Electric Autonomy‘s latest annual EV-ready multi-unit residential building bylaw report finds some Canadian cities are making progress in lowering barriers to at-home EV charging, but many still lag
Momentum is growing in municipalities across the country to change their bylaws to make EV charging mandatory in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), according to Electric Autonomy‘s annual EV-ready bylaw report.
Every year, Electric Autonomy tracks changes to municipal building codes in cities and provinces across Canada that promote EV charging in MURBs. This article outlines all the jurisdictions where there have been policy changes since we published our first EV-ready MURB bylaw report in last May.
B.C. has updated provincial legislation to increase EV-ready requirements in strata complexes. Multiple jurisdictions in Ontario have adopted new bylaws to support EV charging. And some major cities elsewhere in Canada, including Calgary and Montreal, may be following suit.
One of the biggest hurdles to widespread EV adoption is a lack of at-home chargers.
That difficulty increases for Canadians who own and live in condos, apartment buildings, strata or townhomes. These buildings are also known as multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs).
Currently there is no federal or provincial policy to mandate EV-ready building code regulations. So, the onus is on municipalities to make adding charging infrastructure in existing buildings easier and mandatory in new developments.
There are 22 cities in B.C. with local legislation in place to support EV infrastructure in MURBs. It is by far the highest in the country. And another city, Revelstoke, is looking at implementing an EV bylaw too.
Additionally, Nova Scotia has a bill in-waiting. And the governments of Yukon and the Northwest Territories are looking to bring EV charging to Canada’s northern MURBs.
Here is our latest breakdown of all the municipalities in Canada that have either changed rules to promote EV-ready requirements, or are in the process of debating how those changes would be implemented in their city.
Canada’s westernmost province still leads the way when it comes to EV charging in MURBs.
This year, the provincial government updated its legislation to increase EV infrastructure in strata complexes. Separately, the city of Kamloops created an EV-ready mandate for all new residential builds. Revelstoke, meanwhile, is looking at adding legislation in the future.
Provincial legislation change: In April, the provincial government announced an amendment to the Strata Property Act to make it easier to implement EV chargers in strata complexes across the province.
The act, which is the legal framework that all strata corporations in B.C. need to follow, now requires strata owners to have an electrical planning report for the installation of EV chargers. Amendments to the act also included lowering the minimum number of votes — from 75 to 50 per cent — needed to approve costs and changes to properties to install EV infrastructure.
Kamloops: The city of Kamloops adopted a revised zoning bylaw in September 2022 to mandate EV charging requirements in all new residential developments. As of Jan. 1, 2023, all new residential buildings in the city must have electrical infrastructure to support Level 2 EV charging for a minimum of one parking space per unit. Additionally, for buildings that are over three storeys in height, developers must complete an “EV-capable plan.” This is a strategy that outlines the electrical capacity of a building, prior to construction.
Revelstoke: The city of Revelstoke doesn’t have a bylaw in place for EV chargers in MURBs. But a 2021 community energy and emissions plan aims to adopt EV-ready building requirements — including in MURBs — by 2030. Electric Autonomy spoke with Revelstoke city officials who confirm that no further announcement on the plan is forthcoming.
Calgary: Calgary hasn’t implemented any formal EV-ready measures for MURBs. But the city has made progress towards mandating that buildings be equipped with EV chargers. In Calgary’s 2023-2026 climate implementation plan, the city recommends all new residential buildings to be EV-ready and commercial buildings to be 10 per cent EV-ready with a conduit system (wire used for EV charging) to be 90 per cent EV-ready by 2026.
Mariam Bello is an environmental specialist with the City of Calgary. She said in a statement to Electric Autonomy that the city is “actively exploring what changes to municipal policies and bylaws are required and planning to engage with affected parties” to meet EV-ready goals. Bello adds that Calgary is currently revisiting its Electric Vehicle and Low-Emissions Vehicle Strategy. It is a framework that addresses hurdles to EV adoption, to determine how it can increase EV usage in Calgary.
“Through this work, we may identify other future actions that could support access to EV charging for people living in MURBs or other residential buildings,” Bello said.
Saskatoon: In 2022, as part of Electric Autonomy first MURB roundup, Saskatoon’s manager of climate, strategy and data said the city was developing a ZEV adoption roadmap to implement policies and improve access to EV infrastructure through changes to building codes or zoning challenges.
The targeted completion date was March 2023.
One year later, a spokesperson from the city of Saskatoon says its EV roadmap is still in development. However, the spokesperson said more information about the roadmap is coming later this spring with public engagement occuring in June. The city hopes to have the roadmap completed by the end of 2023.
No municipality in Manitoba implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since our last roundup in May 2022.
Multiple cities in Ontario are adding, or looking at adding, EV infrastructure to MURBs since Electric Autonomy’s previous roundup.
