The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) awarded the City of Surrey $95 million as a response to the action plan created to address the delivery of housing and support affordable housing projects in Surrey. 


The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) provides incentives to local governments by encouraging initiatives aimed at increasing the housing supply. The HAF will help improve the development approval process through an action plan designed to: 

  • Facilitate the delivery of housing in the short and long term; 
  • Enhance the certainty in the permit approval process;
  • Increase access to affordable housing;
  • Continue to support the development of complete communities that are sustainable and inclusive; and
  • Further position Surrey as a destination for investment.

Action plan

The action plan outlines our continued commitment to deliver excellent services and enhancements through technology, innovation and engagement with the community. The action plan was developed and includes several initiatives aimed at increasing the housing supply in the short and long term. 

This inter-departmental collaboration between Planning & Development, Engineering, Community Services, Corporate Services and Finance will implement the action plan over the next three years. The action plan will be implemented progressively and progress will be highlighted on this webpage. 

Creation of incentives programs

We're seeking to create two short-term project incentives to attract and stimulate strategic development. Details about the incentive programs and how to apply will be available in early 2024.

Planned deliverables 

Rapid Transit Development Incentives Program

The Rapid Transit Development Incentives Program would offer discounts on projects near rapid transit. This incentive would offer a fee rebate (e.g., rezoning, engineering site servicing, and building permits) for eligible projects.

Non-Market Rental Housing Development Incentives Program

The Non-Market Rental Housing Development Program would provide discounts to projects with a significant affordable housing component. 

  • Accelerate the issuance of building permits, anywhere in the City, for projects that have the ability to provide either a portion or the entirety of the development as affordable units, defined as below-market units, secured by a housing agreement.
  • Offer a permit fee rebate (e.g., rezoning fees, engineering site servicing, and building permits), Development Cost Charge (DCC) rebates, and Surety Bond for Servicing Agreements, for eligible projects.
Expand the Guaranteed Permitting Timelines Program

In July 2022, the City launched the Guaranteed Permitting Timelines Program with the introduction of guaranteed processing times for single-family building permits, tenant improvement building permits, and rezoning applications. 

Planned deliverables 

Through the HAF grant, we will increase the scope of the program across high-volume permit types with the:

  • Implementation of processing timelines in additional permitting areas, including townhouse building permits, low-rise building permits, high-rise building permits, and rezoning applications with plan amendments;
  • Establishment of incremental performance measures at key milestones in the approval process to provide additional insights into the approval process and seek to reduce the overall application processing times for applicants; and
  • Exploration of policies to promote project completion, lowering the amount of idle land in Surrey.
Increase the use of professional reliance

This initiative seeks to review and implement professional reliance in the development approval process.

Planned deliverables  

  • Delegate some decision-making authority to trusted qualified professionals.
  • Increase the speed of the permit issuance process.
  • Provide the City and development industry with further clarity to the legal framework around professional reliance. 
  • Enhancements to the existing professional reliance programs, including the Certified Professional Program. 
Leverage digital permitting

Digital permitting, supplemented with artificial intelligence (AI), can provide significant improvements to the permitting process, allowing for enhanced transparency, reduced errors, process automation, and reduced costs.

In 2020, the City began the shift toward digital permitting with the Citizen Portal which enables digital permitting for municipalities using AMANDA as their land management system. Several new and improved online permitting capabilities have been enabled, including electrical permit applications, plumbing permit applications, building permit inspection requests and cross connection control permit data management. 

Planned deliverables 

We will continue to leverage digital permitting capabilities for enhanced transparency and increased efficiency, including: 

  • Provide end-to-end online permitting capabilities for building, planning, and engineering permits;
  • Research and implement AI-powered digital compliance capabilities to support staff in evaluating submissions; and
  • Research and develop an AI-powered development inquiry tool to better support applicants in understanding development requirements and fostering increased development.
Increase the supply of multi-unit housing near transit

This initiative intends to update the City’s Zoning Bylaw and policies to readily accommodate high density residential uses within rapid transit corridors. 

Planned deliverables 

Zoning Bylaw updates

  • Create new multi-family zones (six-storey, mid-rise, mixed use zones);
  • Introduce rental zoning as an option within multi-family zones; and
  • Reduce parking requirements for rental near rapid transit.

Policy updates

  • NCP review and update of South Newton and King George Corridor; update old designations; 
  • Review land use designations in the Official Community Plan (OCP) to permit higher density along rapid transit without the need for undertaking a Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP) amendment;
  • Review use of pre-approved multi-family plans
Support the creation of missing middle housing

This initiative will be facilitated by implementing updates and amendments to policy framework. 

Planned deliverables 

  • Supports diversifying housing stock in existing infill neighbourhoods to support the 15-minute neighbourhood concept, as well as market responsive designations in new neighbourhood plan areas.  
  • Facilitated by implementing the necessary policy and regulatory framework to permit Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and other additional units “as of right” through Zoning Bylaw updates to existing zones as well as creation of new zones.
  • It will be further supported by amendments to the OCP and development of Design Guidelines for preapproved ADU plans.
Increase the supply of below market affordable housing

This initiative aims to remove barriers to the provision of below market housing units through analysis of financial considerations based on Surrey’s market context as well as implementation of policies, regulations, and processes toward increasing the supply of affordable housing. 

Planned deliverables

  • Partner with external agencies to expediate affordable rental housing and building permit issuance for pre-approved plans; 
  • Explore "as of right" zoning for below market affordable and supportive housing units that are OCP compliant; 
  • Review the Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) amounts for the Affordable Housing Fund; and
  • Review affordable housing policies 
Increase staffing capacity

The City seeks to provide short-term and inform long-term staffing opportunities to existing and new staff. 

Planned deliverables

  • Review and increase staffing capacity 
  • Introduce temporary project positions 
  • Seek to inform long-term staffing plans


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