The BC NDP Government’s Forced Housing Targets and Shutting Down of Public Hearings have their Origin from the Development Lobby

November 12, 2023

On September 26, 2023 cameras were flashing in the lobby at Saanich Municipal Hall in the Greater Victoria region.  The BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon, unveiled that day[i] an announcement that the province is now forcing housing construction targets through the Housing Supply Act on 10 municipalities in British Columbia, accompanied by some pretty astonishing mandated numbers.  These figures presented that day, were not marred by concerns about logistics surrounding the builds, nor over practicality, nor even the environmental impacts that were sure to attend them. For some, this would evoke a sense of déjà vu over the very recent events surrounding development plans in Ontario's Greenbelt. 

            Some examples of the new forced targets[ii] include: the City of Victoria, which would have to build 4,902 units, Saanich (a semi-rural and still relatively forested municipality) would have to build 4,610 units, and the City of Vancouver would have to build a whopping 28,900 units over the next 5 years. 

            The new targets were quickly praised by those the media now referred to as “advocates” or “housing advocates”. [iii] These recent newspeak terms/euphemisms had been creeping into standard usage in the media in recent years.  They seem to have replaced terms that would previously have been used such as: “lobbyists”, or perhaps “development-industry lobbyists” and/or “real estate-investment-sector lobbyists”.

The ‘consultations’:

The new targets were said to be based on consultations made over the summer, according to the Ministry of Housing’s Sept 26, press release:

The Province consulted with the selected municipalities during the summer to set the final housing target orders.”

“The ministry consults municipalities to understand community housing needs and set targets with careful consideration for local planning and land use.”

“The first 10 municipalities were announced in May 2023 and consulted during July and August of this year.”

So, who was actually consulted? On October 5, I asked the Ministry of Housing that and other questions about the targets by email.  On November 8, my letter to the editor asking the same questions and others in addition, was published in print in the Saanich News with the title: “B.C. Housing targets benefit development community”.  The next day on Nov 9, the Acting Executive Director of the new Housing Targets Branch of the Ministry of Housing responded to my questions put forth on Oct 5.

Their response was: “Municipal staff from all 10 municipalities participated in consultation meetings with Ministry of Housing staff.”

Generally, when a democratic government does consultation on issues that will have major impacts on communities, they consult with members of the public from those communities; the government doesn’t consult itself on forcing targets on those communities, but that is exactly what the provincial government, led by the BC NDP, did over the summer.

The email concluded with the now trademark attainability/affordability waffle:

The Housing Supply Act is just one way that the Province is working to ensure that housing is attainable and affordable for all British Columbians.”

A wonderful example of George Orwell’s doublethink/newspeak in practice: attainability when it comes to housing is absolutely meaningless when it comes to delivering affordability, except as a means of not saying what it truly means, which is: this plan will not lead to affordability, when it comes to housing in B.C., except in isolated exceptions to the rule.

If the forced housing targets will not deliver true affordability across the province, then what is the real point of the province’s crossing of this rubicon, when it comes to a serious crushing of democratic[iv] power at the local level?  Why then, if nebulous ‘attainability’ is the end-goal, have they followed soon after by the announcement of BC Bill 44, which would upzone much of the province and en masse prevent innumerable public hearings?

Who benefits in this forced scenario? 

A crucial clue can be found by looking at events before the so-called consultations took place over the summer. A June 1, press release from the Urban Development Institute Capital Region’s Policy and Advocacy Updates webpage went as follows:

 “UDI has been calling for the Province to set housing targets, and yesterday, Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced the first cohort of ten municipalities that will be receiving them. The Province will now work with these municipalities over the summer to establish individual targets, before making a public announcement.”

There it is from the source: it was the UDI calling for housing targets, which the province subsequently adopted.

Evidence of the UDI pushing the idea of housing targets on the province goes back to at least August 2017 (See: Appendix VII). John Horgan had become Premier only weeks earlier in July 2017. The UDI donated directly to the BC NDP that same August, and again, the next month in September.

In October 2020, as the new Housing Needs Reports were rolling out with the original batches of housing targets for municipalities, a UDI document repeatedly made mention of targets in regard to housing and pressed that these be mandated. Like the previous document in 2017 that spoke of pre-zoning, the 2020 document suggested "Encouraging municipalities to pre-zone areas, particularly near transit."

The document concluded with the words:

"By taking bold steps to holding
municipalities accountable to their
housing targets, we can ensure that
British Columbia’s economy does not
slow down."

            So, what is the UDI?  A significant portion of the public have not heard about it, despite its being an incredibly influential organization in British Columbia and beyond, whose influence has had major repercussions in communities in B.C. 

The UDI is a lobby, which is legally registered as such, on the BC Lobbyists Registry.  They have four branches in British Columbia, referred to as chapters. The main branch located in Vancouver, is called the UDI Pacific Region.  Another branch located in Kelowna, is known as the UDI Okanagan Chapter.  Another branch is the UDI Fraser Valley.  Another branch is located in Victoria BC, and is called the UDI Capital Region, which seeks to influence the area known as the Capital Regional District of Greater Victoria.  The regional government for this area is known as the CRD.

According to the UDI Pacific Region’s homepage, the UDI is:


According to the UDI Capital Region’s homepage, they are:

"Your voice in the Capital Region’s development industry

Join the team of industry leaders and professionals who are influencing the issues that affect your bottom line."

