TORONTO — Municipal governments can help address the shortage of housing in Canada by simplifying their project permit process, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in a new report.
The report, titled Flushing out the Nonsense, was released as part of the CFIB’s annual Red Tape Awareness Week.
The report analyzed what type of permits and costs are required for a $20,000 project to convert a simple powder room into a full bathroom in 12 major cities across Canada.
Out of 12 municipalities examined, Vancouver had the highest permitting costs, and along with Toronto, had the highest document requirements. They are also the cities with the highest home prices and greatest shortages.
On average, seven additional documents are needed for a bathroom renovation project, with combined permitting costs ranging from $180 in Charlottetown to $2,029 in Vancouver.
“Canada’s housing shortage has come to the point where buying a home in Canada is getting out of reach for most Canadians,” said Duncan Robertson, senior policy analyst at CFIB and co-author of the report. “Making municipal permitting processes simpler and less costly is one important step in addressing Canada’s housing challenges.”
Over half of small business owners in the construction sector find it difficult to obtain or renew permits or licences.
A strong majority of businesses (80 per cent) also agree governments of all levels should make it a high priority to review the necessity of all business permits and licences.
To cut unnecessary red tape, CFIB recommends municipalities review their existing project permit process and approval processes; establish publicly available service standards for permit processing; and simplify and automate certain processes.
The CFIB says they should also ensure reporting requirements are set provincially where permit processing service standards are provincial too.
Through its Red Tape Challenge, the CFIB is challenging every government in Canada to undertake two red tape reduction initiatives to help address the shortage of housing.
“Addressing Canada’s housing challenge is a big job, but there’s one simple, low-cost solution all levels of governments could capitalize on, and that’s reducing red tape,” Robertson concluded.