Plan & Build 

Bill 44 & Housing

The Province of British Columbia enacted Bill 44, “Housing Statutes (Residential Development)” Amendment Act in 2023.  The purpose of Bill 44 is to take action to deliver the kinds of homes people in B.C. are looking for (“homes for people”).  Bill 44 requires action by local governments to amend their zoning bylaws by June 30, 2024.  The RDKB is making targeted changes to its zoning bylaws to comply with this legislation.  The RDKB will be reviewing its policies, to align its Official Community Plans with Bill 44 (which must be done by December 2025). 


  • The Province passed legislation in the Fall of 2023 to allow for more small-scale multi-unit housing throughout B.C.
  • Not all of the Provincial mandates apply to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)
  • The RDKB is updating its zoning bylaws to comply with the legislation by June 2024.
  • The zoning updates will allow secondary suites in some zones that don’t currently allow for them.
  • Not all zones within the RDKB will allow for secondary suites.
  • The RDKB will be reviewing its Official Community Plans over the next year to update its policies on secondary suites/additional dwellings.

Questions & Answers

Bill 44 is one of several pieces of Provincial legislation put forward in Fall 2023 to enable more “homes for people”. 

Bill 44 requires local governments to update their zoning regulations to permit small-scale multi-unit housing (SSMUH) by June 30, 2024, among other things.

Small-scale multi-unit housing is typically ground-oriented like single family home but with more units.  SSMUH is not a big condo tower or large apartment complex. 

Examples include secondary suites in single family homes, detached accessory dwelling units (garden suites, laneway homes), duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes.


All local governments must allow at least one additional housing unit (like a secondary suite) in zones where the residential use was restricted to only one detached single-family dwelling.

But the mandate for more density, like 3-4 units on a single-family lot, only applies to Regional Districts if there are parcels that are within an urban containment boundary established by a regional growth strategy. 

The RDKB does not have a regional growth strategy.  (A regional growth strategy is a long-range planning document made by regional districts and neighbouring municipalities to coordinate regional issues).

Generally speaking, the 3-4 unit mandate is targeted for municipalities with a population more than 5,000 people.

The RDKB must update its zoning bylaws to ensure at least one additional housing unit is allowed in the zones where only one detached single-family dwelling is currently allowed.

These updates need to be made by June 30, 2024.

The RDKB will also need to update its Official Community Plans (OCPs) to align with these changes but OCPs do not need to be updated until December 2025.


If you are currently allowed a secondary suite, the same regulations will apply.

The proposed updates do not make any changes to existing permissions; they are only adding permissions. 

When the Official Community Plan (OCP) for your area gets reviewed, there may be changes made, and you will be asked to participate to determine what these changes look like.

No.  There will still be some zones that do not allow secondary suites.

Selected zones in:

  • Electoral Area A (Rural Fruitvale/Montrose/Trail Area)
  • Electoral Area B (Lower Columbia-Old Glory)
  • Electoral Area C (Christina Lake)
  • Electoral Area D (Rural Grand Forks)
  • Electoral Area E- (Mt. Baldy, Jewel Lake and Bridesville Townsite only). 

There are no changes at Big White, and there are no changes to areas without zoning. 

The proposed changes are very limited to include only those necessary to comply with the Provincial mandate.

As such, there are zones that were not restricted to only one detached single-family dwelling currently.  These zones were not included because they already allowed for other residential uses like duplexes, tri-plexes or multi-family buildings (like all of the residential zones at Big White).

In zones that only allow a single detached dwelling, we are adding “secondary suite” as a permitted use.  We are allowing one principle dwelling and one secondary suite per parcel (this is an increase from one principal dwelling only).

Applying just to the zones where these new permissions are being added, a secondary suite can only be in an accessory building (a “detached” suite) if on a property 1 hectare (2.47acres) or greater, and if the zoning bylaw allows for “detached suites” (Electoral Area A, B, C, and Mt. Baldy). 

Area D, Jewel Lake and Bridesville Townsite do not allow for “detached suites” by definition so all secondary suites must be within the single-family dwelling (“attached”).

Bill 44 requires local governments to “consider” the Province’s guidelines.  One of these guidelines recommends suites on parcels less than 1ha be attached, to protect against groundwater contamination, if properties are not serviced by a sewer system operated by a local government.

The areas where secondary suites are being added to the bylaw are not serviced by a sewer system.

As some of these updates must be done, and because the Province is not allowing a public hearing to make these updates, only the bare minimum is being proposed.  Essentially, just the changes that aren’t up for debate.

This is meant to separate the “must do” from what “we want to do”.  For the “what we want to do”, we want the public to be able to participate in the process.  Each Official Community Plan will be reviewed for its secondary suites/additional dwellings policies. 

There is an amendment bylaw going to the RDKB Board of Directors in June to comply with the legislation.

After that, the RDKB will begin its review of the OCPs for secondary suites/additional dwellings policies.  You can expect further information in Fall 2024.


Terms and abbreviations

  • Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)
  • Small-scale multi-unit housing (SSMUH)


Planning and Development Department
202-843 Rossland Ave
Trail, BC V1R 4S8
250.368.9148    1.800.355.7352