SOURCE: The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

October 25, 2016 07:30 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: Red tape stifling Calgary homebuilding and hampering density goals

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - October 25, 2016) - The City of Calgary is stifling new home builds with burdensome red tape, compared to more development-friendly suburbs, finds an updated survey of homebuilders released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"Calgary city council talks about increasing density yet its policies are doing the opposite and driving residential development into neighbouring municipalities," said Kenneth Green, a senior research director at the Fraser Institute and co-author of New Homes and Red Tape in Alberta: Residential Land-Use Regulation in the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor.

The survey ranks Calgary 10th out of 12 municipalities in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor when it comes to residential development regulations. Edmonton is ranked sixth.

Strathmore, Foothills No. 31, Cochrane, Airdrie and Okotoks -- suburban and rural municipalities around the city of Calgary -- rank in the top five spots. They all earn higher marks from developers for having speedier approval times, better cooperation from council and community groups, and a lower cost (per housing unit) of complying with development regulations.

In fact, the typical cost of complying with regulations on a per unit basis in Calgary is $5,000 more than in the surrounding suburbs.

And permit approval times in Calgary average a staggering 13.5 months, compared to an average of 7.5 months for the top five suburbs, and more than 60 per cent of new home builds in Calgary require time-consuming and costly rezoning applications, which, in Calgary's case, take more than five months (on average) to complete.

"If the City of Calgary really wants to attain its stated goal of increasing density, than it should align residential development regulation with the surrounding regions and stop stunting new development with excessive red tape," Green said.

*Calgary-Edmonton corridor municipalities (least regulated at the top):

  1. Strathmore
  2. Foothills No. 31
  3. Cochrane
  4. Airdrie
  5. Okotoks
  6. Edmonton
  7. Sylvan Lake
  8. Chestermere
  9. Red Deer
  10. Calgary
  11. Rocky View County
  12. Strathcona County

*This aggregate index only includes municipalities that garnered sufficient numbers of survey responses.

Ken Green, Senior Director
Fraser Institute

To arrange interviews with Ken Green or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
Office: (604) 688-0221 ext. 589
Cell: (604) 250-8076

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter and Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information