all housing is operated in the public and community “non-market” sector, where rents are set administratively, rather than by market forces." - Background Primer on Canada's Housing System (April, 2021, prepared for Office of the Federal Housing Advocate)
I've charted the latest wave of incoming (confirmed and potential) #Sooke development in this September, 2022 blog entry. Our activity is to be contrasted with the relatively sleepy growth in other CRD municipalities (as documented by Greater Victoria advocacy group Homes for Living). Saanich is one example of a relatively slow-growth local government that may be subject to BC's new Bill 43 - Housing Supply Act. At the outset, it's expected that eight to ten BC municipalities that are falling short of the housing-start targets in their respective Housing Needs Reports will be held accountable.
While not exceeding growth as dramatically as Langford, for notable instance, the District of Sooke is hitting its own targets with upwards of 1,000 new units to be completed in the short-term future (three-year horizon, probably, pending Development Permit approvals). Nearly half are rentals (a split of market-rate and affordable) in addressing one of the top priorities in our 2019 Housing Needs Report.
As challenging as our rental market has become, it helps that in 2011 Sooke became one of BC's first municipalities to permit secondary suites in all zones, a practice the Ministry of Housing now wants to see legalized province-wide.
Sooke's still-incomplete new OCP features a set of progressive housing policies and actions (pp. 135-141) that promote an array of housing types in diversifying our SFD (single-family dwellings) monoculture. Recommended actions include:
"encourage infill in existing serviced lots with ground-oriented buildings, including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and townhouses in existing neighbourhoods
- continue supporting small-lot sizes in the Zoning Bylaw to increase densification of existing and future lots
- partner with non-profits and advocate for funding support for local non-market housing initiatives
- facilitate workshops for homeowners and builders on how to develop secondary suites
- enhance rental supply through density bonusing, DCC discounts & reduced parking requirements
- consider using District of Sooke land for housing
- incentivize construction of smaller-size units and compact developments
- prepare an affordable housing contribution policy
- review of the Housing Reserve Fund (2022 total: $199,912) and the Community Amenity Contribution Policy
- establish minimum requirements for outdoor amenity space and a minimum number of family units
- incentivize accessible, barrier-free housing and universal design standards."
The pending OCP states (pg. 30) that our growing population will require 1,813 additional residential units by 2030 + an additional 1,567 by 2040 + another 1,658 by 2050. Total: 5,038 within a quarter century atop our current 6,431 units. (If, indeed, this and future councils balance all other factors -- notably the realities of our increasingly congested two-lane highway -- in accepting projected population increases and inviting this volume of new construction.)
If we're to grow smartly, and without further sprawl, as detailed in the current OCP and recommended in the next, then new market-rate, social and affordable/attainable housing must be rooted primarily in the town centre and town-centre transitional zones (upwards in height, not outwards at single-storey level). Rather than a 15-minute walkability zone, the OCP Background Research Report (2020) discussion of the Sooke "walkshed" (pp. 50-71) notes that "studies have shown that people are much less likely to choose to walk as a mode of travel beyond a 5-10 minute walk, which is roughly 400-800 meters." Hence the compact density requirements for bona fide Sooke Smart Growth.
"Gentle density," meanwhile, would radiate out into other parts of the car (and ideally BC Transit)-reliant community growth area as multi-family triplexes and other missing middle housing infill housing types pop up and enhance existing neighbourhood character.
Structure of what follows:
i) Current BC housing issues in brief (Jen Ford, UBCM)
ii) Foundational documents re: human and housing rights (UN)
iii) CMHC definitions (affordable, attainable, core-housing needs)
iv) Housing solutions (missing middle, New Urbanism, Small Housing BC)
v) Government of Canada - National Housing Strategy
vi) Province of BC - Homes for BC
vii) Provincial non-profit housing providers
viii) Capital Regional District Housing Corporation
ix) District of Sooke
x) Addressing homelessness
Housing Issues In Brief
UBCM President Jen Ford summed up the main issues succinctly in a recent Vancouver Sun opinion piece:
"While there may be a wide range of opinions on potential policy responses, here is what we can agree on:
* There is an affordability crisis that is disproportionately impacting younger people, urban Indigenous peoples, and those in lower income brackets;
* There is a growing homelessness challenge, inextricably linked with addiction and mental health, that is present in communities throughout the province, not just the largest cities;
* Many households are under stress managing the costs of mortgages or soaring rents; and
* Housing costs are a significant barrier to entry for new Canadians and out-of-province migration." '
(Canada's net population growth in 2022 was 1.05 million people vs. 220k housing starts last year)
Foundational Documents: Human Rights and the Right to Housing
- Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948)
- United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (2015) + infographic
- UN Economic and Social Council resolution: Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness (2020)
- Global homelessness statistics: "The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing (Habitat, 2015). In 2021, the World Economic Forum reported that 150 million people were homeless worldwide."
