Cutting red tape will ensure better housing supply, says CFIB

The hottest markets have the most burdensome permit costs and documentary requirements

Cutting red tape will ensure better housing supply, says CFIB

A drastic simplification of the residential property development process, particularly on the municipal level, is a crucial part of addressing Canada’s housing supply issues, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

In particular, streamlining the construction permit pipeline would help unlock some much-needed supply in Canada’s hottest housing markets.

“Making municipal permitting processes simpler and less costly is one important step in addressing Canada’s housing challenges,” said Duncan Robertson, senior policy analyst at CFIB.

“Canada’s housing shortage has come to the point where buying a home in Canada is getting out of reach for most Canadians. This also makes it more challenging for small employers who struggle to attract employees in many cities across the country, as those employees cannot find affordable housing.”

CFIB found that more than half of small business owners in the construction sector “find it difficult” to secure or renew permits or licenses. Fully 80% also said that governments at all levels should make it a “high priority” to review the current processes surrounding business permits and licenses.

Analyzing the permit types and costs required for a $20,000 project to convert a powder room into a full bathroom in 12 major Canadian cities, CFIB found that Vancouver has the highest permitting costs. Along with Toronto, Vancouver also has the most stringent documentary requirements.

“They are also the cities with the highest home prices and greatest shortages,” CFIB said. “On average, seven additional documents are needed for a bathroom renovation project, with combined permitting costs ranging from $180 in Charlottetown to $2,029 in Vancouver.”

“If there are this many obstacles for a simple bathroom renovation, imagine how costly and time-consuming it is to permit a secondary suite, a complete renovation or a new build,” added Francesca Basta, research analyst at CFIB. “Permitting costs and processes should be straightforward and affordable.”