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Government Relations Blog Posts

The BCREA Blog is a platform for sharing the latest education news, economics statistics, issues relating to the profession and links to valuable resources for REALTORS®, stakeholders and the public.

    • Government Relations

    More Info: Draft Changes to Real Estate Practice

    Published Sep 22, 2017

    KS85433On September 6, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate announced draft changes to the Rules under the Real Estate Services Act. Stakeholders and the public have 30 days to respond, and the final rule changes will be released after the October 6 consultation deadline.

    The most significant proposed change is a ban on limited dual agency, where a licensee represents more than one party in a real estate transaction. The only exemption to this ban is for underserved, remote communities with few licensees. The draft rules also include new measures for disclosing remuneration and other information to clients.

    BCREA’s position and actions on the draft rules
    BCREA welcomes the enhanced disclosure proposals, but is concerned that a ban on limited dual agency would negatively impact consumers. If a consumer can’t work with a REALTOR® they know and trust, they may choose to have no representation at all, leaving them at greater risk.

    BCREA is meeting with the Office of the Superintendent, the Real Estate Council of BC and the Ministry of Finance to discuss the impacts of the draft rules. We’re also working with legal experts, the real estate boards and licensees to better understand the possible impacts and prepare our submission to the government’s consultation. With the information available now, BCREA intends to advocate for exemptions for commercial transactions and long-standing client relationships, as well as a longer implementation period, to allow enough time to fully educate REALTORS® and consumers. We will submit our response before October 6, and provide more information as it becomes available.  

    BCREA has also compiled a list of frequently asked questions with the information we know so far. 

    Visit our website for more information on BCREA’s position.

    The consultation: actions for REALTORS® and consumers
    In the meantime, licensees are asked to complete the Office of the Superintendent’s survey on the draft rules, which can be found on their website. The survey is open until October 6.

    After the rules are finalized
    It’s not yet clear exactly when the Office of the Superintendent will finalize the rules. All we know right now is that the expected implementation date is January 15, 2018.

    Shortly after the final rules are released, BCREA will communicate with member boards and REALTORS® to explain and contextualize the new rules. At the same time, BCREA will update all course content (including Legal Update and other relevant PDP courses), so learners will receive the most up-to-date information. Finally, we will amend our standard forms, as necessary, so REALTORS® will have accurate tools for their day-to-day work.

    • Government Relations

    Proposed Changes to Mortgage Underwriting Practices: BCREA’s Response

    Published Aug 16, 2017

    house calculatorThe federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is considering changing residential mortgage insurance underwriting practices. One of these changes would require a qualifying stress test for all uninsured mortgages, which could negatively impact housing affordability.

    Homeownership is an important achievement for many Canadian families. Requiring all uninsured mortgages to have to qualify for a higher mortgage rate than can be negotiated between borrowers and lenders may put homeownership out of reach in some markets. This may particularly impact first-time buyers who often face additional struggles securing financing.  

    Plus, the housing market is still adjusting to recent changes. Over the past eight years, the federal government has implemented seven rounds of measures to tighten mortgage lending rules. The most recent were regulations affecting mortgage lending introduced last fall, which added to housing market uncertainty among buyers and sellers. Also, the Bank of Canada increased its prime rate by 25 basis points in July 2017, and many economists predict the rate will rise again in October. These changes compound the previous seven housing policy measures.

    Making more changes now could imbalance local markets across the country and has the potential to negatively impact the Canadian economy. Particularly in British Columbia, where homebuyers face the highest provincial Property Transfer Tax in the country, any tightening of underwriting policies can put homeownership out of reach.

    BCREA encourages the government not to make fundamental changes to the national housing finance system at a time of rising interest rates. This recommendation is echoed by the Canadian Real Estate Association, as well as the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

    The government’s public consultation period on this proposal closes August 17, 2017. For more information on the consultation and to make a submission, visit the government's website.

    Read BCREA’s full submission here.

    This submission is part of BCREA’s ongoing advocacy work to ensure REALTORS® voices are heard by governments and that housing affordability is protected.