* Affordable housing
"In Canada, housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income." (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
* Attainable housing
1. "Attainable housing refers to housing that is Adequate in condition (no major repairs needed), Appropriate in size (bedrooms appropriate for household), Affordable (costing less than 30% of before-tax income), Accessible to Services (located in areas where common services are available), and Available (a range of housing types)."
2. "Housing that is affordable to people earning around the Area Median Income (AMI). Households living in attainable housing and earning between 80% and 120% of the AMI should not need to spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs."
"What Does 'Affordable' Housing Even Mean Anymore? - The Tyee (July 8, 2022)
"What Do We Mean By 'Affordable' Housing? - The Tyee (Aug. 7, 2017)
* Core Housing Need
"A household is said to be in 'core housing need' if its housing falls below at least one of the adequacy, affordability or suitability standards and it would have to spend 30% or more of its total before-tax income to pay the median rent of alternative local housing that is acceptable (meets all three housing standards)." ~ Statistics Canada
"In 2021, one in 10 Canadian households were in core housing need.
In Canada, the core housing need rate in 2021 was 10.1%, and it fell 2.6 percentage points from 12.7% in 2016.
In British Columbia, the core housing need rate in 2021 was 13.4%, and it fell 1.5 percentage points from 14.9% in 2016."
- Core Housing Need of Private Household
"Housing indicator thresholds are defined as follows:
* Adequate housing is reported by their residents as not requiring any major repairs.
* Affordable housing has shelter costs equal to less than 30% of total before-tax household income.
* Suitable housing has enough bedrooms for the size and composition of resident households according to the National Occupancy Standard, conceived by the CMHC and provincial and territorial representatives."
* Core Housing Need By The Numbers (CMHC historical trends)
* Understanding Core Housing Need (CMHC)
New Thinking: Gentle Density, Smaller Footprints, More Affordability
Small Housing BC
- Gentle Density Policy Solutions for British Columbia (January 2023)
1. Enable strata-title accessory units (i.e., houseplexes)
2. Development a province-wide Gentle Housing Density (GHD) mechanism
3. Utilize the PatH (Permanently Attainable Home Ownership model
- Toolkit: Innovations in Small-Scale Living from North America
- Gentle Density Network
- Permanently Affordable Homeownership Feasibility Study
"Small Housing BC defines small housing as just enough space to live. Depending on the size of the household, this can be anything between 200 and 1500 square feet; it’s small-scale, ground-oriented housing that is either detached or attached, and well suited to existing single-family neighbourhoods. Small housing includes:
- Small lot homes
- Grow homes
- Cottage housing
- Secondary suites (units within the principal home such as a basement)
- Laneway housing (detached accessory dwelling units)
- Suites in duplexes
- Lock-off suites
- Tiny homes
- Collective housing"
- BC Housing: Tiny Homes – An Alternative to Conventional Housing (2021)
- Tiny House Movement
- Affordable Living is Possible on Vancouver Island (Times Colonist, Jan. 2, 2023 commentary by Sooke's Lorrie Beauchamp)
- The 2022 average single-family dwelling in British Columbia is approx. 2200 square feet
- "In 1975, the average size of a Canadian house was 1,050 square feet. Fast forward to 2010 and new homes being built almost doubled to an average of 1,950 sq feet. This increase in house size is accompanied by a decrease in the average number of people living in a household. In 1971, it was 3.5; by 2006, that number fell by a full person to 2.5." ~ Globe & Mail, 2012
- Home Grown: 67 Years of US and Canadian House-Size Data
- 460 Best Minimalist Home Designs (Pinterest gallery)
- Small Is Beautiful - E.F. Schumacher + Guardian article
Smart Density Toronto
- Webinar Library
"Missing Middle Housing” was coined in 2010 to define a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types—compatible in scale with detached single-family homes—that help meet the growing demand for walkable urban living. The housing types provide include duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts, and multiplexes."