Their homepage continues:


Government Relations:
We are the Public Voice of the Capital Region’s development industry,
liaising with local governments and the media

Do you see it now?  The UDI is the most influential real estate/development industry lobby in British Columbia and seeks to influence the government and the media, in order to push the agenda of the corporate entities they represent, including numerous development and real estate companies, REITs, consultants, banks/credit unions and other companies/organizations that profit from the industry.[v]  Many of the most prominent names in these fields in B.C. are on the list.

It was the development lobby that called the province to set housing targets, and the province under the BC NDP did so, with relish and without public consultation.

In 2011 and 2017, the Urban Development Institute donated directly to the BC NDP.[vi] Some of those involved at the top of the organization over the years, have had their names on up to hundreds of thousands of dollars of political donations to the two main parties in BC.[vii] In addition, numerous employees, including top executives of UDI member companies have donated the maximum allowable amounts to local politicians in numerous municipalities across the province.  Influence comes in many forms.


The email that I received from the Ministry of Housing’s Housing Targets Branch on Nov 9, elaborated on the relation between the targets and the government’s consultation of itself over the summer:

Housing targets are set in consultation with municipalities based in part on their Housing Needs Reports, Official Community Plans, and Regional Growth Strategies. Statistical data, including the most recent BC Stats population projections, together with investments in transportation, housing demand and supply factors such as units, tenure, and affordability are also be taken into consideration. Individual municipal responses to the Province’s housing targets may be found on each of the respective municipality websites.”

The phrase "may be found" is an interesting form of disclaimer it seems. I asked Saanich's CAO if the municipality's responses to the Province's housing targets are on the municipalities' website. The answer was no, "Saanich has not published its response and it’s not on the website." When asked at council on Nov 20, if Saanich municipal staff had asked for the province's target numbers, the CAO responded plainly: "No."

While in other senses illuminating, the content of the Ministry's paragraph was actually in a sense redundant:  so-called Housing Needs Reports, OCPs and RGSs overlap (See Appendix: 2), and for the most part, the public is unaware of these overlaps and how this also in turn, contradicts many senses they might have had of perceived municipal sovereignty.  Much of what remains of municipal sovereignty, is something the province is in the process of rapidly overturning.

As I am from the Capital Region of Greater Victoria, I will elaborate on this system of overlaps, involving different levels of government and affecting municipalities; using this area as example.

The Official Community Plans (OCPs) of the municipalities in Greater Victoria are legally binding.  The plans are the overarching plans that municipalities must conform to.  The plans themselves must conform by law, to the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) of the CRD, the (Capital Regional District), which is the regional government that the municipalities fall under.  If the public in those municipalities, then consider that they have sovereignty over their OCPs, they are under an illusion. 

On April 6, 2019 the provincial government legislated requirements for "local governments to collect data, analyze trends and present reports that describe current and anticipated housing needs in B.C. communities." The result of this was the creation of so-called Housing Needs Reports and so-called Housing Needs Assessments. The reports were mandated for local governments by the province.

The CRD commissioned Housing Needs Reports, which are to be informed by its Regional Growth Strategy, to a combination of 11 municipalities/electoral areas and in turn, the Regional Growth Strategy moving forward, would be required to respond to the Housing Needs Reports; a feedback loop of reinforcing growth-based development designed to mold official policy. 

The OCPs in turn, must conform to the Housing Needs Reports and simultaneously to the Regional Growth Strategies, which will also conform to the Housing Needs Reports, thus ensuring a continuously reinforcing multi-level circuit, that locks-in mandated growth-(rather than affordability)-based construction; thus benefiting the development/real estate industries/speculators financially, without actually delivering affordability across the board.

The Housing Needs Reports were generously subsidized by the provincial government.  The Housing Needs Reports included housing construction target numbers for municipalities to adopt.  These numbers preceded the current target numbers, which were informed by and based on them in part.  The current forced housing targets are significantly higher than the already substantive original numbers in the Housing Needs Reports.

By placing the 'Housing Needs Reports' under CRD auspices, rather than through the municipalities directly; not only was the CRD able to hand the contracts for preparing them to the company or companies that it selected (as it turned out an essential monopoly was granted to a paying development lobby member company to generate housing policy for 11 local government entities), but it would also reinforce the higher (unelected) regional level of government's power and influence over municipal housing policy, especially when it came to construction-based growth.

The term "need" is an intentionally framed use of language that negates other possibilities, including choice, and its application as a result can be very undemocratic, if not authoritarian in nature. Perhaps that was the intention all along. It was after-all, the end-result; when housing targets, based in many ways on these earlier targets, became forced.

The so-called Housing Needs Reports were thus able to reinforce the CRD's Regional Growth Strategy over the municipalities and the RGS in turn, was thus able to reinforce the Housing Needs Reports, a convenient circle of power regarding housing policy, pressing in on actual municipal needs/sovereignty.

             The CRD is a paying member of the UDI and the UDI has a permanent seat on its Regional Housing Advisory Committee (RHAC), along with a number of other organizations/lobbies that have also in one form or another, been members of the UDI. In addition, a private developer also has a seat on the committee with a 2-year term prior to rotation to a new developer. The development industry is well represented on the committee.

The organizational members with permanent seats on the RHAC include: Urban Development Institute, Victoria Real Estate Board, Canadian Homebuilders' Association Vancouver Island*, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)** and BC Housing.
*The Canadian Homebuilders' Association - Fraser Valley is listed as a member on the UDI Pacific Region website.
**The CMHC was a member when the year began in 2023, but seems to have withdrawn both of its memberships from the UDI this year:

That federal and provincial crown corporations such as the CMHC and BC Housing have been members of the UDI, might come as a surprise. There are in fact numerous crown corporations both federal and provincial, that are paying members of the UDI; many with familiar names, such as in addition: BC Transit, BC Hydro, BC Assessment (which bases tax assessments on 'highest and best use', something that can encourage gentrification and upzoning) and Procurement Canada. Also at least one Statutory Corporation is a member: the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia and one Statutory Authority is as well: TransLink, which is another issue entirely, especially in light of BC Bill 47 - 2023, which upzoned much of the route along the Skytrain.

