Skip to content

B.C. ahead of curve as feds roll out big housing dollars with demands: Eby

Federal budget includes billions for infrastructure tied to more housing
Premier David Eby says B.C. is happy to take all federal infrastructure money tied to more housing refused by other provinces, because the province has already done its homework to build more housing. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

As the federal government puts a pinpointed focus on housing in the latest Trudeau fiscal budget, B.C.’s premier isn’t worried about the province being left out of any funds that come with benchmark condtions.

“I really welcome the federal government coming to the table in a significant way,” Premier David Eby said about the federal budget Tuesday (April 16).

Tabled by federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland, the latest fiscal budget includes $8.5 billion in new spending over the next five years to build millions of new homes at a pace and scale not seen since the Second World War.

“I will say, frankly, that is overdue, but it is welcomed,” Eby told reporters at an unrelated announement in North Vancouver.

The goal of the federal Liberals is to build 3.87 million new homes by 2031, adding two million net new homes to the 1.87 million the country was already on track to build. While it is not clear how many of them would be in B.C., the federal government appears to be eyeing several properties in the province as sites for development.

The budget also directly lifts many measures, which B.C. had first introduced under Eby’s government. They include Canada Builds — a version of B.C. Builds — and steps to create more density on individuals lots among other measures.

RELATED: ‘Generational fairness’ the theme as Liberals unveil $535B budget

RELATED: Budget 2024: Unused defence, Canada Post land tapped for housing

Some, but not all of the housing measures in Tuesday’s budget had become public prior to the official tabling of the budget, including the pledge for a new housing infrastructure fund, which comes with strings for the provinces.

Those include creating more ‘missing middle’ housing and requiring municipalities to increase density. Municipalities, which are under provincial jurisdiction, would also be required to freeze development cost charges for three years, if their populations exceed 300,000. Provinces and territories would also have to implement measures from the federal Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights and Renters’ Bill of Rights.

RELATED: B.C. welcomes promises of infrastructure dollars, but will ‘push’ for more

RELATED: Deputy PM Freeland brings promise of ‘housing, housing, housing’ to B.C.

Eby said B.C. is already where Ottawa wants other provinces to be, noting that his NDP government has already implemented all of the federal demands.

Several provinces have already signaled their opposition to the federal conditions, citing provincial jurisdiction, to which Eby said B.C. is happy to take their money.

“We are prepared to accept all of this (funding) refused by other provinces that refuse to take basic steps to ensure the availability of housing.”

B.C. is growing fast, having added 350,000 people in the last 36 months.

“(That) massive growth requires so many things, but especially housing and the federal government showing up with infrastructure money that facilities that housing,” he said.

“We welcome the (federal) infrastructure money and if other provinces don’t want, we will take it.”

-with files from Canadian Press

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
Read more