    • Government Relations

    Potential Tax Planning Changes

    Published Aug 10, 2017

    2017-08article3The federal government has proposed several changes to the Income Tax Act that could affect personal real estate corporations in BC. Until October 2, the government is accepting feedback on its proposals, which will impact a wide variety of Canadians.The federal government has proposed several changes to the Income Tax Act that could affect personal real estate corporations in BC. Until October 2, the government is accepting feedback on its proposals, which will impact a wide variety of Canadians.The federal government has proposed several changes to the Income Tax Act that could affect personal real estate corporations in BC. Until October 2, the government is accepting feedback on its proposals, which will impact a wide variety of Canadians.

    Specifically, the proposed changes would limit:

    • income splitting,
    • the multiplication of the lifetime capital gains exemption (that is, the availability of the lifetime capital gains exemption to individuals who aren't actively involved in the small business for which the exemption is claimed),
    • the conversion of income into capital gains, and
    • the deferral of passive investment income earned through a corporation (that is, leaving after-tax income within a corporation to take advantage of lower tax rates).

    Having lobbied successfully several years for the right of REALTORS® to use personal real estate corporations, BCREA takes exceptions to these changes. The Association will participate in the consultation.

    The full consultation paper is available here.

    • Government Relations

    The new BC government and BCREA’s work

    Published Jul 18, 2017

    BC Legislative Assembly On July 18, 2017, Premier John Horgan and his cabinet were sworn in to the provincial legislature.

    A few weeks ago, BCREA recommended a dedicated Ministry of Housing. Since housing is currently such a critical issue in British Columbia, a ministry devoted solely to housing would be best equipped to tackle complex housing challenges in an efficient, coordinated and effective manner.

    The new government chose instead to create a Ministry for Municipal Affairs and Housing. While this cabinet decision doesn’t fulfill BCREA’s recommendation, the portfolio does have more prominence that in the last government. We look forward to working with the Honourable Selina Robinson on all our housing affordability recommendations.

    BCREA also recommended that the new government retain a Ministry, or Ministry of State, for Emergency Preparedness. The government has retained a portfolio for emergency management, naming Jennifer Rice as Parliamentary Secretary. BCREA will continue to advocate for our emergency management and flood protection recommendations, including the advancement of floodplain mapping across BC.

    Finance is another important ministry for BCREA, because it controls taxation and the legislation under which BC REALTORS® are licensed. The Honourable Carole James is the new Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier, and she brings considerable experience and knowledge to the role.

    View the full cabinet appointments on the BC government website, and read more about BCREA’s public policy recommendations here

    • Government Relations

    Groundwater Licensing for Shared Wells

    Published Jun 28, 2017

    iStock-696707268In BC, many people get their daily water from an individual or shared well.

    In most cases, the personal use of this water doesn’t require a groundwater licence, but licenses are needed when wells are shared by multiple properties.

    The Water Sustainability Act stipulates that well owners who use water for domestic purposes don’t have to pay provincial water fees and rentals. “Domestic purposes” covers multiple users on one piece of land, excluding multi-family apartment buildings, and includes water uses such as drinking and food preparation.

    However, if multiple parcels of land share a well, a water licence is required by the owner of the parcel of land where the well is located.

    A licence is required regardless of whether payment is being made for the use or transport of the water.

    To apply for a water licence, the well owner must contact their regional FrontCounter BC office. More information, including the application form, is available here.

    Until December 31, 2017, existing groundwater well users (those who used wells prior to February 29, 2016) will have their application fee waived. Fees and rental rates still apply for the water used. For more about water rental and application fees, click here.

    In addition, all domestic groundwater users are encouraged to register their wells. Registration creates a record of water use and ensures that their use is considered by decision makers dealing with other licence applications. Property owners can contact their regional FrontCounter BC office to determine if their well is already registered. If it is not, they can complete a well registration form and email it to [email protected]. Get the form here.

    • Government Relations

    What Will the NDP-Green Alliance Mean for Real Estate?