The UDI has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government funding in recent years from different levels/branches of government, including hundreds of thousands of dollars of emergency response aid during the pandemic from the federal government. Their funding from the government also includes grants received from crown corporations among those that are themselves members of the UDI. At some point, one simply is led to conclude that the Canadian Government itself is a paying member of the UDI lobby, that in turn continues to lobby it, at all levels. If the Canadian Government is a member of the lobby, funds it and is so enmeshed and partnered with it, is the Canadian Government itself, not functioning as an arm of the lobby? If so, have we not witnessed state capture?

             The CRD Board, although composed by elected officials from local government, is not elected, but chosen, and the CRD board did not vote to join the UDI.  Nonetheless, the CRD became a paying member of the UDI, much like the 7 current municipalities under it that are also paying members of the UDI.[viii] These it seems also became members without votes by elected officials[ix] and sometimes without it seems even having informed the elected officials, as was the case this year in the Town of View Royal.

             The contracts provided by the CRD to help facilitate, finalize and prepare the Housing Needs Reports for the combination of 11 municipalities/electoral areas, went in every instance to Urban Matters CCC.  Urban Matters is the subsidiary of Urban Systems Ltd., which is a paying member company of the UDI, and is thus entitled to representation from the UDI.  Urban Systems Ltd. has done major work running into millions of dollars, consulting for municipalities in B.C. and for the province. It has numerous offices across the province and beyond and is well positioned to potentially benefit from future growth in the municipalities, as it has in the past. As part of the process of generating the Housing Needs Reports, Urban Matters consulted the Urban Development Institute (UDI) as a "stakeholder" on the reports, despite that Urban Matters' parent company is a paying member of the UDI.

             According to the minutes[x] of the December 12, 2022 CRD Regional Housing Advisory Committee (RHAC), “The CRD has engaged the services of Urban Matters business consultants to review the Housing Agreement Program (HAP) for potential for future growth to address need, and recommend a model that would enable greater efficiency, sustainability, and scalability.”

Also quoted in the minutes from that day:

Urban Matters indicated that, in their previous work with municipalities, they have heard that there isn’t administrative capacity within municipal staff to manage housing agreements like CRD is providing with this program.
Urban Matters would like to hear what will help municipalities do their work better and capture affordable units better, while keeping process streamlined for developers and development community. How can the CRD help, and what does that look like

Actions: Urban Matters will provide a copy of the presentation to CRD staff for circulation to RHAC representatives and their municipalities for input. A formal survey will be sent by Urban Matters to municipal staff in the region in January 2023 for structured input on HAP current and future need

A circuit indeed.

The UDI Capital Region membership benefits and eligibility page at the time of writing, states under "Benefits":

"Work with decision makers
Our members have strong relationships with municipal and provincial governments to inform key public policy decisions."

"Get your voice heard
We’re your platform to get your voice heard, whether you’re promoting your interests, or expressing your ideas or concerns about the issues that matter most to you."

"Get ahead of the curve

Our in-depth research and analyses of current trends and future projections mean you can make informed decisions that better your bottom line."

"Stay in the know

When policies change, they affect the industry – and you. You can count on us to keep you informed of changes from the municipal level to the provincial level."

This latter one, I discovered how it works earlier this year at the municipal level, through an access-to-information request that revealed that the UDI are automatically updated electronically on the appearance of council agenda items and changes to them in Saanich, while the general public are not offered the same opportunity. This service is provided to the UDI and to another construction lobby free of charge.

So there you have it, the UDI are there to inform (their members) and they are also there to inform the government (which is also their members) at the same time, including on potential policy changes they can and do make.


For those looking for a visualization of the content and numerous overlaps involved, the following diagrams are for the purposes of visual aids to the article.

The following diagrams depict the relation between the Government of BC, the UDI lobby and Urban Systems in the Creation of Mandatory Housing Targets and the Waiving of Public Hearings (Yes, it does get complicated). I've utilized local examples to show how this is operating on a local level, but this may illustrate a microcosm of a macrocosm happening in numerous places across the province.

While lobbying, influence and information goes out from the UDI and Urban Systems toward levels of government (as shown in previous diagrams); payments from all levels of government (derived from taxes) flow back in their direction, helping to both subsidize and continue the cycle.


If the reader might be a bit overwhelmed, or confused by all the information; I will now make this clear:

            There were already housing targets for the municipalities in the CRD. These were brought to the municipalities from levels of the Provincial Government above them. These targets were in a sense, mandated to these municipalities by their presence in the Housing Needs Reports, due to their relation to both the CRD's Regional Growth Strategy and to the Official Community Plans (OCPs) of the municipalities.

This process likely existed elsewhere as well in the province.

           The previous housing targets adhered to the CRD's Regional Growth Strategy. The Official Community Plans of the municipalities are being made to adhere to both; the housing targets and the Regional Growth Strategy. However, despite that the earlier housing targets already included massive demands on the municipalities when it came to units, and despite that the Housing Needs Reports were in essence acting as a circuit of growth-based regional government power over municipal housing policy; they were still not overwhelmingly compelling, and they were still somewhat loosely binding.

