Change to local government act &

Small Scale Multi-Unit Housing

These proposed changes are part of the Homes For People Action Plan to create more housing that is within reach for people. This includes building homes for the “missing middle”.

How Did We Get Here?

  1. Outdated zoning rules: due to this, new housing has been in the form of condo buildings or single family homes leading to the missing middle (townhomes, etc).
  2. Road blocks for developers & builders: builders have to go through the lengthy process of rezoning and layers of regulations to build these missing middle units.
  3. Communities denying these developments: many communities have previously denied these types of multi-unit developments.

Overview: Small Scale Multi-Unit Housing Proposed Changes

The proposed changes will be province wide and local governments will be required to enable small scale multi-unit housing development by updating their bylaws to allow this.

This includes permitting:

  • Secondary suites
  • 3 or 4 units on traditional single family or duplex lots
  • 6 units on traditional single family or duplex lots near frequent transit

These are meant to be applied to municipalities over 5,000 people and the number of units on a lot will depend on lot size.

Community Planning

Housing needs report: going forward, a standard method will be applied for this report across the province for a better understanding of housing needs currently and over the next 20 years.

Official community plans: the OCP will now be required to be updated every 5 years to plan for the growth over the next 20 years.

Municipal bylaws/zoning: small scale multi-unit homes will now be zoned upfront which eliminates the long zoning process for row and townhomes.

Proactive Planning

Rezoning is currently a lengthy process with public hearings and is occurring for many one-offs even if the rezoning application is in line with the official community plan (OCP). These changes will phase this process out if consistent with the OCP.

It is important to note that any building permitting and rezoning outside the scope of small scale multi-unit housing will still need to be approved by local governments.

How These Changes Will Work


  • Dec 2023: Policy manual provided to local governments including any set backs, height, lot size requirements, etc.
  • Winter 2024: $51 Million from the province will go to local governments to support these initiatives.
  • June 30, 2024: Local governments must update their bylaws to accommodate new zoning. 
  • Dec 31, 2024: Interim housing needs report must be completed by local governments.
  • Dec 31, 2025: Updated OCP’s and zoning bylaws are to be completed.

More information can be found on the Government of BC’s website or at the technical briefing on this topic linked here:

Compare listings