Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability

Housing committee

The Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability aims to make Vancouver a more liveable, sustainable, and affordable city. Co-chaired by former provincial cabinet minister Olga Ilich and City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, the task force includes architects, designers, builders, non-profit associations, apartment owners, academics; and private, non-profit and public sector property developers. 

The housing continuum

The task force recognizes a continuum of housing options available to households of all income levels. It ranges from emergency shelter and housing options for the homeless, through to affordable rental housing and home ownership options:

Ending homelessness

  • Shelters
  • Single room occupancy (SRO) hotels
  • Supportive housing

Rental housing

  • Non-market rentals (social housing)
  • Purpose-built rentals
  • Secondary suites
  • Rented condo


  • Condos
  • Other ownership

In the continuum, the Housing and Homelessness Strategy addresses shelters, SROs, supportive housing, and social housing. Purpose-built rentals, secondary suites, rented condos, owner-occupied condos, and other ownership are addressed by The Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordabilty.

The task force will develop innovative recommendations from an evidence-base that will help Vancouver become a more sustainable, diverse, and affordable city. It will prioritize affordability for those households with low to moderate incomes (which currently range from $21,500 to $86,500 per year.)

Task force milestones

  Deliver interim report by March 12, 2012.

  Gather public input from late March through May 2012.

  Deliver interim report by June 25, 2012.

  Review public feedback through summer 2012.

  Deliver final report by September 30, 2012.

Work updates from the Task Force

Council approves the creation of a Housing Authority

July 8, 2014 – Council approved Vancouver's Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA).

Council appoints Chief Housing Officer

September 10, 2013 – The City has made good on another recommendation from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability by appointing a Chief Housing Officer, Mr. Mukhtar Latif, an international property consultant from the UK.

Academic Working Group reports released

March 15, 2013 – The task force's Academic Working Group released two reports on March 15, 2013: its summary report, and its foreign investment report.

Council receives final report and directs staff to implement action plan

October 4, 2012 – The task force presented their final report to Council on October 3 and 4, 2012. Task force recommendations provide a framework for progress, delivering a set of bold and pragmatic actions to confront out city's lack of affordability. Council directed staff to implement the Task Force's action plan with revisions to Actions 1, 2, 3 and 13.

Interim report released

June 25, 2012 – The task force released its interim report. Key priorities include:

  • Increase supply and diversity of affordable housing
  • Enhance the City's and the community's capacity to deliver affordable rent and social housing
  • Protect existing social and affordable rental housing, and explore opportunities to renew and expand the stock
  • Streamline and create more certainty and clarity in the regulation process, and improve public engagement

Draft for Discussion: Building Form and Design

April 11, 2012 – Michael Geller and the Building Form and Design Roundtable released their discussion draft, identifying the these priorities:

  • Create new transition zoning categories to accommodate townhousing, stacked townhousing, and higher density ground-oriented housing
  • Modify C-2 zoning
  • Create more housing choices in RS zones
  • Appoint an Affordability Ombudsman

Interim Progress Report released

March 12, 2012 – The task force released its initial recommendations, which include the following Quick Start Actions for the City:

  • Fast track applications
  • Use inclusionary zoning
  • Leverage City assets
  • Wield influence

Working Groups

Working groups are struck for 3 months, from the start of March 2012 to the end of May 2012. The groups will meet bi-weekly to examine issues in these four areas with the goal to expedite and expand affordable housing starts:

Finance Working Group

  • Ensuring long-term affordability, investigating the use of City assets (particularly land), innovative financing vehicles, delivery models, and ownership (tenure) arrangements for affordable housing 

Form Working Group

  • Design flexibility, optimizing asset value, and understanding the barriers to affordability in the current building code and City policies, and how they could be altered to improve affordability

Flows Working Group

  • The wide range of City processes required before approvals are given to construction of affordable housing, including rezoning, development permits, building permits, and procurement of partners

Partnerships Working Group

  • Effective taxation policies and incentives by senior governments, legislation needed to enable a variety of ownership (tenure) models, optimizing support for renters, optimal use of social housing and non-profit assets

Task force roundtables

Task force roundtables provide input and expertise to the working groups.

Building Form and Design Roundtable

  • Led by local developer and architect Michael Geller, this roundtable identifies design and building code requirements that are adding costs to the provision of quality affordable housing, as well as design changes that could increase the supply of affordable housing in Vancouver.

Academic Roundtable

  • Led by UBC School of Architecture Adjunct Professor Erick Villagomez, this roundtable of distinguished academics studies the conditions that make it difficult to build affordable housing in Vancouver, as well as international best practices for improving housing affordability. 

Task Force Co-chairs

  • Mayor Gregor Roberstson
  • Olga Ilich: former BC cabinet minister with extensive experience in the real estate sector

Task Force

  • Al Poettcker: UBC Properties Trust (Finance WG Chair)
  • Nathan Edelson: 42 Street Consulting (Flows WG Chair, Finance WG)
  • Marg Gordon: BC Apartment Owners and Managers Assoc (Partners WG Chair, Flows WG)
  • Alan Boniface: Dialog Consulting Architects (Form WG Chair)
  • Michael Lewis: Canadian Centre for Community Renewal (Finance WG)
  • Mark Guslits: Mark Guslits & Associates Inc (Finance WG, Form WG)
  • John D’Eathe: Real Estate Counsellor (Finance WG, Partners WG)
  • Colleen Hardwick (Nystedt): New City Ventures (Finance WG, Flows WG)
  • Eric Martin: Bosa Development Corp (Finance WG, Flows WG)
  • Howard Johnson: Baptist Housing (Flows WG, Partners WG)
  • Bradford Tone: Tone Management (Flows WG, Form WG)
  • Karen O’Shannacery: Lookout Society (Flows WG, Form WG)
  • Peter Simpson: Great Vancouver Home Builders Assoc (Flows WG, Partners WG, Form WG)
  • Kenneth Kwan: SUCCESS (Flows WG, Form WG)
  • Leonard George: Tsleil-Waututh Nation (Partners WG, Form WG)

City Staff

  • David McLellan: Deputy City Manager (Lead)
  • Jim De Hoop: Managing Director, Social Development
  • Abi Bond: Assistant Director, Housing Policy
  • Dennis Car: Assistant Director, Social Infrastructure


  • A facilitator and City of Vancouver staff are providing support to each working group.
  • City of Vancouver Communications and Engagement team will assist with the public engagement process

Bold Ideas: Towards an Affordable City

Bold Ideas

The Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability delivered a set of bold and pragmatic actions to confront Vancouver's lack of affordability.

Get the report

Contact the Task Force


Housing Vancouver strategy

Learn how our 10-year strategy provides a strong foundation for the future in Vancouver.

Big City, Big Challenge