    Published May 31, 2017

    2016-04_26GLDaysParliamentBuildings27Three weeks after the provincial election, we now know that the BC NDP and Green parties intend to work together in a minority government. On May 30, the parties released their joint agreement, outlining the foundations of their alliance and the key policy issues they intend to work on.

    What does this new political landscape mean for real estate in BC?

    Before we get to a new government, Premier Clark will call the legislature together for a confidence vote (in which all MLAs will vote on whether they support the Liberal government continuing), probably before the end of June, and she fully expects to lose this vote. At that point, the Lieutenant Governor will be able to ask the NDP and Green parties to form government. It’s not yet known when that new government would call the next legislative session or deliver their proposed budget. 

    The joint agreement signed by the NDP and Green parties reiterates an election promise both made to take action on real estate speculation and fraud. BCREA continues to advocate for a fair and balanced approach to regulating real estate practice, highlighting the work REALTORS® and real estate boards have already done on this file. 

    The joint agreement also emphasizes increasing the supply of affordable housing. BCREA has made several recommendations on key ways to increase supply, including gently densifying urban areas and ensuring local governments levy appropriate fees for developers (more information: www.bchousingaffordability.ca).

    Although not mentioned in the joint agreement, BCREA expects that the implementation of recommendations made by the Independent Advisory Group in 2016 will continue, even if the government changes. BCREA continues to work with the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate and the Real Estate Council of BC to ensure changes are made in ways that avoid unintended negative consequences for real estate professionals and consumers.

    BCREA will continue to monitor this changing political environment, seek opportunities to advocate with the incoming MLAs and update real estate boards and stakeholders on any developments. For more information on BCREA’s approach to government relations and advocacy, click here

    • Government Relations

    Floodplain maps will help us rebuild better

    Published May 24, 2017

    iStock_000000874059MediumOver the past few weeks, major floods have devastated parts of British Columbia, Quebec and other areas of the country. In response, Prime Minister Trudeau said communities need to “rebuild better” to be more prepared for future floods. To rebuild better, we need to know where to build.

    Floodplain maps are an important tool to plan better communities. These maps provide a detailed picture of where and how flooding is expected to occur in a community, and allow governments, planners and developers to understand local flood risk and plan accordingly.

    In BC, most floodplain maps are at least 20 years old, placing them out of date with the current geography and built environment. Moreover, these maps often don’t consider how climate change might affect future flooding.

    Without accurate floodplain maps, governments and communities don’t know which areas are vulnerable in a flood. Developers may build in risky areas. Homeowners and renters may not know they live in a vulnerable place, and might not know about measures they could take to reduce their own risk.

    While emergency response after a flood is crucial, the best—and most cost-effective—way to respond to these recent floods is to prepare better for the next ones. Floods will continue to happen. By ensuring communities have up-to-date floodplain maps, we can proactively manage our flood risk for the future. 

    Since 2014, BCREA has joined many other stakeholders to recommend that the provincial government take the lead, working with local and federal governments, to ensure floodplain maps are updated and remain current.

    In recent years, the province has taken some steps, including funding a recent project by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC to develop professional practice guidelines for floodplain mapping. BCREA hopes these guidelines can help communities better plan for the future, and also hopes the incoming provincial government will take a robust approach to proactive flood management.

    For more resources on flood protection, click here.

    • Government Relations

    Historic Investment in Affordable Rental Housing

    Published Nov 29, 2016

    On September 19, the BC Government announced that it would create 2,900 affordable rental units across BC. The money for this initiative—a whopping $500 million—is available through the new Housing Priority Initiatives program, which is largely funded by the foreign buyers’ tax.

    The September announcement followed a commitment in the February provincial budget to invest $355 million in affordable rental housing over a five-year period. Together, the two programs are expected to yield 4,900 units of housing, which will include a mix of options, including new construction, to meet the needs of a wide variety of people all over BC.

    In late November, 68 projects were announced, and a complete list is available on BC Housing’s website. Details are gradually coming available through government news releases, as well (visit https://news.gov.bc.ca and search for “rental housing”).

