New measures are coming to B.C. that will help create more housing
as the Province speeds up permitting and helps build more secondary
suites for rent.
“People in our province deserve a decent place to live they can
actually afford to rent or buy, but a chronic housing shortage and long
permit approval times are frustrating that achievable goal,” said
Premier David Eby. “Our government is taking action. We’re making it
easier and faster to get provincial permits to build new homes, and
offering financial support for people who could build a suite they can
rent out at more affordable rates. We’ve got lots to do, which is why
we’re focusing on initiatives like these that make a real and tangible
difference for thousands of families.”
The first action focuses on speeding up the permitting process through
the launch of a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for multiple
permitting applications across different ministries. The Single Housing
Application Service (SHAS) will help deliver more homes faster by
creating a simpler permitting application for homebuilders. The service
will help clear permitting backlogs, while maintaining environmental
standards. With the introduction of SHAS, the Province expects permit
timelines to be reduced by two months.
“Our government is laser-focused on taking action on housing,” said
Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.
“One way we’re doing this is by eliminating the current permitting
backlog and speeding up homebuilding project approvals with the
launch of a user-friendly tool that connects people to project experts.
These expert ‘navigators’ will guide homebuilders through the provincial
permitting process and provide a personal, one-stop shop that will
streamline the process.”
The SHAS connects homebuilders to “navigators,” dedicated staff in
the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, who guide
applicants through all stages of permit applications, act as the single,
dedicated point of contact for all information related to homebuilding
permits and co-ordinate permitting decisions across ministries.
The second initiative centres on secondary suites and comes ahead of
planned legislation this fall to make secondary suites legal throughout
the province, and a pilot incentive program to help homeowners build
To help homeowners navigate this process, the Province has launched
a new comprehensive guide, titled Home Suite Home. The guide
provides people with the information to prepare to build and manage a
rental suite in British Columbia. This follows recent steps to make
improvements at B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch, including more
timely dispute resolutions.
The guide can be used as a resource for people preparing to access
the Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP). The pilot program, set
to launch in early spring 2024, will provide approximately 3,000
homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to create a new
secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on their property. The loans
will only go to properties that will be rented below market rates.
Additional eligibility requirements of the program have been made
available so people interested can prepare ahead of the launch.
“We’ve heard from a lot of homeowners that they would love to create
a rental suite on their property, but find the process to build and
manage one confusing and time-consuming,” said Ravi Kahlon,
Minister of Housing. “Our new Home Suite Home guide and secondary
suite pilot program will clearly and concisely provide homeowners with
the information they need to make an informed choice on whether
adding a rental unit is right for them.”
These initiatives are part of the Province’s Homes for People action
plan. Announced in spring 2023, the plan builds on record investments
in housing since 2017, and sets out several actions to deliver the
homes people need in a shorter timeframe, while creating more vibrant
communities throughout B.C. (news.gov.bc.ca)