- CMHC: The Missing Middle Housing Delivery Solutions Lab (2021)
- Canadian Urban Institute: What Is The Missing Middle? (Toronto, 2018)
- Opticos Design: "Top-Five Missing Middle Mistakes"
- "Why Missing Middle Housing Is An Emerging Trend in Multi-Family Development"
- "Citizen Developers Ready to Build Canada's Missing Middle" (Globe & Mail, March 17, 2023)
City of Victoria
- Missing Middle Initiative
- Missing Middle Legislation (in effect as of March 12, 2023)
- Missing Middle By The Numbers + What's Going On? (Focus on Victoria)
- "Why Does 'Missing Middle' Housing Make People So Angry?" - Times Colonist, Jan. 15, 2023
- Victoria Finds The Missing Middle (Capital Daily, Jan. 27, 2023)
- Squamish - The Missing Middle
- Eugene, Oregon - Missing Middle Handbook PDF
New Urbanism is a planning and development approach based on the principles (Jane Jacobs and others) of how cities and towns had been built for the last several centuries: walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces. In other words: New Urbanism focuses on human-scaled urban design.
- Congress for the New Urbanism
- Lexicon of the New Urbanism
- Building Great Places
- Project Database
- :15 City - 15-minute walkable communities
- Forget the Conspiracies, 15-Minute Cities Will Free Us To Improve Our Mental Health & Wellbeing - The Conversation (March 11, 2023)
- 15-Minute Cities Explainer (Deloitte Global)
- Birth of A Conspiracy Theory (CTV)
- "How Rent To Own Works in BC" (Pemberton Holmes)
- "Canada is buying into the rent-to-own concept" (CBC, 2020)
- Federal Liberal 2020 election promise: "A New Rent-to-Own Program"
- Rent To Own Explainer
- Explainer #2 (Fairstone Law Canada)
- Renewable Cities/SFU - Hidden Housing Solutions In Single-Famlly Neighbourhoods (2020)
Policy and practice in Canada
Orders of Government
- "Housing A Nation: The Evolution of Canadian Housing Policy" (UBC Centre for Human Settlements, 1992)
- Housing and Housing Policy (The Canadian Encyclopedia)
- Canadian Housing Policy In Perspective (John Bacher, 1986)
- The Municipal Role In Housing (2022, part of the Who Does What series published by the University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs & the Institute on Municipal, Finance & Governance)
- Canada National Housing Strategy Act (2019) + Progress on the NHS (Government of Canada)
- Canada's National Housing Strategy + full report + at a glance summary + infographic
- A Primer on Housing Rights in Canada (Parliament of Canada)
- The Victoria Declaration: A Statement on Governance in Housing & Support Services (Renee Beausoleil, Matthew Wildcat and the UVic Indigenous Law Research Unit, 2020)
- Right to Housing Legislation in Canada
- Assessing Canada’s National Housing Strategy (The National Right to Housing Network)
- Federal government Housing Website
- Budget 2022: Making Housing More Affordable
- "Making Housing More Affordable For Canadians" (Budget 2022 statement from the Prime Minister)
- Multi-Lateral Housing Partnership Framework (federal/provincial agreement, 2018)
- Agreement with British Columbia (2018) + Addendum (2020)
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
- Aspiration: "By 2030, everyone in Canada has a home that they can afford and meets their needs."
- Corporate Plan: 2022-26 + summary ... 5.8 million homes to be built by 2030
- Annual Report 2021
- Canada's Housing Supply Shortage: Restoring Affordability by 2030 (June, 2022) + PDF
- "Understanding Canada's Housing Supply Shortages" (June 23, 2022)
"We project that if current rates of new construction continue, the housing stock will increase by 2.3 million units between 2021 and 2030, reaching close to 19 million housing units by 2030. To restore affordability, we project Canada will need an additional 3.5 million units. That means that the housing stock would need to climb to over 22 million housing units by 2030 to achieve affordability for everyone living in Canada ...Two-thirds of this housing supply gap is found in Ontario and British Columbia, as these provinces have faced large declines in affordability in recent years. Additional supply would also be required in Quebec, as affordability in the province has declined markedly over the last few years."