What is the point of vague mandates operating in the background, if they are essentially unenforced? They may help alter the general framework of the municipal operating system when it comes to housing and that may increase production, but they may not deliver even the sort of numbers they are calling for to begin with.

For the development/real estate lobby, where steady sky-high growth is the demand; that wasn't enough, and neither were the original targets. They wanted results. They wanted results fast, and they wanted a harder stance from the province over the municipalities and the public (by eliminating public hearings one of the last trappings of democracy at the local level), in order to strongly enforce industry's profit-based agenda, regardless of whether the public wanted it or not. They would get it. The lobby subsequently called on the province to create a much stronger set of targets, which the province did. The current forced housing targets were informed by and in part based on the former targets in the Housing Needs Reports.

The province very soon after, presented legislation through BC Bill 44 - 2023 that silenced vast amounts of public hearings. They had taken other steps to do so earlier in the year, through allowing pre-zoning by allowing municipalities to waive public hearings, provided that the projects conformed to the OCP (which as already stated was influenced by housing needs reports, RGS etc.). Claimed OCP conformance is something open to potential abuse. If municipal staff for example, claims that a project already conforms with the OCP and a public hearing doesn't happen, the public is left in a Kafkaesque catch-22, as they are now unable to contradict that in a reasonable way at council, because the hearing has already been waived.

Not only has the UDI lobby promoted and praised the removal of public hearings/pre-zoning, but in their 2022-2023 Annual Report under "Advocacy Initiatives" (remember advocacy is the new euphemism for lobbying), they mention under Saanich for example: "OCP Update/Terms of Reference".

As Orwell said, "who controls the past controls the future, who controls the future controls the past", well who controls the OCP and its terms of reference controls what public hearings can be waived, if they are allowed to be waived based on mere alleged OCP conformance by the government's own staff. The OCP, as already mentioned previously, is in part controlled by the Housing Needs reports and the OCP is now being forced to conform in a new way by direct government-mandated housing targets, which themselves are partly based on those earlier reports.

           Housing Needs Reports for a combination of 11 municipalities/electoral areas were initiated by the CRD and involved the CRD in their formulation. The reports were facilitated, finalized and "prepared by" a UDI development/real estate lobby member company, through their subsidiary. All of these government entities are beholden to the CRD's Regional Growth Strategy.

The local government entities included: Saanich, Central Saanich, Colwood, Esquimalt, Highlands, Salt Spring Island, Juan De Fuca, Langford, Metchosin, North Saanich and Victoria

            The CRD is a paying member of the UDI lobby and the UDI lobby has a permanent seat on its Regional Housing Advisory Committee.

           The current set of forced housing targets were created after the UDI lobby had called upon the province to create them.

           Both the old set of housing targets for most local governments in the CRD (and likely beyond), and the current set of forced housing targets across the province, had origins from those involved with the lobby.  In the former case, the preparer of the housing needs reports, which contained the old targets for 11 local government entities in the CRD, was a subsidiary of a company that is a paying member of the lobby (and thus entitled to representation from it). The UDI was also consulted for the reports. In regard to the latter targets, it was the lobby that called on the province to create them and the province did so, based upon consulting itself; rather than from consulting the public.



           In a democracy, the people are in charge.  Under the BC NDP, when it comes to housing, the lobby is getting its way and the public are forced to accept and comply with the consequences.

           The forced housing targets as already mentioned, were followed soon after, by the NDP government’s presentation of BC Bill 44, which would upzone much of the province, and eliminate vast amounts of public hearings; effectively pre-zoning much of the province.  The UDI had been pushing pre-zoning/the waiving of public hearings based on ‘OCP conformance’ for some time. They have done so, in presentations made through the UDI (sometimes with elected officials in attendance), and in statements made by senior staff and recorded in the press.  Bills 46 and 47, appearing in quick succession, soon after in November, were presented by the BC NDP. Both of the Bills received lavish praise from the UDI Capital Region, under its Policy and Advocacy Updates page. 

              As the Christmas of 2023 was approaching and a provincial election looming on the horizon in 2024, the UDI had received much of their wish-list from the province, while municipalities placed under the province’s so-called “naughty-list”, were left to absorb their agenda, no matter the consequences.


Appendix I: Communications with the Ministry

Copy of my email to the Ministry of Housing on October 5, 2023:

Hello Housing Minister's Office,

According to the Saanich News:

"Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon was in Saanich on Tuesday (Sept. 26) as he unveiled the number of homes each of the first 10 communities subject to the province’s Housing Supply Act will have to deliver over the next half-decade.

Those targets will see Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay have to deliver 4,902, 4,610 and 664 units, respectively.

The province said it consulted with communities on the targets over the summer and sent each a list of guidelines on the recommended number of units by size, rental-versus-owned units and below-market rental units."

Which communities were consulted?  How many people were engaged in each of the consultations?  What were the questions asked in the consultations?  What were the responses from the consultations?

How did the result of those consultations lead to the housing target numbers and how did it lead to those numbers only in certain municipalities?

Thank you

Sasha Izard

Copy of the reply to my email by the Ministry of Housing on Nov 9, 2023:

November 09, 2023

Dear Sasha Izard

Thank you for your email of October 5, 2023, addressed to the Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, regarding the Housing Supply Act and housing targets for the first 10 municipalities. As the Acting Executive Director, Housing Targets Branch, I am pleased to respond.

To take effective action on housing solutions, we need all communities, large and small, working together and doing their part to provide homes for people in BC. Through the Housing Supply Act (the Act), the Province will work with municipal partners to speed up housing developments and increase supply in communities with the greatest need to ensure the right type of housing is built in the right places.

