New provincial housing legislation passed

In November 2023, BC’s provincial government passed new housing legislation that will override the remaining phases of the Housing Choices program. The remaining phases of the Housing Choices program (Phase 1b and Phase 2) will take place as part of a new City work program that is being set up to implement these new regulations.

This new provincial legislation requires that single and two-family residential properties be permitted to add more housing units to their lot, regardless of lane access. The new housing types which these changes will enable will include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, sixplexes and laneway homes. Details on the rules for these new types of housing will be determined in the coming months. Below are some of the highlights from the new legislation:

  • Properties that are up to 280 sq. m will be able to add up to 3 units
  • Properties that are 280 sq. m or more will be able to add up to 4 units
  • Properties that are located within 400 metres of a frequent transit bus stop will be able to add up to 6 units
  • Properties that are located within 800 metres of a SkyTrain station will be able to add multi-unit apartments up to 8 storeys high

This provincial legislation requires Burnaby to make zoning bylaw changes to permit these new densities by June 30, 2024. Further information on the provincial legislation is available here.

Information on the City’s new program to implement this new legislation will be made available in the coming months.

About the project

The Housing Choices program was set up by the City in 2022 to introduce more housing variety to Burnaby’s neighbourhoods. In September 2023, the first phase of this work was completed, and laneway homes and suites in semi-detached homes were permitted in Burnaby.

In November 2023, BC’s provincial government passed housing legislation that requires all municipalities in BC to permit higher densities on residential properties. This legislation impacts the work program that had been set out for Housing Choices. The remaining work for Housing Choices will be transitioned into this new work program.

What's happening now?

Laneway home or secondary suite

If you are planning to build a laneway home or a semi-detached home with secondary suites, please visit our laneway homes and secondary suites pages to view our how-to guides and descriptions on how to obtain a building permit for these types of housing.

Phase 1b survey results and update

In summer 2023 (before the Provincial legislation had been announced) the City ran a survey to gather information for Phase 1b of the Housing Choices program. Thank you to all who shared their voice with us!

The survey results showed strong continued support for diversifying housing in Burnaby, including adding up to 6 units on single and two-family properties. The results from the survey align well with the required housing densities that are now being mandated by the Province. The Phase 1b work to permit laneway homes and suites in semi-detached homes on properties without lanes will be undertaken as part of the new work program to implement the Province’s housing initiatives. These housing types will be permitted in the City by June 30, 2024.

Detailed results from the survey are available here.

Design library

The City will be setting up a design library to assist with the development process for some of the new housing forms allowed by the new legislation. Our library will provide access to pre-reviewed house plans that meet the City’s regulations and policy directions.

Designs for the library will be sourced from pre-approved plans that have been through the City’s permitting process, in addition to plans submitted by local design firms, and the provincial and federal governments. A public call will be put out in spring 2024 to invite local design firms to submit designs.