Launching June, 2023: CMHC Housing Accelerator Fund + Pre-Application Reference Guide
"The Housing Accelerator Fund provides $4 billion in incentive funding to local governments encouraging initiatives aimed at increasing housing supply. It's goal is to create 100,000 net new housing units over the next five years.It also supports the development of complete, low-carbon and climate-resilient communities that are affordable, inclusive, equitable and diverse."
- CBC: How Canada Plans to Jumpstart Housing (Dec. 2021)
- Scotiabank analysis of the Canadian housing market: "Are We 100,000 or nearly 2 million units short?" (May 2021)
- The Tyee: Housing article archive
- Bank of Montreal $12b Affordable Housing Initiative
- Policy Note: "What Happened to Canada's National Housing Strategy" (March, 2022)
- "Canada's National Housing Strategy Needs A Reset" - The Tyee (March, 2023)
Province of BC
Ministry of Housing
Honourable Ravi Kahlon, MLA North Delta
- Mandate letter (Nov. 7, 2022)
- Service Plan 2023-25
- Ministry of Housing News Releases
Homes For BC: A 30-Point Plan For Housing Affordability in British Columbia (2018)
"It will take years of sustained action to bring housing affordability home. We are acting immediately to stabilize demand by introducing a new speculation tax, increasing and expanding the foreign buyers tax and closing legal loopholes abused by speculators. And we’re working hard to build the right supply. We’re making the biggest investment in housing in our province’s history. Thousands of affordable homes are in development today, with tens of thousands more to come." - Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing Selina Robinson
- Progress on Homes For BC (2022 update; 36,381 homes completed or underway as of Sept. 30 last year)
- Planning For Housing (2004 BC Liberal overview of local government initiatives)
- Opening Doors: Final Report of the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability (June, 2021)
- UBCM Housing Policy page (links to submissions and reports since 2017)
- A Home For Everyone: A Housing Strategy for British Columbians (UBCM, Jan. 2018)
- Analysis of MLA David Eby's Housing Plan (UBCM, Sept. 2022)
- Province of BC Housing Needs Report Regulation (2019)
- Bill 43 - Housing Supply Act (First Reading: Nov. 21, 2022)
- Legislative debate - early afternoon + later afternoon (Second Reading: Nov. 22, 2022)
"The Minister may, by order, establish housing targets for a specified municipality in relation to housing supply, including the availability and affordability of housing." (Clause 2.1)
Part 1: Definitions
Part 2: Housing target order
Part 3: Housing target progress report
Part 4: Compliance
- Minister of Housing Murray Rankin (Hansard, Nov. 22, 2022)
"This bill well help address the housing crisis by allowing the province to take a leadership role in ensuring municipalities are creating a regulatory environment that supports the creation of new housing supply that meets the needs of British Columbians.
First, it enables the minister to receive and review housing needs reports produced by municipalities together with other information related to supply and demand for housing to ensure municipalities are accurately forecasting and planning for current and future housing needs.
Second, it gives the province the authority to work with specified municipalities to develop housing targets that reflect housing need, set timelines to achieve those targets and create performance metrics to measure progress.
Third, it allows the province to review the progress of municipalities toward meeting housing targets and ensuring that municipalities are creating conditions to facilitate new housing development.
Last, if a municipality is not making progress toward its housing target, the province may take further progressive compliance actions, including the appointment of an adviser or advisers to review a municipality’s planning and development processes and practices and to report back to the minister.
Actions may also include the minister issuing a directive for a municipality to enact or amend a bylaw or issue or refuse to issue a permit. Finally, the highest level of compliance action: the province directly enacting or amending a bylaw or issuing or refusing to issue a permit by order-in-council."
- Green Party of BC leader Sonia Fursteneau
"I think it’s really important to recognize that we just had our local elections. A lot of people that ran in those elections would have run on a particular platform. And that platform, in some areas of this province, might have been about limiting density or protecting green space or all kinds of things related to housing or related to the nature of their community. I would expect and anticipate that there’s some anxiety now about this relationship between local governments, municipalities and the province, in light of this bill, around the ability for people who have run on a particular platform to be able to deliver what they promised in their election.But this isn’t my main critique of this legislation. My main critique is that this change overlooks the key issue that is driving the housing crisis in our province, and that’s the fact that housing is treated as an investment, a commodity, and not a human right. To address the crisis that we’re in, the depth of the crisis that we are in, it is true that we absolutely need more housing. We need more supply. But it is the type of housing that counts."