The first 10 municipalities were announced on May 31, 2023, when the Act came into force by regulation. The Schedule to the Housing Supply Regulation lists the municipalities that can be selected for housing targets assessment. The Province is taking a phased approach to implementation with a second cohort of 8-10 municipalities to be announced later in 2023. For more information about the first 10 municipalities and the Province’s Selection Index, please visit:

Municipal staff from all 10 municipalities participated in consultation meetings with Ministry of Housing staff. Housing targets are set in consultation with municipalities based in part on their Housing Needs Reports, Official Community Plans, and Regional Growth Strategies. Statistical data, including the most recent BC Stats population projections, together with investments in transportation, housing demand and supply factors such as units, tenure, and affordability are also be taken into consideration. Individual municipal responses to the Province’s housing targets may be found on each of the respective municipality websites.

Housing targets are set using a standardized methodology that counts how many units are needed to address the shortage of housing today and to respond to population growth over the next five years. For more information about housing targets for the 10 municipalities and the Province’s methodology, please visit: For more information about the unit breakdown guidance for the first 10 municipalities, please visit:

The Housing Supply Act is just one way that the Province is working to ensure that housing is attainable and affordable for all British Columbians. For a more complete picture on the Province’s housing strategy, please see the Homes for People action plan:

Thank you again for writing.


Cimarron Corpé

Acting Executive Director

Housing Targets Branch

Ministry of Housing


In investigating the claim:

"Individual municipal responses to the Province’s housing targets may be found on each of the respective municipality websites."

 I emailed Saanich's CAO to ask him: "Where can I find this for Saanich?"

 The CAO forthrightly, responded:

 "Good morning Sasha – Saanich has not published its response and it’s not on the website."


Appendix II.: Overlaps between the Housing Needs Reports, Official Community Plans (OCPs) and Regional Growth Strategies

The following is quoted from:
Housing Needs Reports - Province of British Columbia ( (Accessed: Nov 12, 2023)

Relationship to Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies

A local government is required to consider its most recent housing needs report, and the housing information on which it is based, when

  • Developing an official community plan or regional growth strategy
  • Amending an official community plan in relation to housing statements, map designations or policies
  • Amending a regional growth strategy in relation to proposed housing actions, and
  • Considering every five years whether a regional growth strategy must be reviewed

This will ensure that any updates to an official community plan or regional growth strategy are informed by the latest available housing needs information.​


Appendix III.: BC Government information about the Housing Needs Reports:

The following government information is quoted from: Housing Needs Reports - Province of British Columbia ( (Accessed: Nov 12, 2023)

Housing Needs Reports

Municipalities and regional districts in B.C. are required to complete housing needs reports by April 2022 and every five years thereafter. These reports will help local governments and the B.C. government better understand and respond to housing needs in communities throughout B.C.

An overview of Housing Need Reports

Legislative requirements took effect April 16, 2019 and require local governments to collect data, analyze trends and present reports that describe current and anticipated housing needs in B.C. communities. A three-year funding program, administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), along with data and guidance provided by the B.C. government, will support communities to meet the new requirements.

Housing needs reports are a way for communities to better understand their current and future housing needs. These reports can help identify existing and projected gaps in housing supply by collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information about local demographics, economics, housing stock, and other factors. A housing needs report is critical to developing a housing strategy or action plan.

Together, legislation and regulations specify requirements for local government related to housing needs reports. These requirements include:

  • Collecting information to identify current and projected housing needs,
  • Using that information to prepare and publish an online housing needs report which shows current and projected housing needs for at least the next five years, and
  • Considering the most recently collected information and housing needs report when amending official community plans and regional growth strategies

Detailed data collection, report content, and public reporting requirements are summarized Summary of Legislative and Regulatory Requirements for Housing Needs Reports (PDF).

Additional guidance for information collection and report content requirements is available in the Housing Needs Report Guidelines (PDF).

Information collection requirements

To help determine current and projected housing needs, local governments are required to collect approximately 50 distinct kinds of data about:

  • Current and projected population
  • Household income
  • Significant economic sectors
  • Currently available and anticipated housing units

Regional districts are required to collect this information for each electoral area.

The B.C. government is providing nearly all the required data free of charge.

The following is quoted from:
Regional growth strategies for local governments - Province of British Columbia (Accessed: Nov 14, 2023)

A regional district board is required to consider its most recent housing needs report and the housing information on which it is based, when:

  • Developing a regional growth strategy,
  • Amending a regional growth strategy in relation to proposed housing actions, and
  • Considering every five years whether a regional growth strategy must be reviewed

The intent of this requirement is to help ensure that any updates to a regional growth strategy are informed by the latest available housing needs information.

The rest of the content of the regional growth strategy is largely left up to the local governments involved.