    BCREA’s pleased with the initiative, appreciating a supply-side approach to this housing challenge. Although the Association doesn't agree with all of the government's actions during the last few months regarding the real estate sector, these rental units will have a meaningful impact for many citizens. In a September letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, BCREA urged the government to take quick action and offered the assistance of REALTORS® to provide insight as the program is implemented.

    • Government Relations

    Historic Affordable Housing Investment

    Published Oct 24, 2016

    On September 19, the provincial government announced that $500 million would be invested in affordable rental housing in BC, which would create 2,900 affordable rental units across BC.

    The money for this initiative is available through the new Housing Priority Initiatives program, which is largely funded by the windfall of revenue from the 15 per cent Property Transfer Tax levied on foreign homebuyers in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

    The units will include a mix of options, including new construction, to meet the needs of a wide variety of people all over BC. The provincial government has committed to identifying and approving all of the projects by March 2017, with new construction being complete within 36 months.

    BCREA is pleased with this initiative. Although the Association doesn't agree with all of the government's actions during the last few months regarding the real estate sector, these rental units will have a meaningful impact for many citizens. In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, BCREA urged the government to take quick action and offered the assistance of REALTORS® to provide insight as the program is implemented.

    Learn more:

    • Government Relations

    New Superintendent of Real Estate and Council Members

    Published Oct 19, 2016
    2016-10_article-1The BC Government has appointed Micheal Noseworthy as the new Superintendent of Real Estate, beginning October 19, 2016.

    Mr. Noseworthy brings experience as a regulator and public sector leader to his new role, having recently served as a senior government regulator in the Yukon, and as Superintendent of Real Estate, Superintendent of Insurance, Registrar of Lotteries and Registrar of Medical Practitioners.

    On October 12, the government also announced the appointment of nine Real Estate Council of British Columbia members, including Chair Robert D. Holmes. BCREA is thrilled that the Council includes two licensees, Sukh Sidhu and Gerry Martin, who are thoroughly familiar with the practice of real estate in BC.

    In additiona, the province announced that amendments to the Real Estate Services Act (RESA), which took effect on September 30, include increasing the Superintendent's regulatory role to administer the Real Estate Council of BC's former rule-making authority and increasing the maximum penalties for real estate licensee misconduct.

    On October 7, BCREA representatives met with the Office of the Superintendent, the Real Estate Council and the Financial and Corporate Sector Policy Branch (Ministry of Finance) to present organized real estate's submission in response to these amendments and the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) recommendations.

    BCREA congratulates Micheal Noseworthy on his new role as Superintendent of Real Estate as well as the new Real Estate Council members, and looks forward to working collaboratively with both offices in the months and years to come.

    More information:

    • Government Relations

    New Video: BCREA's Response to IAG Recommendations

    Published Sep 20, 2016

    Following the release of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's Independent Advisory Group (IAG) Report on Conduct and Practices in the Real Estate Industry in BC on June 28, there was a flurry of attention throughout the province on what the next steps might be. In review of the report's 28 recommended changes to real estate practice in BC, BCREA went to work on how to respond.

    Watch the latest video update from BCREA President Deanna Horn on the Association's recent activities, such as meetings with brokers, in response to the IAG recommendations, a summary of the main concerns that BCREA has heard from members and the next steps to working with the government and the Council on implementation.

    For more information and resources related to real estate practice, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/about/repractice.

    • Government Relations

    Public Trust: Changes Coming to Real Estate Practice

    Published Aug 10, 2016

    The first step to implementing the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) happened on July 28, with the approval of changes to the Real Estate Services Act (RESA).

    The IAG recommended several government actions to improve the protection of real estate consumers, and the RESA amendments demonstrate the government's eagerness. The legislative changes cover a range of issues, including shifting rule-making authority to the Superintendent (instead of the Real Estate Council of BC), making all Council members appointees (instead of being elected) and increasing fines.

    Regulations are required to bring these changes into force, and BCREA doesn't know the timeline for implementation. To be clear, the Real Estate Council will continue to exist when these changes take effect. In fact, maintaining a separation between the Council and the Superintendent will be important, because of the Superintendent's authority to appeal Council's decisions.