- Liberal Party of BC's Bruce Banman, MLA Abbotsford South
"I think it is worthy within this House for these eight to ten cities — those lucky ones that are going to get the dart thrown at the board or however they’re going to come about doing this — to have an idea as to what that actually means. They must include performance indicators. Well, what’s that? This government sure as heck doesn’t like using performance indicators on themselves, yet they’re now going to ram that down the throats of cities that they’re going to have to come up with some kind of performance indicators. We don’t even have the chance to figure out what they are."
- "New Legislation Seeks to Expand Housing Supply in BC" - Blake, Cassels & Graydon explainer
- "David Eby's housing law mostly stick with slice of carrot for municipalities" (Vaughn Palmer, Nov. 23, 2022)
- "If You Don't Build It, They Will Come" (Stuart MacDonald Stewart Barristers & Solicitors analysis)
"Bureaucratic euphemisms aside, Bill 43 sets up a potential showdown between municipal councils and the Province over the very shape and character of communities. No matter the party holding power in Victoria on any given day, the implications of Bill 43 for municipalities are unclear, and much detail about the new regime remains unknown at this time ... Bill 43 will have to make its way through the legislative process, and could possibly see changes before it becomes law. The critical event will be when the Province issues the regulations. Among other things, the regulations should reveal when the legislation will actually come into force, whether the Province intends to provide clarity on unanswered questions in the legislation, such as the scope of record disclosure an adviser may require, and most fundamentally, who the first “specified” municipalities will be."
- UBCM Analysis of Bill 43 ... "Elements that require further definition include:
- How will housing targets be defined?
- How will the targets reflect the long (often multi-year) time-frame for delivery of housing following local government approvals?
- Will the Minister hold a local government to a target if applications are refused because developers are not prepared to provide the amenities/services necessary for the development?
- How will targets relate to current Official Community Plans, regional planning and growth management plans, including efforts to limit urban sprawl and address climate adaptation and mitigation?"
- Insights into BC government approaches to housing over the decades: Opinion: Another Groundhog Day in BC for Housing Affordability (Urbanized, Jan. 18, 2023)
- BC Budget 2023 backgrounder: Investing In Affordable and Attainable Housing
- Understanding the Historic Investment in Housing Affordability in BC's 2023 Budget (BC Non-Profit Housing Association, March 2023)
- BC Invests $4.2 billion in housing as part of refreshed housing plan (Business In Vancouver, Feb. 28, 2023)
Related Media Clips
- BC Is the most unaffordable province in Canada for housing, Census shows (CBC, Sept. 2022)
- New Premier Delivers Action to Expand Housing Supply Within First Days (press release, Nov. 21, 2022)
- Premier Proposes Giving Cities Building Targets (CBC, Nov. 21, 2022)
- BC to launch new housing ministry (CTV, Nov. 21, 2022)
- Here's How Eby Plans to Tackle the Affordable Housing Crisis (CTV, Nov. 22, 2022)
- BC Ministry of Housing Lays Out 5 Major Performance Targets (Storeys Real Estate Newsletter, March 2023)
- Housing Crisis As Seen By One of Canada's Largest Housing Developers (Vancouver Sun, Douglas Todd, 03/09/23)
- In BC, Housing Is Like A Religion (Douglas Todd, 2022)
- Five Factors Contorting BC House Prices This Spring (Douglas Todd, 2023)
"BC Housing develops, manages and administers a wide range of subsidized housing options across the province. We also license residential builders, administer owner builder authorizations and carry out research and education that benefits the residential construction industry, consumers and the affordable housing sector."
[Similar provincial agencies exist in Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Housing Corporation), Nova Scotia (Housing Nova Scotia), and Manitoba (Manitoba Housing). In other parts of the country, large urban centres have their own municipal social housing agencies, among them Toronto (Toronto Community Housing Corporation), Montreal (Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal) and Calgary (Calgary Housing Company).]
