Access to housing continues to be a priority for Albertans and for the government. To remove barriers to attainable and affordable housing initiatives in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta’s government has proposed changes to the city charters. These changes will help limit the potential for cost increases to new housing and ensure there is one consistent minimum standard to which all buildings must be constructed across the province.
“Housing affordability is a top priority for Albertans and the provincial government is leaving no stone unturned as we strive to meet this challenge. My department is considering every possibility, including updates to the city charters for Calgary and Edmonton. The minor changes we are proposing for the charters will help keep the costs of new housing down while maintaining flexibility for Alberta’s two major urban centres.”
The city charters are regulations that provide Calgary and Edmonton with additional authorities and flexibility with the aim to build strong, vibrant cities that attract trade and investment. The major updates are intended to reduce the cost that could be imposed on developers as they bring additional housing to the market.
The proposed changes involve three areas of provisions within the charters:
- Off-site levies, which enable municipalities to charge developers a portion of the costs associated with servicing a new area. These changes will still allow Calgary and Edmonton flexibility but will also make sure off-site levies don’t unnecessarily drive up the costs of building new homes.
- Inclusionary housing, which allows the cities to require a developer to provide money or other resources to the municipality to be used for affordable housing, is being repealed to help limit the potential for cost increases to new housing. To date, neither Edmonton nor Calgary has used this charter provision.
- Building code bylaw authority, which allows the cities to make bylaws regarding energy consumption and heat retention, is being removed to ensure there is one uniform building code standard across Alberta.
“These changes to city charters are just one example of how Alberta’s government is ensuring housing remains affordable and attainable. Inclusionary housing ultimately drives up development costs and higher home prices and that’s why we are removing it from the charters.”
As required by regulation, the proposed changes to the city charters will be posted online for 60 days. After 60 days, the proposed changes to the charters will go to cabinet for final approval.