Ottawa not ready to share housing strategy with B.C., premier says

Eby says B.C. is not going to wait for Ottawa to announce funding commitments

A development under construction in Vancouver. | Chung Chow, BIV

Premier David Eby says "it's pretty clear" the federal government is not yet ready to share its renewed housing strategy or how it will work with British Columbia's plans to tackle the provincial housing crisis. 

Eby's remarks come as B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon and Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock are scheduled to provide an update on their work to set housing targets for communities across the province.

British Columbia first broached the plan to set targets for 10 municipalities in May, which Kahlon said would make it easier for local governments to approve projects quickly.

Kahlon said the 10 chosen communities were selected through "an objective, thorough and measured process" that factored in metrics, including projected growth, housing and land availability, affordability, community infrastructure and "unrealized potential in developing more homes."

Eby, who has spent two days in Ottawa meeting with federal ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says affordable housing would be made available quicker with the co-ordination of all levels of government.

He says B.C. is not going to wait for Ottawa to announce funding commitments, but the federal minister's were receptive to that pitch.

Eby's trip to Ottawa comes after the federal government announced a $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund in its 2022 Budget that would provide incentive funding to local governments to encourage initiatives that lead to new housing supply.

"My understanding is the federal government is close to being able to make announcements in terms of the allocation of that funding to support growth in cities, which is very good news," Eby told reporters Tuesday.

"The challenge or the opportunity, I guess, is to co-ordinate that municipal accelerator program with the cities that our housing minister has been working with on housing targets."

The premier said he also made "very good progress" in advancing the interest of B.C. residents in his meetings with the federal ministers, noting he is "particularly happy" with his discussions around how the federal and provincial governments can work together to support the clean energy sector.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press