- BC Housing home page
- Established under the BC Ministry of Land, Parks and Housing Act
- Overseen by the BC Housing Management Commission
- Mandate letter (2021)
- Service Plan 2023-25
- Building BC Programs
i) Homes For BC
ii) Rapid Response to Homelessness
iii) Community Building Fund
iv) Indigenous Housing Fund
v) Supportive Housing Fund
vi) Women's Transition Housing Fund
- Housing Hub: Partnering with BC Housing
- Design Guidelines and Construction Standards
- Updated project list province-wide
- Research library
- BC's New Homes Registry Page (month-by-month housing starts dating back to 2016) + Feb. 2023 report
- Facts and Stats
- Subsidized housing (how to apply)
- Buying A Home In BC: A Consumer Protection Guide
- A Scan of Leading Practices In Affordable Housing (2017)
- Housing Registry: Zone 8 - Affordable Housing Projects on Southern Vancouver Island
- CleanBC Social Housing Incentives (retrofits, studies, implementation plans)
- BC Housing Community Garden Fund ($3k in seed money)
- Five Things to Know About BC's Housing Plan (The Tyee, March 7, 2023)
- What Happened to the 114,000 New Affordable Homes Promised in BC (Policy Note, March, 2022)
"Towards the 114,000 target, over 14,300 units are complete or in some stage of development under the various granting programs while another 9,200 are from loan programs. Total completed units from both streams amount to about 11,000 units. Thus, less than 10% of the 114,000 unit target has been completed as of April 2021, rising to 22% if we count units in progress. A large share is merely “initiated” rather than under construction and all categories should show progress almost a year later."
Residential Tenancy Branch
- 2023 rent increases maximum of 2%
- Rent Increase Calculator
- BC Rent Bank + FAQ
- Greater Victoria Rent Bank - Community Social Planning Council
- Rent Bank program launch announcement (Feb. 16, 2021)
"Rent banks provide:
- financial assistance to tenants who are unable to pay rent or essential utilities due to an unexpected short-term crisis;
- support for tenants who are unable to pay damage deposit or first month's rent;
- critical supports that can lead to more stabilized and sustainable housing.
- advocating on behalf of individuals to landlord/tenancy boards, utilities corporations, etc.;
- mediating and guiding conversations between individual tenants and their landlords and others;
- referrals to other agencies for access to food, clothing, transportation support, and more;
- helping tenants access government subsidies, grants programs and/or benefits for which they may be eligible."
Provincial Non-Profit Societies & Associations
British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)
- Annual Reports
- HousingU Online Education
- CMHC Housing Solutions: Funding & Financing Opportunities (2021 slide deck)
Co-op Housing Federation of BC
"CHF BC has helped 136 co-ops develop and implement plans, supporting them with engineering studies, viability analyses and long-term financial forecasts. In 2022, 35 co-ops started or completed planning activities with CHF BC’s help, nine of them returning to the program for a second round of collaboration. In addition to traditional financing, the program assisted co-ops with loan and funding program applications with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). Both offer grants and financing for energy-efficient projects. To date, CHF BC has helped co-ops secure almost $110M in borrowing to fund their projects."
- 2022 In Review
- Online resources (meeting tools, template policies)
- Find a BC cooperative map
Greater Victoria Housing Society
"Founded in 1956, the Greater Victoria Housing Society is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing affordable rental housing for low-to-moderate income families, seniors, working singles, and adults with diverse abilities who live independently."
- 1300 tenants living in 933 homes in 17 properties (soon to include Sooke's Talc Place).
- No vacancies as of March, 2023.
- 2021 Annual Report
M'akola Housing Society
"M’akola is a leader in providing appropriate and affordable homes and assisted living, primarily for British Columbia’s Indigenous communities, including First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and urban Indigenous people."
- Vancouver Island properties
The Vancouver Island Housing Leadership Network
Comprised of 14 organizations including BC Community Renewal Society of the United Church of Canada, Dawson Heights Housing, Gorge View Society, Greater Victoria Housing Society, Island Community Mental Health, Legion Manor Victoria, M’akola Housing Society, Mount Douglas Seniors Housing, Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society, Our Place Society, Pacifica Housing, The Cridge Centre for the Family, Threshold Housing Society and Victoria Cool Aid Society.
Canadian Rental Housing Providers Coalition
Capital Regional District
Capital Region Housing Corporation
"The Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CRD. Our mandate is to develop and manage affordable housing to meet the needs of people living within the capital region. The primary activities of the CRHC are the day-to-day management of housing, providing property management services, and providing services to residents who live in 49 housing complexes across seven municipalities ... As leaders in non-profit housing in the capital region, the CRHC delivers affordable, attractive, inclusive, sustainable housing for low-income households."