    That leaves several of the IAG recommendations still in limbo, because a new, dedicated Superintendent of Real Estate has to be appointed.

    In the meantime, BCREA is working with all real estate boards on three key projects:

    • preparing a submission to the Superintendent, Real Estate Council of BC and Minister of Finance; the document will address all 28 recommendations, with focus on the ban on limited dual agency, increased workload for managing brokers and the introduction of a regulatory code of ethics,
    • consulting with brokers, and
    • developing a communications plan to reach out to REALTORS® and the public.

    Click here for a collection of resources on real estate practice issues.

    • Government Relations

    Property Transfer Tax for Foreign Nationals

    Published Aug 08, 2016

    With no warning, on July 25, BC Premier Christy Clark announced an additional 15 per cent Property Transfer Tax (PTT) for foreign nationals. Effective August 2, the tax applies to residential real estate in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (with the exception of properties located on Tsawwassen First Nation lands).

    In an effort to ensure market stability, consumer confidence and fairness, BCREA, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) urged BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong to at least include a provision that would allow transactions that were already underway to be exempt from the new tax. The Minister was not at all sympathetic to that request.

    REBGV and FVREB have both published news releases, and also encouraged their members to express their concerns to their MLAs.

    BCREA has written to Minister de Jong to register the Association's frustration with the way the additional PTT was implemented, and requesting that future changes (some of which can be made by regulation) include exemptions for transactions that are already underway.

    More information about the new tax is available in the government's Tax Information Sheet.

    Despite the way the additional PTT was introduced, the good news story is that all of its proceeds will be used for a Housing Priority Initiatives Fund. The fund will be created later this year, and will be used for provincial housing and rental programs. The government will make an initiative investment of $75 million, and then the fund will be topped up with proceeds from the new, additional 15 per cent PTT on foreign nationals.

    BCREA's mobile tax calculator has also now been updated to accommodate the new, additional 15 per cent PTT. Click here to view the updated calculator.
    • Government Relations

    BCREA's Tax Calculators: Now Mobile!

    Published May 24, 2016

    Did you know that BCREA has an online tool to help you and your clients determine the taxes payable on the purchase of property in BC? Three calculators are available for your use, and they're now also accessible on your mobile device.

    When a property is purchased, the potential amount of tax to be paid can vary greatly. These calculators indicate how much Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Property Transfer Tax (PTT) should be charged, less any PTT exemptions (for first-time homebuyers and/or newly-built homes), as well as any eligible federal rebates, and estimate the total costs.

    There are three calculators. Simply start with a purchase price that either:

    • includes sales taxes, net of available rebates,
    • includes full sales taxes, or
    • does not include sales taxes.

    To view these calculators, click here. To view the new mobile version, which combines all three of BCREA's calculators into one, click here. You can also save the page as a bookmark which enables the calculator to be used offline.

    Were you also aware that changes were recently made to the PTT? With the 2016 BC Budget, the following changes were made:

    • Newly-constructed homes used as principal residences, up to $750,000, are exempt from the PTT. A partial exemption is available for new homes up to $800,000. This is for all buyers, not just first-time buyers. For more information, click here.
    • The PTT rate was increased to 3% on the portion of a property's fair market value above $2 million. Rates of 1% on the first $200,000 of a property's fair market value and 2% on the fair market value between $200,000 and $2 million will continue to apply. For more information, click here.
    Although these changes are a step in the right direction, the PTT still negatively impacts housing affordability in BC and BCREA therefore has recommendations to the provincial government on potential improvements. To view BCREA's recommendations, click here.
    • Government Relations

    New Contract Changes Related to Assignments to Benefit Consumers

    Published May 17, 2016

    In the wake of a recent flurry of media coverage related to assignments, positive changes have been made so that real estate consumers now have a tool to help them decide whether they want their contracts to be assignable.

    As of May 16, 2016, the BC government requires that contracts prepared by real estate licensees include clauses stating that the contract cannot be assigned without the written consent of the seller, and that any profit from an assignment goes to the initial seller. Clients can instruct licensees to omit or change the clauses.

