Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (Bill 44)

Council considered the proposed Zoning Bylaw No. 4662, 2010, Amendment Bylaw No. 5327, 2024 regarding Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing to comply with Provincial Bill 44 (2023) on Monday, May 27, 2024. The motion to give the amending bylaw first reading was defeated by a majority vote of Council.

The Province amended the Local Government Act through Bill 44 in Fall 2023, requiring local governments to update their regulations to permit small-scale multi-unit housing (SSMUH). To comply, relevant bylaws must be updated and adopted by Council by the deadline of June 30, 2024.

What is SSMUH?

Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) refers to a range of housing options that are ground-oriented and provide diverse options that can be compatible in scale and form within established neighbourhoods.

Examples of small-scale, multi-unit housing include:

  • Secondary suites in single-family dwellings
  • Detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), like coach houses or laneway homes
  • Triplexes 
  • Rowhomes
  • Multiplexes

Where does SSMUH apply?

The SSMUH requirements (per Section 481.3 of the Local Government Act) apply only to residential parcels that are located within provincially-defined “Restricted Zones”.

Restricted Zones are parcels that are currently zoned to allow single-family and/or duplex dwellings, with or without one additional housing unit (e.g., attached secondary suite or detached secondary suite) per principal dwelling. This definition does not encompass parcels that permit a single-family dwelling, an attached secondary suite (basement suite) and a detached secondary suite (coach house). As most single family sites across the District already permit a combination of these three dwelling types per parcel, these sites are not subject to the SSMUH regulations. 

A comprehensive review concluded that a total of 222 parcels in the zones below are in a “Restricted Zone”, as defined by the Province, and require amendments to their permitted use and densities to comply with SSMUH requirements: CU3, CU5, CD4, CD48, CD77, CD80, CD81, CD92, RD1 (only those greater than 555 m2 and within 400 m from a prescribed bus stop on the Frequent Transit Network), RD3 and RM1.

Properties in zones outside of the above list are not impacted by the Province’s SSMUH requirements and no amendment is required for these zones. Examples of properties that are not impacted by SSMUH requirements include those zoned RS1-5, or RS7-10. 

Please visit the Council Report to learn more.

Note: The RS6 zone (Abode & Eagle Island) is considered a “Restricted Zone” as defined in the Local Government Act. However, the District has submitted an exemption request to the Province for these parcels, as its island nature raises specific concerns regarding safety, emergency response, marine access, engineering services, and environmental impacts for the prescribed increase in permitted units.

How many units are permitted?

If a parcel is within the “Restricted Zone” and is not exempted by the legislation, the legislation requires the following minimum dwelling unit densities, based on parcel size and proximity to prescribed bus stops (i.e., frequent transit bus stops): 

  • Parcel area < 280 m2 = 3 units
  • Parcel area ≥ 280 m2 & > 400 m from prescribed bus stop = 4 units
  • Parcel area ≥ 281 m2 & ≤ 400 m from prescribed bus stop = 6 units and no parking requirements for the 6 units

Staff reviewed the Zoning Bylaw, parcel sizes, and locations to assess SSMUH applicability. Visit the April 29, 2024 Council Report to learn more about which parcels are impacted by the legislation and their prescribed requirements for housing units. The Zoning Bylaw amendments recommended in this staff report were defeated by Council at its May 27, 2024 meeting.


For any questions regarding SSMUH, please contact the Planning Department via email: [email protected]

To learn more about the Province of BC’s housing initiatives, please visit the following websites: