Fall session delivers transformative action on housing
Nov. 30, 2023
VICTORIA – 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30, 2023, including strong and comprehensive action on housing to turn short-term rentals into homes for people, fix outdated zoning laws, create more small-scale, multi-unit homes and speed up the delivery of homes, including near transit hubs.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- delivering more small-scale, multi-unit housing for people, including townhomes, triplexes and laneway homes, and fix outdated zoning rules to help build more homes faster through Bill 44;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.
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing
What to know about legislation introduced in the fall session
The government passed 19 pieces of legislation in the fall session, with two additional bills expected to be passed on Nov. 30, 2023, focused on tackling the biggest challenges people in B.C. are facing.
Highlights of the legislation:
Turning short-term rentals into homes for people:
- The Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act is helping to turn short-term rentals into long-term homes for people by changing how and where short-term rentals are allowed in B.C.
Housing near transit hubs:
- New proposed legislation aims to speed up delivery of homes and encourage more communities near transit, services and amenities that make life better for people.
Delivering more small-scale, multi-unit homes for families with middle incomes:
- The Province is introducing new housing legislation to deliver 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.
Streamlining the construction of homes, services and infrastructure:
- As part of work underway to deliver more homes for people faster, the Province has introduced new legislation to reduce construction delays and streamline processes to fund key services, infrastructure and amenities for growing communities.
Paving the way for resilient communities:
- The Emergency and Disaster Management Act will implement a more proactive approach to emergency management, with an emphasis on disaster-risk reduction, to keep people and communities safer.
Addressing public drug use:
- The Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act will restrict public use of hard drugs like crystal methamphetamine, fentanyl and crack cocaine in designated public spaces.
Giving newcomers a fair chance to work:
- The International Credentials Recognition Act will require 18 regulatory bodies to remove unfair barriers, increase transparency and streamline the international credential recognition process for 29 professions. Some of the occupations include engineers, social workers, early childhood educators, veterinarians, biologists and notary publics.
Improving working conditions for app-based work:
- Amendments to B.C.’s labour laws will support ride-hailing and food-delivery gig workers by providing employment standards and workers’ compensation protections.
Assisting British Columbians affected by violent crime:
- The amendments to the Crime Victims Assistance Act (CVAA) will address critical gaps, including barriers to eligibility, that negatively impact the people the Crime Victims Assistance Program (CVAP) was created to assist.
Accelerating a low-carbon British Columbia:
- The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act amendments accelerate transition to a clean-transportation economy by five years, allowing the Province to meet its CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 commitment of new light-duty ZEV sales targets: 26% by 2026, 90% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
Improving outcomes for Indigenous learners:
- First Nations and Indigenous people will soon have more input into the decisions and processes impacting the education of Indigenous children and youth in B.C. public schools.
Passing Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act to ensure laws are accurate and relevant:
- The Miscellaneous Bill contains amendments to the Supreme Court Act, Low Carbon Fuels Act, Protected Areas of British Columbia Act, Residential Tenancy Act, Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act, North Island-Coast, Southern Interior and Northern Development Initiative Trust Acts, and Local Government Act.
Improving enforcement of money judgments in B.C.:
- New legislation completes work to update and modernize the process for the enforcement of money judgments in British Columbia.
Addressing homelessness and professional governance:
- The Miscellaneous Bill contains amendments to the Local Government Vancouver Charter Amendment Act, Professional Governance Act, Water Users’ Community Act, Drainage, Ditch and Dike Act, and Insurance Corporation Act.
New pension plan options for employers:
- Updates to the Pension Benefits Standards Act give B.C. employers more options to support their employees with a pension plan, including a new lifetime pension solution. Changes also help reduce various administrative costs and burdens for both employers and employees.
Improving the process for changes to police of jurisdiction:
- Amendments to the Police Act clarify the process any municipality must follow when they wish to change their police of jurisdiction, actioning the government’s commitment to remove uncertainty, enhance public confidence and keep people safe throughout British Columbia.
Recognizing B.C.’s official fossil emblem:
- The elasmosaur is British Columbia’s official fossil emblem. The adoption of a provincial fossil elevates the importance of the presence of fossils in the province and enriches B.C.’s cultural identity.
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Housing