Expert Panel Recommends Meaningful Action to Increase Housing Supply

Jun 24, 2021

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Posted by
Matt Mayers
Policy Analyst

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The Expert Panel on Housing Supply and Affordability established by the governments of Canada and BC to examine housing trends for rental and homeownership has published its final report, with 23 recommendations for the provincial and federal governments.

The panel was created in September 2019 to explore the issues of housing supply and affordability and then develop actionable recommendations to help British Columbians access housing that is affordable and meets their needs.

The 23 recommendations are categorized into five calls to action, including:

  • create a planning framework that proactively encourages housing,
  • reform government fees on property development,
  • expand community and affordable housing,
  • improve coordination among and within local, provincial and federal governments, and
  • treat renters and homeowners equitably.

BCREA is encouraged to see another independent report echo our own calls for the government to increase appropriate housing supply.

For example, the Expert Panel recommends that the BC Government conduct a review of public hearings and consideration of alternative options for more meaningful, earlier public input in different formats. Unnecessary public hearings can delay homebuilding and amplify the voices of groups opposing new housing at the expense of citywide objectives and affordability. This can result in a false perception that the majority of residents oppose a new development, because those most motivated and available to participate in the process generally oppose the development plans.

We were also encouraged to see the Expert Panel highlight challenges and opportunities outlined in the provincial government's 2019 Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR) report. DAPR outlines solutions to the issue of needlessly long development approval timelines.

Moving forward, BCREA will advocate that the BC Government implement the relevant recommendations from the Expert Panel's report. The government has made some progress to facilitating more supply, such as introducing the new Local Government Development Approvals Program to support local governments to improve their development approvals process. But more still needs to be done, given that housing prices have risen by 52 per cent since 2012 and markets across BC remain woefully undersupplied. We are hopeful that this report will shed more light on these problems and result in more government actions targeted at increasing affordable, appropriate supply.

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