Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
During their two-day meeting in Halifax, Canada’s premiers pledged to address affordability challenges, improve health services, tackle housing issues, and strengthen infrastructure collaboratively. Premiers also highlighted the need for a First Ministers’ meeting on competitiveness and infrastructure and stressed the crucial link between infrastructure and housing. NS Premier Tim Houston and NB Premier Blaine Higgs joined the Premiers of Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan in demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau to discuss their request for carbon price exemptions on not just home heating oil, but all forms of home heating. Premiers underscored the importance of federal programs and policies applying to all Canadians in a fair and equitable way.
Telephone Townhall on Alberta’s Potential Exit from CPP
The panel studying Alberta’s proposal to leave the CPP held its third telephone town hall on Thursday. Residents from Calgary and Southern Alberta raised questions about the specifics of the proposal, with concerns relating to contributions, risks, management of the fund, and fund oversight communicated throughout the meeting. Panel chair Jim Dinning explained that they are exploring the possibility of establishing portability and reciprocity agreements to address issues that may arise when individuals move between provinces. A recent Leger online survey of 1,001 Albertans conducted between October 27-30 indicated that 27 percent of respondents support the idea of an Alberta Pension Plan, a 6 percent increase from April. However, 48 percent of respondents do not believe the provincial government should create a new pension plan to replace the CPP, while 24 percent remain undecided.
New legislation aimed at speeding up housing approvals, increasing densification around transit hubs.
Two new pieces of legislation were tabled last week, both aimed at trying to streamline the delivery of homes, as the housing affordability crisis facing the province continues to be a front and center priority for the Eby government.
Bill 46, if passed, supports the introduction of Bill 44 to allow upfront zoning, which aims to facilitate an increase in housing supply in communities throughout B.C. The legislation will require local governments to shift their planning process to an up-front framework, pre-zone land to meet their housing needs and reduce the use of current rezoning processes.
The legislation also makes changes to development cost charges and development cost levies (in the Vancouver Charter). Changes through this legislation will allow local governments the flexibility to allocate funds collected from homebuilders to support additional local services and infrastructure: fire protection facilities (fire halls), police facilities and solid-waste facilities that support new homes. Prior to this amendment, one of the only options to recover these costs was through property taxes.
Bill 47, if passed, will require municipalities to designate Transit Oriented Development Areas (TOD Areas) near transit hubs. These TOD Areas are defined as land within 800 metres of a rapid transit station (e.g., SkyTrain station) and within 400 metres of a bus exchange where passengers transfer from one route to another (e.g., Newton Bus Exchange in Surrey).
In these designated TOD Areas, municipalities will be required to:
- permit housing developments that meet provincial standards for allowable height and density. The minimum allowable height and density is based on tiers – at its highest in the centre of the TOD Area – and will differ based on the type of transit hub (SkyTrain stop/bus exchange) and a municipality’s size, population and location. Note: A full list of intended allowable standards is available in a backgrounder.
- remove restrictive parking minimums and allow for parking to be determined by need and demand on a project-by-project basis.
- utilize standards and details in the provincial policy manual to provide consistency in the approach to developing TOD Areas.
The Ontario government is set to introduce legislation that, if passed, will mandate employers to include expected salary ranges in job postings and disclose the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their hiring processes. The changes aim to promote transparency for job seekers and address issues such as the gender pay gap and potential biases in AI-driven hiring. The legislation also involves consultations on limiting the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in cases of workplace harassment to better address and prevent workplace misconduct.
Canada and Quebec announce a major agreement to support accelerated housing construction – November 9, 2023
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and Quebec Premier François Legault today announced an agreement through the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), under which Canada will provide Quebec with a total contribution of $900 million to accelerate the construction of residential units in the province. The agreement confirms that the governments of Canada and Quebec share the common goal of ensuring all Quebec residents have a place to call home that meets their needs. In this context, Canada’s financial contribution will support Quebec’s initiatives to accelerate the construction of residential units to meet the province’s housing needs.
Mayor Olivia Chow calls for ceasefire and release of hostages in Israel-Hamas war – November 10, 2023
Mayor Olivia Chow called Friday for the “immediate and unconditional return of all hostages and a ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas war. In her statement on X (formerly known as Twitter), Chow lauded Toronto’s diversity and the ability of Torontonians to “meet deep differences with compassion and hope,” adding that Toronto’s Muslim and Jewish communities are feeling unsafe amid an “unnerving” rise in hate crimes. The mayor’s statement also comes as Toronto police report a rise in reported hate crimes in the month since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and as businesses with ties to Israel have been targeted by some pro-Palestinian protesters.