    To help consumers and REALTORS® with the transition, BCREA has added the following paragraph to the residential and commercial Contracts of Purchase and Sale:

    The Seller and the Buyer agree that this Contract: (a) must not be assigned without the written consent of the Seller; and (b) the Seller is entitled to any profit resulting from an assignment of the Contract by the Buyer or any subsequent assignee.

    "Assignment" is the practice of someone assigning their rights in a contract to someone else before the transaction completes. In simple terms, someone can buy the right to step into the original buyer's shoes to complete the contract. Assigning one's right to a contract is a legitimate practice, allowed by common law and also by section 36 of the Law and Equity Act.

    For more information, visit the following:

    • Government Relations

    Water Sustainability Act: Groundwater Protection

    Published Apr 20, 2016

    On February 29, groundwater licensing began as the first phase of implementation of the new Water Sustainability Act (WSA) in BC. For an overview of the WSA, click here.

    Licensing applies to large, commercial groundwater users. A three-year transition period is in place, and application forms are available online at www.frontcounterbc.gov.bc.ca. Those applying for licences before March 1, 2017 won't have to pay the application fee.

    Domestic well owners are exempt from licensing, though they are encouraged to register their wells through FrontCounterBC. Doing so will help ensure that future regulations are based on data, and could help protect users' future rights.

    The new Groundwater Protection Regulation applies to all groundwater users, whether commercial or domestic. The regulation includes more requirements regarding well construction and maintenance. With about 2,000 wells drilled in BC per year, the impact could be widespread. For further information, see the Groundwater Protection Regulation brochure.

    In addition to groundwater protection, the WSA also introduces a new Dam Safety Regulation. The regulation defines a dam and the types that are regulated in BC. About 1,500 dams are regulated, and factors include height, capacity and consequence classification. Owners of regulated dams must have water licenses and maintain their dams. For further details, see the Dam Safety Regulation information sheet.

    • Government Relations

    Old Floodplain Maps Put British Columbians at Risk

    Published Dec 03, 2015

    This isn’t news to BCREA, or to many stakeholders around the province. Unfortunately, this risk is very real for much of BC, as demonstrated by the most recent report from BCREA.

    Only 21 per cent of BC communities and First Nations have access to a floodplain map that’s ten years old or less, according to the BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report, published in October by BCREA. Nearly 31 per cent reported they have no access to floodplain maps at all.

    Floodplain maps support decision making by showing risks to existing and proposed developments and infrastructure, and help support resilient growth and emergency planning. To be effective, though, the maps must be updated regularly to reflect changes in land development, the environment and climate.

    The BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report identifies the BC floodplain maps created or updated in the last ten years. It also describes the public availability of maps, availability of supporting data, and challenges and opportunities communities have experienced with floodplain mapping projects.

    The report results suggest that better information about floodplain maps, guidelines for their development, data standardization, and stronger funding mechanisms will all improve the state of floodplain mapping in BC. Better floodplain maps will make communities, First Nations and the entire province more resilient.

    The BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report is the most recent completed project coming out of BCREA’s Floodplain Maps Action Plan, which was developed in 2013. For other resources created as part of that initiative, including the following, follow this link www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/flood-protection.

    • Government Relations

    Input Wanted: Examples of Wetlands Conservation

    Published Jun 03, 2015

    The Okanagan Basin Water Board is looking for innovative examples of long-term protection of wetlands or other conservation values on private land in the Agricultural Land Reserve that have occurred in the last five to ten years.                                 

    Examples can include: rights of way, easements, covenants, subdivision, parks, or any other approaches used. Further, they can involve local governments, land trusts, or other parties in addition to the private land owner.

    If you have examples or would like to discuss this further, please contact Jillian Tamblyn at [email protected].

