Housing Needs Reports

Local governments 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 Province better understand and respond to housing needs in communities throughout British Columbia. 

Please learn more on this page:

An Overview of Housing Need Reports

Provincial 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, along with data and guidance provided by the Province, will support communities to meet the new requirements.

Housing needs reports are a means 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

Information Collection Requirements

To 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, and
  • Currently available and anticipated housing units

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

Detailed requirements are summarized in the Summary of Legislative and Regulatory Requirements for Housing Needs Reports (PDF)  

The majority of the required data will be made available to local governments; please see the Data for Housing Needs Reports below for more details.

Report Content Requirements

All housing needs reports are required to contain the following, based on an analysis of the information collected:

  • Statements about key areas of local need, including affordable housing, rental housing, special needs housing, seniors housing, family housing, and shelters and housing for people at risk of homelessness
  • The number of housing units required to meet current and anticipated housing needs for at least the next five years, by housing type. Housing ‘type’ is defined as dwelling size (number of bedrooms)
  • The number and percentage of households in core housing need and extreme core housing need

Local governments must also complete a standardized form that summarizes key pieces of data collected, consultation undertaken, and key findings from each local government on their housing needs. The form also provides space for local governments to identify other housing issues or needs that are not captured elsewhere. The intent of the form is to provide an easily-comparable snapshot of housing needs in each jurisdiction.

Regional districts must include this required content for each electoral area.

Public Reporting Requirements

When a housing needs report is complete, a local government is required to:

  • Receive the report at a council or board meeting that is open to the public, and
  • Publish the report on an internet site that is publicly and freely accessible

Public reporting means that the public, First Nations, and stakeholders such as non-profit organizations, private developers, and other government agencies will have access to better information when making housing investment decisions.

Detailed requirements are summarized in the Summary of Legislative and Regulatory Requirements for Housing Needs Reports (PDF).

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. 

Guidance for Housing Needs Reports

Below are resources for developing housing need reports:

Data for Housing Needs Reports

Housing needs reports data includes nearly all the data that local governments are required to collect, packaged on a community basis. This data includes:

  • BC Assessment data on assessed values and sales prices of housing
  • BC Housing data on non-market housing and new homes registered
  • BC Stats data on projected population and household demographics from 2018 to 2028
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) data on primary rental market prices, primary rental vacancy rates and some secondary rental market data
  • Statistics Canada Census data on population and household demographics, labour force, household income, housing units and core housing need

This data can be supplemented by other sources, including local government data, community surveys and public engagement. Detailed data collection requirements, including the sources for each type of data are summarized in the Summary of Legislative and Regulatory Requirements for Housing Needs Reports (PDF).

Funding for Housing Needs Reports

To assist local governments with the new requirements, the B.C. government is providing a three-year $5 million funding program which will be administered by the Union of BC Municipalities.

Jointly Prepared Housing Needs Reports

Partnerships between two or more local governments to undertake this work could offer potential benefits and efficiencies. A regional district could also consider coordinating the collection and reporting of housing needs information on behalf of their members, as long as required community-specific information and reporting is provided for each individual electoral area and participating municipality.

Housing Needs Reports Started Before April 2019

Local governments who are already working on, or who have recently completed a housing needs report (before April 2019), may be considered to have met the legislated requirement for their first report. Please contact ministry staff about whether these transitional provisions could apply to your local government. 

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Planning and Land Use Management Branch
Telephone: 250 387-3394
Email: PLUM@gov.bc.ca

Legislative Authority

The requirements related to housing needs reports are detailed in legislation and associated regulations:

Local Government Act

Vancouver Charter

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: May 8, 2019.