- Minutes and Agendas
- Regional Housing Affordability Strategy (2018)
- Regional Housing Affordability Strategy Status Report (2022)
- 2021 Annual Report
Hospitals and Housing Committee
- Terms of Reference: "The mandate of the Committee includes providing advice or making recommendations, or both, regarding the following region-wide functions: i) Land Banking and Housing; ii) Community health planning, regulations and enforcement; iii) Implementation of various housing affordability models, the potential formation of strategic partnerships and the creation of alternative corporate entities; iv) Options for the procurement of health care facilities and housing developments; and v) Real estate matters relating to health care facilities and housing."
- Minutes and Agendas
Regional Housing First Program
"The RHFP is an equal partnership agreement between the CRD, the Government of BC through BC Housing, and the Government of Canada through CMHC. The equal partnership has seen a direct investment of $120m to create up to 2,000 units of affordable housing as part of the $600 million program, including up to 400 units renting at the provincial income assistance rate to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
The RHFP currently includes 10 projects, which have created, or are in the process of creating, 1,055 units of affordable housing in six municipalities from Sooke to Salt Spring Island. In 2021, the CRHC opened Hockley House delivering 120 units of mixed-market housing in downtown Langford bringing the total number of completed units under the RHFP to 475."
District of Sooke
District of Sooke Housing website page
Sooke's first Housing Needs Report (2019)
DOS Affordable Housing Strategy (2007)
Sooke Affordable Housing Committee (2018-19) + Terms of Reference
Resolutions arising from its final meeting (Minutes, Nov. 18, 2019)
1. Support the prioritization of strategies listed in the Housing Action Plan, except for the following:
- The first 4 bullet points under 10.4.2 to be reprioritized from “medium priority” to “high priority”:
o Continue to allow higher housing densities through secondary suites.
o Facilitate the development of duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and wood frame apartment buildings, which are more affordable compared to other dwelling types
o Enhance the supply of manufactured homes, i.e.the development of MHP zoned lands which contains only 3 vacant parcels in the community. This would be the most efficient short-term way of enhancing the affordable housing supply in the community.
o Consider a land bank (i.e.a large body of land held by a public or private organization for future development or disposal)
2. Support the inclusion of a housing component on Lot A.
3. Support housing developments that include aspects of health and social wellbeing, environmental sustainability and community connectedness.
* Details on Sooke's Land Use & Development committees over the last decade in this blog entry of mine
T’Sou-ke Indigenous Housing Solutions Lab (2020/22)
"Project explores the connections between design, policy and community" - Times Colonist
Overview + Discovering Home (videos)
Hope Centre Transitional and Emergency Shelter with wrap-around support services
Regional Housing First + Other Sooke Housing Projects
- BC Housing - New Homes Under Construction in Sooke
- Charters: $21m project featuring 75 units, spring 2023 occupancy. Accessible (8 units), Provincial Assistance (15), Affordable (23), Near-Market (37). + Sooke's first modular affordable housing
- Drennan and Sooke Rd.: $46m project featuring 150 units, late 2023/early 2024 occupancy. Accessible (20 units), Provincial Assistance (34), Affordable (53), Near-Market (83).
- Knox Centre: $11m, 42-unit affordable housing complex at Church and Wadams Way. Opened April, 2019.
- Proposed: Sooke Gathering Place featuring 76 units of affordable seniors rental housing atop the multi-generational community space in the northeast quadrant of Lot A. The third stream of funding under BC Housing's Community Building Fund opens late 2023.
- Frances Gardens Co-operative Housing: 36 unit duplex-style homes on Throup Road
- Lannon Creek Park
- Harbourside Cohousing
- West Wind Harbour Cohousing
- Both are members of the Canadian Cohousing Network and two of 27 co-housing projects in BC
- What Is Cohousing? + Canadian Senior Cohousing Society
Sooke Housing Needs Report
Effective April 2019, the Province of BC amended the Local Government Act (Division 22) to require that municipalities produce Housing Needs Reports every five years. Sooke published its first such report in October, 2019. It detailed Sooke's community context, housing supply, housing market characteristics, land utilization, current gaps in the housing supply, housing needs projections and best practices. Related: CRD/Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Housing Needs Report (2020)
"Overall, Sooke is expected to display an additional net housing need for 2,014 owner-occupied and 439 renter-occupied housing units during the period 2016-2031."
Findings and Focus Areas
- Address market-rate housing needs for all age cohorts
- Address non-market housing needs
- Enhance supply of rental housing
- Enhance housing affordability
- Facilitate development on vacant lands
- Prepare for growth in aged 65+ population
- Enhance density on properties that are already serviced with municipal water and sewer lines, particularly in existing urban properties.
- Ensure adequate accessibility in housing for seniors
- Enhance the supply of entry-level housing for young adults/professionals and senior-appropriate housing;
- Work with other levels of government, community agencies, and the development community to address housing affordability issues in terms of seniors housing and below market-rate rental housing.
- Facilitate rental housing supply
- Review existing Housing Reserve Fund (low)
- Facilitate more discussion between private non-profits, developers, and landowners concerning new affordable housing developments.
- Promote the sustainable development of more affordable housing units
- 10.1. Enhance supply of entry-level housing for young adults/professionals and "senior-appropriate" (universal access, one storey or elevator-served housing)
- 10.2. Work with partners (government, community agencies, developers) to address housing affordability issues for those on fixed incomes (seniors, disabled, unemployed, minimum wage earners) with universal-access housing and below-market rental options.
- 10.2.2 "Undertake research and education to support innovation."
- 10.4.2 "Promote the sustainble development of more affordable housing units."
- 10.4.3 Review existing Housing Reserve Fund
Survey Results (approx. 275 replies)
~ homes too expensive
~ lack of sufficient housing options for people with unique needs - single people, elders, families
~ 55% of Sooke residents pay between $1k and $3k per month (excluding utilities)
~ 11.11% have paid off mortgage
~ 26% of Sooke residents pay more than 45 percent of household income on rent; 26% from 30 to 45%
~ I can't afford to live anywhere else: 44.5%
~ I prefer my neighbourhood: 42%
~ low household income: 24%
District of Sooke Housing Statistics
(Statistics Canada Census 2021 numbers from the
District's Community Data Portal)
Average household size: 2.4 people
Total dwellings: 6,130
Single Family Homes: 3,820
Mobile homes: 355
Average single-family home value: $650k (2020)
Sooke single-family home sales value
(annual Victoria Real Estate Board summaries)
Greater Victoria Historical Price-Selling Graph, 1980-2021
Greater Victoria Single Family Home Sales Data, 1980-2021
Private Dwellings By Date Constructed
1960 or before ~ 440
1961 to 1980 ~ 1,485
1981 to 1990 ~ 745
1991 to 2000 ~ 740
2001 to 2005 ~ 430
2006 to 2010 ~ 740
2011 to 2015 ~ 710
2016 to 2021 ~ 840
Spending less than 30% of income on shelter costs ~ 4,780
Spending 30% or more of income on shelter costs ~ 1,325
Home owners spending more than 30% of income on shelter costs - 16.1%
Renters spending more than 30% of income on shelter costs - 44.2%
"Acceptable" housing in Sooke - 4,475 homes
Households in core need - 680
Not in core need - 5,210
- Government of Canada: Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy + backgrounder
- Capital Regional District Reaching Home program + FAQ
- An Affordable Housing Plan for British Columbia (BC Rental Housing Coalition, 2015)
- Medicine Hat, Alta. Plan to End Homelessness (2009) + year nine progress report
BC Housing: Community Acceptance of Non-Market Housing Toolkit (2019)
* Guide One: Building Partnerships with Local Governments
* Guide Two: Design Considerations to Gain Community Acceptance
* Guide Three: Gaining and Maintaining Community Acceptance
* Guide Four: Sample Materials for Non-Market Housing Suppliers
* Guide Five: Additional Resources
- BC Housing: Community Benefits of Supportive Housing (Infographic)
- Province of BC Income Assistance Rate Table (updated Oct. 2021) + Support & Shelter page
- The Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2019)
- Sooke School District #62 Healthy Schools, Healthy People infographic on youth issues (2019)
- Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Stronger Together Building Community Roundtable (2018)
- Core Service Gaps in Indigenous Wellness (Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness)
- Gender Equality Project (Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness)
- BC Housing: Emergency Shelter Program Framework (2018)
- The Pan-Canadian Women’s Housing and Homelessness Survey (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2021)
- Ending Working Poverty in Canada: How To Get It Done (Vibrant Communities/Tamarack Institute, 2021)
- Situation Tables: A Model for Community Safety and Well-Being in British Columbia (BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General)
- Yes, In My Backyard: Welcoming Inclusion, Upholding Human Rights (Pivot Legal Society, 2020)
- COVID 19: The Beginning of the End of Homelessness (City of Victoria, 2021)