WIN: Burnaby releases bold 10-part housing plan

After honing in on Burnaby — which has the worst rental market in B.C. and the third worst in all of Canada — we've helped the City craft a bold "Quick Start" housing affordability plan to turn things around. [1] 

The plan contains ten actions that can be completed within six months, released as an interim report of the Burnaby Mayor's Task Force on Community Housing, on which Gen Squeeze sits with eight other groups and experts. 

Burnaby's ten "Quick Start" actions


Having trouble reading the table? Click here for a pdf summary. 

How we shaped the actions

One of Gen Squeeze's six big goals is for all Canadians to be able to afford a good home by 2030. To get there, all levels of government must take a comprehensive approach

So, in the Burnaby Task Force discussions that helped shape this list of actions we happily supported others who took the lead on things like rental assistance (Actions 3 and 4), supportive/non-profit/below-market housing (Actions 1, 6 and 7) and then focused our own energies on filling in the gaps, namely:  

  • Action #2: Regulate short-term rental housing — because other jurisdictions have paved the way and we need to prioritize the use of available rental housing as homes, not hotel suites. 

  • Action #9: Commission a land value capture study — because so long as we make it easy to pocket unearned windfall profits from rising land values, the entire system will tilt in that direction, benefiting landowners and hurting everyone else.  

  • Action #10: Gather data on empty homes — because Burnaby residents deserve to know how many homes are being left empty as speculative investments or places to simply park money, and to inform potential policy responses. 

    ☝️Throughout the process, we found we had to compensate for fewer perspectives focused on demand-side measures.  While we made sure those issues were covered off, we also dug into growing supply throughout the city by:

  • Action #8: Simplify zoning and other requirements to increase the number of homes in more neighbourhoods — because we need to make room for diverse "missing middle" housing city-wide, making sure we capture any resulting profits from land values that increase with allowable density (see Action #9). 


Special thanks

  • To the City of Burnaby's Mayor, Council and staff who convened and continue to facilitate this Task Force on Community Housing, with help from SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue staff. Everyone's hard work has ensured that in just over six months since the last election, Burnaby residents already have a bold list of "Quick start" actions to help make housing more affordable. 

  • To our Task Force colleagues for the thoughtful and productive collaboration and discussions. As Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley is reported as saying, despite the fact that ideas clashed at times, the diverse group — which includes both developers and housing activists — found common ground.

  • To the more than 2,300 Burnaby residents, ten student ambassadors, and peers from other jurisdictions who provided and facilitated input into the city's "Your Voice. Your Home." process, of which this is all a part. 

Next steps 

Gen Squeeze will continue to sit on the Mayor's Task Force on Community Housing until the release of its final report, and we'll do our best to ensure that final report is as comprehensive as possible, and guided by an overarching principle of Homes First, because housing should be a place to call home, not a way to get rich.

But the City of Burnaby can't solve this alone. Higher levels of government will need to up their game, too. That's why we're calling on all federal parties to adopt a comprehensive housing affordability plan in their 2019 election platforms. Stay tuned! 

See more wins

We’ve been on a roll lately. Learn about our recent campaign successes:


Support this work

Help us make it so all Canadians can afford a good home by 2030 by
becoming a pay-what-you-can Member. 


[1] Rental market rankings by the Canadian Rental Housing Index 

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