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Vancouver residents and businesses can now obtain permits faster and easier

Vancouver residents and businesses can now obtain permits faster and easier
Vancouver residents and businesses can now obtain permits faster and easier

THE The City of Vancouver reported Tuesday that innovative digital solutions and streamlined regulations have significantly reduced permitting times in Vancouver, particularly for renovations and new low-density housing, significantly accelerating progress toward the 3-3-3-1 permit processing time.

“We are excited to see the real impact our efforts are having on Vancouver’s permitting process,” said Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim. “These changes demonstrate our commitment to making things easier for our residents and businesses. By cutting red tape and speeding up approvals, we are creating an environment where everyone in Vancouver can grow and thrive.”

In a report presented to Council, city staff provided an update on progress made to improve permitting timelines. This includes (based on medians):

  • Home renovations: 50 percent faster median turnaround time, currently 23 days compared to 44 days in 2023.
  • 63 percent of all permits for home renovation are processed within 3 days through the accelerated permit procedure for home renovation.
  • New detached and semi-detached homes: 25 percent faster median processing time, currently 33 weeks compared to 43 weeks in 2023.
  • Laneway Homes: 60 percent faster, currently 13 weeks compared to 32 weeks in 2023.

The city said significant improvements have also been made to support businesses, including:

  • Issuing commercial renovation permits 45 percent faster. The median processing time is currently 32 days compared to 56 days in 2022.
  • Reduce waiting times for business permit applications that are assigned to staff for review by 50 percent. Despite the high volume of applications, the median wait time is three weeks compared to six weeks in 2023.
  • The number of business permit categories will be reduced by 83 percent, from more than 500 to fewer than 100, minimizing the need for companies to apply for multiple similar permits.

“Guided by our commitment to transparency, predictability, accuracy, consistency and timeliness, we are transforming the permitting process to better serve our community,” said Corrie Okell, General Manager of Development, Building and Licensing. “Our goal is to ensure that the permitting process is not a barrier, but a facilitator of development in Vancouver.”

These significant improvements are driven by the implementation of new, advanced technologies and consistent actions to modernize processes. Key actions include:

  • Introducing PRET (Project Requirements Exploration Tool) for laneway homes, an advanced online platform that allows applicants to explore and understand all the project requirements for their home before commencing their project.
  • Expanding the scope of the Fast Track Home Renovation stream to 63 percent of applications, allowing more projects to qualify for a permit more quickly.
  • Eliminating sprinkler permit requirements for simple repairs and replacements and providing a 24-hour fast track for 90 percent of sprinkler permits. Since this program began in January 2024, 730 sprinkler permits have been issued via the 24-hour fast track.