Appendix IV: Description of lunches and webinars under "Advocacy Initiatives" in the UDI 2021-2022 Annual Report and a description of gifts reported by the BC Lobbyists Registry

The following is the full section quoted about Lunches/Webinars in the UDI Capital Region from the 2021-2022 UDI Annual Report:

Lunches / Webinars


Appendix: V: Excerpts from the UDI Housing Policy Priorities document of October 2020

Under the heading: "Solutions for a Stronger British Columbia and subheading: "BUILDING MORE HOUSING OPTIONS BY" was the following quote:

"Strengthening and enforcing municipal Housing Needs Assessments and Regional
Growth Strategy targets so they are robust and must be met to provide more housing

Under the subheading "MAKING RENTALS A REALITY BY" was the following quote:

"Linking the use of policy tools (such as the Residential Rental Tenure Zoning policy) and
provincial funding provided to local governments with achieving Housing Needs and
Regional Growth Strategy targets


Streamlining the municipal approvals process to eliminate unnecessary red tape which
cause delays and increases costs.
Encouraging municipalities to pre-zone areas, particularly near transit.
Encouraging concurrent process approvals so that steps such as rezoning, development
permit and building permit can occur at the same time rather than consecutively.
Mandating the delegation on some processing decisions to staff from Council.
Increasing the transparency and predictability of application process through improved
customer service and communication regarding municipal requirements. This could
include having fixed charges for development-related fees that are known up-front.
Establishing a standardized municipal development process.
Providing provincial funding to create a digital tracking tool to allow both municipalities
and applicants to track the progress of individual applications and identify roadblocks.
Mandating the waiving of public hearings for Official Community Plan-compliant

The document concluded with the following text: "

"By taking bold steps to holding
municipalities accountable to their
housing targets, we can ensure that
British Columbia’s economy does not
slow down."

UDI Housing Policy Priorities (The link broke when the UDI Pacific Region took their website down on Nov 21, 2023, but I saved the PDF before-hand).


Appendix VI: Government Funding to the UDI in recent years

Government Funding Received Report - Urban Development Institute

Registration type: OrganizationRegistration number: 1811-3004
Funding received: 2019-05-04 to 2024-11-13

The Received Government Funding table below is not intended to be additive. Adding all of the entries together does not necessarily provide an accurate sum of all government funding received. There may be redundancy (reporting of the same funding more than once) caused by overlap in the "Date/Period Received" between 2 or more entries.
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Showing 1 to 21 of 21 entries Show 102550100 entries

Source of Government FundingFunding ReceivedDate/Period Received
British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority$10,000.002023-10-13
British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority$9,135.002023-07-26
British Columbia Housing Management Commission$10,000.002023-05-01
Government of Canada (CERS)$808.582022-03-31
Government of Canada (CERS)$16,776.472021-12-02
Government of Canada (CERS)$3,841.152021-11-17
Government of Canada (CEWS)$158,337.062021-11-17
Government of Canada (CEWS)$42,588.412021-09-21
Government of Canada (CERS)$10,990.442021-08-23
Government of Canada (CEWS)$22,520.172021-08-23
Government of Canada (CERS)$3,362.102021-07-30
Government of Canada (CEWS)$19,436.162021-07-23
Government of Canada (CEWS)$21,264.862021-07-16
Government of Canada (CERS)$3,390.562021-06-25
Government of Canada (CERS)$3,574.392021-06-11
Government of Canada (CERS)$3,503.822021-05-31
Government of Canada (CEWS)$295,022.402021-04-26
British Columbia Housing Management Commission$10,000.002021-03-22
Government of Canada (Temporary Wage Subsidy)$22,000.002020-04-03 to 2020-05-15
British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority$48,700.002020-03-17
British Columbia Housing Management Commission$20,000.002020-03-10

Government Funding Received Report - Lobbyists Registry - Office of the Registrar or Lobbying of BC ( (Accessed: Nov 13, 2023)


Appendix: VII. Excerpts from August 2017 document "UDI Ideas for Provincial Involvement in Rental Housing"

"Targets and Transit: We also recommend that the above policy be coupled with
establishing provincial targets for housing units around current transit stations and transit
arterials and future transit stations (once they are built). The targets could be tied to
regional growth levels. Each station area in a municipality does not necessarily need a
target. The targets could be for the combined station areas of the transit lines serving a

Provincial Funding for Station Area Plans: The targets noted above could also be linked
to Provincial funding to support station and transit arterial area plans. We are finding that
municipal planning resources are limited. Any support provided by the Government in this
regard would be helpful to increasing the supply of developable land in key locations."

"Pre-zoning: UDI has advocated at the local level for pre-zoning in areas where there is a
fully developed Area Plan in place that resulted from a robust public consultation process
(including a public hearing). This reduces processing times by eliminating a significant step
in approvals, and reduces risk. Public hearings at the rezoning stage are not necessary
(because of the public hearing at the area planning stage). We ask the Province to
encourage this – especially for rental housing projects"

"Accelerate Municipal Approval Times: Financial incentives linked to targeted outcomes
for accelerating the approvals process for rental projects could be explored."

UDI-Ideas-for-Provincial-Involvement-in-Rental-Housing.pdf (The link broke when the UDI Pacific Region took down their site on Nov 21, 2023, but I saved the PDF before that happened.)

The acceleration of municipal approvals description sounds much like the CMHC's Housing Accelerator Fund introduced in 2023.

Housing Accelerator Fund | CMHC (

In May 2023 I brought up potential conflict of interest concerns with the CMHC's housing accelerator fund to the CRD Board of Directors, both organizations being paying members of the UDI. The CMHC withdrew both of its UDI memberships in 2023.

The Housing Accelerator fund sounds much like Liberal Party's re-election promise 2 years earlier:

"A re-elected Liberal government will:

  • Invest $4 billion in a new Housing Accelerator Fund which will grow the annual housing supply in the country’s largest cities every year, creating a target of 100,000 new middle class homes by 2024-25. This application-based fund will offer support to municipalities that: grow housing supply faster than their historical average; increase densification; speed-up approval times; tackle NIMBYism and establish inclusionary zoning bylaws; and encourage public transit-oriented development. This fund will support a wide range of eligible municipal investments, including red tape reduction efforts, and reward cities and communities that build more homes, faster."

Help Cities Accelerate Housing Construction | Liberal Party of Canada

The UDI has repeatedly made mention of lobbying the federal government, yet almost nothing seems to appear under their name on the federal lobbyist registry.

The only entries I was able to find of their federal activity on the registry consisted of 3 inactive registrations from 2005. The only real detail I could find of their actual activities was:


This seemed rather, well I think you get the idea.


Appendix VIII. Excerpt from the UDI 2022-2023 Annual Report:

"In 2021-22 the Board of Directors updated the
strategic priorities of the organization focusing on the
central theme of being credible, factual, and effective
– not necessarily popular. The goal was to define
UDI as ‘the’ informed opinion leader and the go-to
organization for expertise on all forms of development
and to become the trusted source of innovative ideas
for increasing the supply of housing.

This year we began to see the results of this strategy
as the Government of British Columbia increasingly
spoke of the need to increase the supply of housing
– moving past a historical reliance on demand-side
policies. Two pieces of government legislation stand
out in this regard. First, Bill 42, the Housing Supply
Act now gives the Province the power to set housing
targets in municipalities with the greatest need and
highest projected growth. In addition, Bill 26 amended
the Local Government Act to remove the default public
hearing requirement for zoning amendment bylaws
that are consistent with an official community plan."

UDI Annual Report - 2022-2023 - Urban Development Institute


Additional Resources to Article:

Targets released for 10 municipalities to deliver more homes for people | BC Gov News (Sept 26, 2023)

New housing targets call for more than new 60,000 units in 5 years: Kahlon - The Free Press (Sept 26, 2023 Black Press article by Wolf Depner)

Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay must build 10K housing units in 5 years: B.C. - Greater Victoria News ( (Sept 26, Black Press article by Jake Romphf)

LETTER: B.C. housing targets benefit development community - Saanich News (Published online on Oct 29, 2023 and in-print on Nov 8, 2023)

New report highlights need for diverse, affordable housing in Saanich - Saanich News (Nov 25, 2020 Black Press article by Devon Bidal)

B.C. government won’t release scores, rankings of 10 municipalities on the housing ‘naughty list’ - Real Estate | Business in Vancouver ( (Article by Bob Mackin November 10, 2023) The article mentions that the UDI and other lobby organizations were briefed as stakeholders, on the 'naughty list', a week before it was released to the public.

It took 5 months, but B.C. Govt FOI response reveals the ten ‘experts’ guiding the hammer of provincial housing policy | CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions ( (Nov 13, 2023 by Urbanizta) The article mentions that a UDI director was among others one of the 'experts' consulted in developing the province's naughty-list of municipalities.

Could 'upzoning' mean higher property taxes for B.C. homeowners? | Vancouver Sun (Nov 10, 2023 by Katie De Rosa)

Policy and Advocacy Updates - UDI Capital Region (

Bill 43 – 2022: Housing Supply Act (

New Legislation Seeks to Expand Housing Supply in British Columbia | Blakes

B.C. municipalities required to hit housing targets revealed - Victoria Times Colonist Note the article was released the same day as the UDI press release June 1 in which the UDI took credit for calling on the province to adopt the housing targets. The Times Colonist is a paying member and media partner of the UDI. The TC's parent company Glacier Media is also a paying member of the UDI.

Housing Needs Report - November 2020 (

The date November 2020 is interesting. The UDI had created a document the month earlier in October called UDI Housing Policy Priorities: in which was written the following:

"Strengthening and enforcing municipal Housing Needs Assessments and Regional
Growth Strategy targets so they are robust and must be met to provide more housing

"By taking bold steps to holding
municipalities accountable to their
housing targets, we can ensure that
British Columbia’s economy does not
slow down."

The authoritarian nature of the UDI's demands in regard to mandatory housing targets for the municipalities couldn't be more clear in the document.

Capital Regional District Housing Needs Assessment (City of Victoria Oct 2020)

Home - Urban Matters : Urban Matters

We build vibrant communities - Urban Systems

Home - Urban Development Institute (

UDI Capital Region – Your voice in the local development industry

Home - Urban Development Institute (

Financial Reporting and Political Contributions | Elections BC

Urban Development Institute / Anne McMullin, President & CEO - 12-Month Lobbying Summary - Lobbyists Registry - Office of the Registrar or Lobbying of BC (


UDI has worked with staff in many municipalities across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley in the development of their Housing Needs Reports to meet the Provincial mandate. This was an opportunity to provide insight into building in each community and the challenges and opportunities in the delivery of housing."

Quoted excerpt from from: UDI POLICY & ADVOCACY YEAR-IN-REVIEW: 2021 - Urban Development Institute (


[ii] “The target orders for each municipality:

[i] New housing targets call for more than new 60,000 units in 5 years: Kahlon - The Free Press (Wolf Depner)

  • City of Abbotsford – 7,240 housing units
  • City of Delta – 3,607 housing units
  • City of Kamloops – 4,236 housing units
  • District North Vancouver – 2,838 housing units
  • District of Oak Bay – 664 housing units
  • City of Port Moody – 1,694 housing units
  • District of Saanich – 4,610 housing units
  • City of Vancouver – 28,900 housing units
  • City of Victoria – 4,902 housing units
  • District of West Vancouver – 1,432 housing units”

[iii] Developers and advocates weigh in on B.C.'s housing targets | CTV News Journalist Brendan Strain Sept 27, 2023

Excerpt: “The province is getting high grades from developers and housing advocates alike in its attempt to see more homes built faster. Now it’s up to municipalities to welcome that development into their communities.”

