Housing Division

Housing Strategy

The  2021 Housing Strategy [PDF - 13 MB] is a comprehensive plan that provides clear direction to improve housing opportunities and address the urgent need for housing affordability, diversity, and supply.

The Housing Division reports annually on progress related to Housing Strategy actions and goals, as well as broad trends in the housing market. 

Learn more about the Housing Strategy and priority actions.

Provincial Housing Targets

The Province has provided the District of Saanich with mandated housing targets, including tripling the volume of permits over the next five years to 4,610 units. This is the total minimum number of net new completed housing units required to comply with this Provincial Housing Target Order.

The District is committed to improving housing supply and affordability in our community through achieving the mandated targets laid out by the Province.

These targets will see Saanich improve upon the positive actions already underway in our 10-year Housing Strategy, which include:

  • Planning for infill housing through the Neighbourhood Homes Study and intensification on major corridors through the Quadra Mackenzie Study
  • Updates to the development process, with the goal of making it more efficient and faster.
  • Exploring affordable housing opportunities on municipally-owned lands

Learn more about the Housing Target Order [PDF - 787 KB] in relation to Saanich.

Figure 1: Provincial housing targets for Saanich until 2028


Figure 2: Housing development process in Saanich


Figure 3: Provincial housing guidelines for Saanich

Priority Actions Underway

Neighbourhood Homes

Through Neighbourhood Homes, Saanich is implementing policy and regulatory changes that will make it easier to build infill housing in Saanich neighbourhoods. This includes zoning changes that would permit the construction of infill housing forms including duplexes, townhouses, and houseplexes.

In November 2023, the Province introduced legislation requiring local governments to allow 3, 4 or 6 units per lot in all single-detached zones, depending on lot size and location. This will be done through changes to the zoning bylaw. The District of Saanich has until June 30th, 2024 to complete the changes to the zoning bylaw.

For more information, visit the Neighbourhood Homes webpage.

Housing Needs Report 2023

An updated Housing Needs Report is currently in progress and scheduled to be presented to Saanich Council before the end of 2023. The report will incorporate data from the 2021 Census of Population, as well as the housing targets set in the Provincial Housing Target Order.

Rapid Deployment of Non-Market Housing

On September 25, 2023, Council directed staff to prepare proposed regulatory and policy changes to permit non-market housing providers to build to the upper limit in Saanich's Official Community Plan (within the Urban Containment Boundary) without having to apply for a rezoning. Staff were also directed to draft bylaw changes to delegate Development Permit approval for non-market housing projects to staff. These efforts are intended to support non-market housing providers by simplifying and expediting the process of obtaining development approvals. Read the staff report here.

Recently Completed Actions

Permissive Tax Exemptions for Affordable Rental Housing

In June 2023 Council endorsed the Permissive Tax Exemption Policy for Supportive and Affordable Rental Housing. The purpose of the policy is to incent the development of new non-market housing supply, and to support the viability of existing non-market housing. In 2024, seventeen affordable rental housing properties will receive tax exemptions under the new policy, supporting the provision of critical housing in our community. Inquiries can be directed to PermissiveExemptions@saanich.ca.

Small Apartment Infill Zone and Policy

Council endorsed a new RA-1A Small Apartment Zone and Small Apartment Infill Policy on May 1, 2023. The Council report provides information on how the new zone is intended to be used and in what locations. Those with specific development inquiries should contact the Planning Department at planning@saanich.ca or 250-475-5471.

Definition of Affordability

On May 15, 2023 Council endorsed a new Definition of Affordability [PDF - 232 KB] for the District of Saanich. The definition is customized to the Saanich context, but also aligns with regional and provincial guidelines that address affordable housing. It will be updated annually and used in several housing policy contexts, including the Community Amenity Contribution and Inclusionary Housing Policy. Developing a “definition of affordability” is a Phase 1 priority action in the Saanich Housing Strategy (Action 4.4 C).

Tenant Assistance Policy

On May 1, 2023, Saanich Council adopted a new Tenant Assistance Policy. The policy comes into effect on June 12, 2023, and requires that rezoning applicants provide support to tenants who are being evicted as a result of redevelopment or major renovation. More information for can be found here

Housing Needs Report 2020

The Saanich Housing Needs Report (2020) is an important foundational research document to the Housing Strategy. The report provides baseline information on existing housing stock and community demographic data, and projects the number and size of housing units to meet existing demand and future growth over the next five years. A healthy housing supply meets the needs of Saanich residents across all parts of the housing spectrum.