Taking action to tackle some of the biggest challenges people in B.C. are facing was at the centre of several new pieces of legislation passed during the fall session, including the most significant housing legislation in B.C. history to deliver more homes for people faster.
“One of the biggest challenges facing people in British Columbia is finding a decent place to live that they can afford,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why our government is taking action. Through the new laws we passed, we're making sure homes are built faster and that homes are used for people, not speculators or investors.”
The B.C. legislature passed 19 pieces of legislation in the fall session, with two additional bills expected to be passed on Nov. 30, 2023, including strong and comprehensive action on housing to turn short-term rentals into homes for people, fix outdated zoning laws, create more small-scale, multi-unit homes and speed up the delivery of homes, including near transit hubs. New laws on climate action and emergency response, protection for workers, credential recognition, and to keep people safe and communities strong were also at the top of the legislative agenda.
“Housing is one of the biggest challenges facing people in B.C. The housing crisis is hurting people and holding back our province’s economic potential,” said Ravi Kahlon, Government House Leader and Minister of Housing. “That’s why this fall, we introduced a thoughtful and complete package of legislation designed to deliver more homes within reach for people and families, and to crack down on speculators and profiteers in the housing market, while also tackling other challenges that matter most to people.”
Key pieces of housing legislation passed in the fall session include:
- reining in the rapidly expanding short-term rental market and turning short-term rentals into homes for people through the Short-Term Rentals Accommodations Act;
- delivering more small-scale, multi-unit housing for people, including townhomes, triplexes and laneway homes, and fix outdated zoning rules to help build more homes faster through Bill 44;
- speeding up the delivery of homes, removing barriers and encouraging more communities near transit, services and amenities that make life better for people through new transit-oriented development legislation. This legislation if passed builds on work underway to facilitate more transit-oriented development and create more livable communities; and
- reducing construction delays and streamlining processes to fund key services, infrastructure and amenities for growing communities through new development finance tools in Bill 46.
Other significant pieces of legislation passed includes implementing a more proactive approach to emergency management, with an emphasis on disaster-risk reduction, introducing systemic change to improve outcomes for Indigenous learners, accelerating zero-emission vehicles targets, better protecting B.C.’s forests and ecosystems, improving working conditions for online platform workers and providing more support for victims of violent crime.
“This fall, we took big steps forward to deliver more homes for people faster and we’re already starting to see a positive impact,” Kahlon said. “Make no mistake, this isn’t easy or simple, but we’re going to keep doing the work, finding solutions to address the biggest challenges, so people can build a good life here.”
The Province also expanded the successful speculation and vacancy tax to 13 additional communities to fight real estate speculation and turn more empty units into homes. Detailed regulations and guideline manuals to help municipalities and home builders implement the new housing zoning rules will be released in the coming weeks.
The Ministry of Housing is developing legislative tools, which will be brought forward in spring 2024, to support local government in developing inclusionary zoning policies to create more affordable housing. In early 2024, the ministry in partnership will also launch BC Builds, a new program that will leverage public and low-cost land, faster development timelines and low-interest construction financing and grants, to increase the amount of rental housing that is affordable for people and families with middle incomes.
To learn about legislation passed in the fall session, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/legislation
To read Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Homes_For_People.pdf
To view Homes for People technical briefing presentation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Homes4People.pdf
To view a map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C., visit: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
A backgrounder follows.