B.C.'s new housing-related bills 'transformational' but changes will take time, advocate cautions | CBC News CBC News · Posted: Nov 11, 2023 8:00 AM PST

A new use of the term Advocacy:

Advocate/advocacy or representative/representing are the newspeak euphemisms used in lieu of lobbyist/lobbying now. When it comes to real estate/development what were previously called lobbyists are now framed as “housing advocates” or even “housing activists” in the press, at a time when much of the press has become heavily dependent on funding from the real estate sector; most often through advertising revenue. Not surprisingly, those generously referred to by these terms, include many registered developers and realtors and/or those working for the investment industry, whose direct financial incentives are to push an increase of construction, regardless of the consequences to the environment and regardless of the fact that if the increase is market-rate and/or upzoned as is pushed; mathematically it will not lead to a reduction in housing prices and they know that. In fact, most likely it will lead to the opposite: gentrification, which is far more profitable for them. If there is one thing developers and realtors can do, it’s math. Ask their "advocates" for it on this however, and good luck if it is forthcoming.

[iv] Journalist Les Leyne has had some hard-hitting and realistic punches about the NDP’s abandonment of democratic principles when it comes to housing policy this month:

Some examples:“Les Leyne: Public hearings curbed in housing bill” (Nov 4, 2023)

Opinion: Public hearings curbed in housing bill - Victoria Times Colonist

“Les Leyne: 'Last public hearing' on housing push

It’s a cheeky reference to the B.C. government’s legislation that will eliminate public hearings by next year on most site-specific residential rezonings and abolish the single-family dwelling zone.
” (Nov 11, 2023)

View Royal holds ‘last public hearing’ on housing push - Victoria Times Colonist

It is also worth mentioning Katie De Rosa’s Nov 3. Article: “B.C. NDP housing bill oversight could cost municipalities tens of millions: mayors

Metro Vancouver mayors wonder who will pay for the increased infrastructure costs related to increased density

Gov't's upzoning policy could strain municipal infrastructure: Mayors | Vancouver Sun

[v] A perusal of their member directories is well worth while:
Business Directory Search - Membership Application - Urban Development Institute (
Member Directory - UDI Capital Region

[vi] While not an overwhelming donation, the fact the UDI (according to themselves a non-profit organization), donated directly to the NDP political party on more than one occasion, could be considered to signal at the very least, a willingness to be able to work together in the future.

The UDI's non-profit status, also seems somewhat contradictory, in that they simultaneously claim to be: "the team of industry leaders and professionals who are influencing the issues that affect your bottom line."

Source on the donations: Financial Reports and Political Contributions System

“Provincial Combined Political Contributions Search Results

Search Criteria
Contributor NameDate FromDate ToContributor ClassParty
Urban development institute (ALL) (ALL)

Total For This Search: $3,650.00

Records 1 to 3 of 3

Contributor NameDateAmountClassPrincipal Officer 1Principal Officer 2PartyContribution TypeEvent Date
URBAN DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE2017/08/30$325.002  BC NDP12017/09/22
URBAN DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE2017/09/18$325.002  BC NDP12017/09/22 (Accessed: July 28, 2022)

[vii] The donations including both personal and corporate donations with their names on it.

[viii] The 7 municipalities in the CRD which are paying members of the UDI at the time of writing are: The City of Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Sooke.

[ix] This information regarding UDI membership joins without any evidence found by the local governments of votes to join by elected officials, was attained through numerous Access to Information Requests from the CRD and local governments.  The municipality of Saanich seems to have been the only district in the CRD to join the UDI with a vote by elected officials in 2019.  This year in 2023, the district voted to withdraw.  Also in 2023, the district of View Royal joined the UDI; without having informed Mayor and Council, an issue that came up at the View Royal September 12, 2023 Committee of the Whole.


Saanich council unanimously voted to discontinue its paid membership with the UDI this year, after numerous residents came forward with potential conflict of interest concerns, involving the organization and the district:

See March 16, 2023 article: Saanich bails on membership in developers’ organization - Victoria Times Colonist

The withdrawal at a key point in time, while perhaps convenient, didn't end Saanich's relation to the lobby by any stretch however. The district continues to offer up to $500 per year for elected officials to attend lobby events and continues to hold meetings between the lobby and staff that are unrecorded and to which members of the general public are forbidden from attending. The UDI is regularly consulted by the District as a "stakeholder", including on its new 'strategic update' to its Official Community Plan.

[x] RHAC Minutes 2022-04-07 (

This article was originally published on Nov 11, 2023, with updates on Nov 12-29 and Dec 5.

3 days after the initial publication, the council of the Town of View Royal unanimously voted to withdraw its UDI membership becoming the second municipality in the Greater Victoria area to do so, this year.

10 days after this article was originally published and a week after View Royal council's vote to withdraw, the UDI Capital Region, the UDI Okanagan, and the UDI Pacific Region took their websites down. The UDI Capital Region website was then redirected to was redirected to: Okanagan | UDI - Urban Development Institute The UDI Pacific Region website was redirected to UDI - Urban Development Institute, British Columbia

One result of that was that the original links in this article to the UDI's websites, instead became redirected to the new website, much of which contains different content from the old sites.

Archived versions of the UDI Capital Region's, UDI Okanagan's and the UDI Pacific Region's former websites can still be accessed through the Wayback Machine:
UDI Capital Region – Your voice in the local development industry (
Home - Urban Development Institute ( (UDI Pacific Region)
Home - Urban Development Institute ( (UDI Okanagan)

The new website at the current time of writing (Nov 21, 2023) lacks a members directory for the public to see, yet at the same time still invites "government" to become a member.

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