Omnibus red tape bill will ease restrictions on home builders

By Catherine Griwkowsky November 17, 2020

Many of the proposed changes in Bill 48, Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, will affect the powers municipalities have to govern development in their communities.

For example, local governments will no longer be able to require developers to hand over additional land for municipal reserves or for schools (which they could previously do alongside any subdivision of 30 or more homes).

Any municipality with a population of more than 15,000 will cease having the authority to determine the timelines for subdivision developments; that authority will be handed to the Municipal Affairs Ministry.

Future permit appeals will be directed to a new Land and Property Rights Tribunal, rather than the Municipal Government Board.

That board and three others — the New Home Buyer Protection Board, Land Compensation Board and Surface Rights Board — will be amalgamated into the new tribunal, which will also handle exporiations.

The UCP said these changes will help fuel economic growth. “I feel the most compassionate thing we can do at this time is create jobs for Albertans,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard.

Condo builders will also no longer have to file a building assessment report, which identifies deficiencies and defects in the building for warranty purposes. Hunter told reporters that it is expected to save home builders and condo buyers $2.7 million per year.

Scott Fash, executive director of BILD Alberta Association, said the legislation will provide the land development and residential construction industries with “improved certainty” as they help drive the province’s recovery.

Other changes
Bill 48 makes a number of other changes, including the following:

  • A “Golden Girls” provision that would ban bylaws that block non-related adults from living together (a UCP campaign promise). There are currently no such bylaws in Alberta.

  • Adoptees will have access to more unredacted information about their biological families once they become adults.

  • The government will take its first steps toward its “Streamlining Professional Legislation Project” by changing what it takes to become a professional regulatory organization.

  • Universities will only be allowed to use cadavers donated for research. Currently, they can use unclaimed deceased bodies.

Red tape reduction report
The UCP also released its first annual report on its red tape reduction initiative, which details the approximately 52,000 items Grant Hunter’s Red Tape Reduction Ministry shed over one year.

He said this will save Albertans $460 million.

Ultimately, the ministry has a goal of a one-third reduction in red tape, which will be followed by a “one in, one out” regulation rule.

“Not all regulation is bad,” he said. “We want to make sure people are safe and that the environment is taken care of.”