BCREA and Real Estate Board Delegates Join Discussion on Housing Affordability at 2022 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention

Sep 22, 2022

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Posted by
Matt Mayers
Senior Policy Analyst

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Last week, BCREA and five of BC’s real estate boards sent delegates to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention in Whistler to meet with local and provincial political leaders. Throughout the event, BCREA’s delegates delivered a clear message on housing affordability.

Firstly, we set out to challenge housing myths, including the idea that foreign investment is the main cause of housing price escalation and that BC municipalities are building enough housing.

We also advocated for solutions to improve housing affordability, including improving the housing approval process and allowing more types of housing in more places. To communicate these solutions, we held meetings with MLAs and other elected officials from across the province, echoing sentiments written by BCREA Senior Vice President Trevor Hargreaves in this Vancouver Sun opinion piece.

UBCM Resolutions

At the convention, UBCM voting delegates (which include councillors and mayors) voted on a series of resolutions. While non-binding, resolutions that were endorsed will be forwarded to the BC Government for consideration. Resolutions relating to real estate that were endorsed include:

  • Provincial Responsibility for Flood Protection – Calling on the BC Government to significantly increase its level of funding for flood preparedness and mitigation,
  • Enforcement Tools for Short-Term Rentals –UBCM urges the BC Government to develop and implement short-term rental enforcement solutions for all local governments, such as broadening authority to enforce compliance through simplified ticketing procedures; collection of evidence and the establishment of proof based on online investigation of accommodation listings; and expanding options to compel payment on unpaid fines through mechanisms such as applying uncollected ticket fines to property taxes.
  • Non-Profit Housing Acquisition Strategy – UBCM advocates that the provincial government support the recommendation in the Canada-BC Expert Panel on Housing Supply to develop a provincial acquisition strategy and grant program.
  • Community Housing Development Supports – UBCM asks the BC Government to broaden the mandate of Infrastructure BC to facilitate the delivery of strategic housing projects on behalf of petitioning local governments.
  • Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Bylaw – UBCM requests that the BC Government makes the legislative changes required to permit a municipality to adopt a mandatory inclusionary housing bylaw.
  • Bare Land Strata Development Minimum Standards – UBCM asks the BC Government to amend the Bare Land Strata Regulation to not require that bare land strata developments meet the same minimum standards set by local governments to ensure consistency across all developments throughout the community.
  • Increasing Provincial Incentives for Installing Solar Panels and Solar Hot Water Systems – UBCM requests the BC Government modifies the BC Building Code to include design and placement standards and load-bearing requirements for solar panels and solar hot water systems.
  • Homeowner Insurance Availability and Provisions – UBCM petitions the BC Government to introduce and adopt legislation that requires all insurance providers in BC to provide insurance to all homeowners in the province with provisions that are consistent, fair and equitable.
  • Home Owner Grant Increase – UBCM requests that the BC Government increases the Home Owner Grant to reflect the actual school tax charged on the property where the school tax is higher than the grant.
  • Tiny Homes – UBCM asks the BC Government to review the BC Building Code to address barriers to allow and provide building requirements for tiny homes.
  • Accelerating Zero Emissions Buildings – UBCM requests the BC Government to accelerates its timelines for requiring the zero emissions new constructions.

Resolutions that were endorsed with amendments include:

  • Encouraging Safe and Affordable Housing – UBCM requests the provincial and federal governments provide tax exemptions for all income derived from the long-term rental of secondary suites as measure to encourage the provision of safe and affordable housing.
  • Speculation and Vacancy Tax Review – UBCM asks the BC Government to consult with local governments on an evaluation of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Act including a review of the specified areas and the impact on electoral areas adjacent to the designated taxable regions.

While the 2022 UBCM convention is over and delegates from across the province have left Whistler, we remain committed to advocating on behalf of BC REALTORS® and consumers to address challenges in the real estate sector. BCREA and our Government Relations team will continue to support thorough, thoughtful and evidence-based policies that aim to provide more housing opportunities for British Columbians.

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