Ajax: In April 2022 Ajax approved a sustainable building framework, the Green Development and Environmental Design Guidelines (GDEDG). It applies to new development and redevelopment. As part of the GDEDG, all mid- to high-density residential and non-residential buildings with over 20 parking spots must ensure half of their parking spaces have EV charging stations or are EV-ready. If a building has less than 20 parking spaces, 10 per cent of the total spots must be EV-ready.
Cambridge: On Apr. 11, 2023, the city of Cambridge voted to look at creating a new regulation that would require all new development, retail locations and city parking lots to have a designated number (or percentage) of EV charging stations.
Kitchener: Zoning bylaw 2019-051 was amended on Mar. 21, 2022 and not included in Electric Autonomy’s 2022 roundup. It requires a minimum of 20 per cent of parking spaces required for multiple dwellings need to be EV-ready. Additionally, for non-residential buildings and care facilities, 17.5 per cent of parking spaces must be EV-ready.
Waterloo: Zoning bylaw 2018-050 was amended on Sep. 21, 2020, and not mentioned in Electric Autonomy’s 2022 roundup. It requires all structured parking spaces for apartments, MURBs, mixed-use and non-residential buildings built after Jan. 1, 2021, to be EV-ready,
Whitby: In 2020, Whitby developed “Green Standard” guidelines to encourage sustainability in new developments that was also not mentioned in our roundup last year. While the guidelines are not mandatory building standards, as they exceed requirements under the Ontario Building Code and Provincial Planning Act, they suggest that residential and non-residential buildings that are four storeys or taller should make 20 per cent of their parking stalls EV-ready.
Sarnia: In last year’s roundup, Electric Autonomy wrote that the city of Sarnia asked staff to look into the possibility of mandating a minimum number of EV chargers built into new multi-unit developments.
One year later, the city has opted to not move ahead with the idea.
In June 2022, Sarnia staff reported that establishing requirements for EV chargers within MURBs would exceed the current regulations. Although staff encouraged the local private sector to build an EV charging network across the city, they wrote that establishing EV requirements for MURBs would “be more onerous on the development industry than the current Building Code, and may lead to additional costs.”
Regulations for EV charging in all new residential buildings may be coming to Quebec’s largest city, Montreal.
Under the Quebec Construction Code, all new developments with a garage, carport, or parking area built after Oct. 2018 must support a Level 2 charger. Although that requirement doesn’t cover MURBs, last August, as part of the city of Montreal’s Transportation Electrification Strategy, the city announced a goal to create regulation that requires owners of all new residential buildings to install electrical infrastructure to support EV charging stations.
Hugo Bourgoin, a media relations spokesperson with the city of Montreal, said in an emailed statement to Electric Autonomy that one of Montreal’s burroughs, Sud-Ouest, amended its bylaw to mandate EV charging requirements in “certain residential buildings with more than four dwellings.”
He adds that Montreal is increasing EV charging infrastructure throughout the whole city, but didn’t give a timeframe for when requirements may apply to MURBs.
No city in New Brunswick has implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since our last roundup in May 2022.
No city in Nova Scotia has implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since May 2022. However, in April 2022, the province held a first reading for the “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act.” It is a bill that would create a rebate for the purchase and installation of EV chargers and infrastructure for homes and businesses in the province.
As of April 2023, the bill hadn’t moved on to second reading. However, in March, the provincial government allocated funding to Efficiency Nova Scotia, an energy efficiency utility, to offer rebates for MURB owners looking to install EV chargers. Owners can apply for a rebate on EV-chargers and EV-ready plans in new and existing buildings.
Prince Edward Island
No city in Prince Edward Island has implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since our last report.
Newfoundland and Labrador
No city in Newfoundland and Labrador has implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since our last report.
The Yukon government does not have codes or regulations for installing EV chargers in MURBs. However, it does offer rebates up to 75 per cent for installation of Level 2 chargers in buildings, including MURBs.
Additionally, in 2022, the government announced a new project to fund installation of up to 200 EV charger stations in public places, MURBs and workplaces throughout the territory.
Shane Andre, Yukon’s director of energy, told Electric Autonomy Canada that participation was low during the 2022-23 fiscal year — the first year with the new funding. Just four Level 2 chargers are in operation as of March 2023. But there are 40 Level 2 charger installations underway through the program, he said. The government anticipates that demand will pick up.
“We expect interest and participation in our electric vehicle charger incentive will increase once the legislation is updated to allow and enable electricity sales through electric vehicle chargers,” Andre said.
No city in the Northwest Territories has implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since May 2022.
But, according to the N.W.T.’s 2022-2025 Energy Action Plan, which was released in December 2022, the territory is trying to secure funding from NRCan to “develop a program funding public, commercial and multi-unit residential EV charging programs.”
No city in Nunavut has implemented regulations for EV charging for MURBs since our last roundup in May 2022.