    The Okanagan Basin Water Board was instituted in 1970 as a collaboration of the three Okanagan regional districts to provide leadership on water issues spanning the valley. Advised by an innovative cross-disciplinary council, the organization delivers programs and activities to promote coordinated water management throughout the basin. For more information, visit the OBWB website

    • Government Relations

    National Disaster Mitigation Program Begins

    Published Apr 23, 2015

    In January, Public Safety Canada announced that the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) would begin in April 2015. At last, on April 17, more information was released in a call for proposals from provincial and territorial governments.

    The NDMP will provide $200 million over five years to build safer and more resilient communities. The main objectives are:

    • focusing investments on significant, recurring flood risk and costs, and
    • advancing work to facilitate private residential insurance for overland flooding.

    To that end, the program has $183 million dedicated for cost-shared projects with the provinces and territories in the following four funding streams:

    • Risk assessments,
    • Flood mapping,
    • Mitigation planning, and
    • Investments in non-structural and small scale structural mitigation projects

    In addition, the NDMP includes $17 million for:

    • Risk, resilience and return on investment tools to provide provinces, territories and communities with the needed information and capacity to plan and evaluate their flood mitigation projects,
    • A risk and resilience repository that will collect, store, manage and share NDMP information to inform future policy and program direction for all levels of government, and
    • Public awareness and engagement activities.

    How will this play out in BC? The BC government continues to work with the federal government and stakeholders to further define and understand the parameters of the NDMP. To make the most of these funds, a very strategic approach will be taken, with keen interest in risk assessments and flood mapping (those messages have been heard!), but not precluding other activities. Once the BC government’s plans are firmed up, an announcement will be made.  

    BCREA appreciates the NDMP’s focus on technical studies and mitigation, which aligns well with the Association’s position that existing floodplain maps need to be updated to better protection communities and citizens.

    More information about the NDMP is available at www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/mrgnc-mngmnt/dsstr-prvntn-mtgtn/ndmp/index-eng.aspx.

    Other floodplain mapping news:

    • On April 30 and May 1, BCREA will continue to get the word out about the importance of floodplain maps with a tradeshow booth at the Southern Interior Local Government Association convention in Kamloops.
    • Until May 11, BCREA is isurveying BC local governments and First Nations about their awareness of, interest in and actions around floodplain mapping. The results will be available this summer.
    • Check out events and other resources at www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/flood-protection/flood-protection-resources.
    • Government Relations

    Disaster Mitigation Funding on the Way

    Published Jan 19, 2015

    The federal government and the insurance industry have seen costs related to flooding and severe weather increase significantly in recent years. Making good on a promise in the 2014 federal budget, the Government of Canada has announced that the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) will begin on April 1, 2015.

    It will reduce flood-related costs for all levels of government and contribute to establishing conditions for the introduction of a residential flood insurance market in Canada. The program will see $200 million distributed over five years, for cost-sharing for projects focused primarily on flood mitigation.

    This is certainly good news for communities and residents across the country. The NDMP’s proactive approach is welcomed by BCREA, as a far more cost-effective way to manage disaster risk.

    BCREA’s also pleased that technical studies, such as flood maps, may be eligible for funding under this program. Past cost-sharing arrangements have favoured only infrastructure projects, even though technical studies help determine what and whether infrastructure is necessary.

    On the other hand, $200 million over five years isn’t a major investment. It’s in addition to the New Building Canada Fund, which makes $14 billion available for significant infrastructure projects. But even that commitment may not meet the needs of communities across the country, where aging infrastructure is a major challenge.

    Another piece of good news is that the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements will continue to cover up to 90 per cent of eligible expenses for disaster recovery. The funding formula will be updated effective February 1, and the threshold will be adjusted to half the rate of inflation over the past 44 years. The details of the new formula will likely be important.

    BCREA looks forward to more information about the National Disaster Mitigation Program, including the allocation of funds to provinces and territories and how the funds can be accessed.

    For several years, BCREA has advocated for updated floodplain maps in BC to help ensure communities make informed decisions about growth and emergency response. For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/flood-protection.

    Public Safety Canada news release: The Government of Canada Announces Disaster Mitigation Investments and Modernizes Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (Jan. 16, 2015): www.news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=922139.