Timely news and industry updates.
Media Release: Ring Around the Region
May 10, 2022
Edmonton, Alberta – On May 11, city planning students from the University of Alberta will tour the Edmonton Metropolitan Region as part of a partnership with the Urban Development Institute – Edmonton Metro (UDI-EM). The tour will showcase the diversity of communities that planning students are likely to work in, introduce them to the topics that they will need to address, and connect them with the city builders they will need to work with, including developers, administration, and elected officials. As Edmonton was cited as one of the most affordable cities in the world, policies, regulations, and partnerships required to maintain this regional advantage will be discussed.
When: May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Multiple tour stops (Ardrossan, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert, Spruce Grove)
“Every year, we invite students to reflect on topics they have learned about in the classroom through walking tours, site visits, and interviews with experts,” said Dr. Joshua Evans, a professor with the University of Alberta’s Human Geography Department. “We are excited to partner with the Urban Development Institute to bridge academic studies with real-life city building practices, and the people and places they are sure to work with and in.”
“To ensure Edmonton remains one of the most desirable cities for people and to maintain housing affordability, we all have a role to play in pushing for policies and regulations that support more development opportunity and improve speed-to-market,” said Kalen Anderson, Executive Director of UDI-EM. “We are excited to highlight these areas of opportunity with the future generation of city builders in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.”
The tour is part of an annual field school offered by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. This year, the field school focuses on the topic of sustainable urbanization and how actions like growth management, job creation, age-friendly planning, and housing are essential for great communities.
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Jason Syvixay, Director of Metro Strategy & Advocacy
City of Edmonton - Off-Site Levies
March 23, 2022
Please note the following message from the Jim Wood at the City of Edmonton:
The Fire Hall Off-Site Levy rates for 2022 have now been approved by the Fire Hall Off-Site Levies Steering Committee in conjunction with a number of commitments made by the City.
The table of rates, a map of the catchment areas, and a letter that includes the commitments made by the City are attached for information.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at 780-446-3141 or by email at Jim.Wood@edmonton.ca.
To read the attachment, please click here.
EPCOR - Drainage Updates
March 18, 2022
1. Drainage Design and Construction Standards
The following sub-volumes of the D&C Standards have been updated:
Vol. 3-02 Stormwater Management and Design Manual
Vol. 3-03 Design Guidelines
Vol. 3-04 Pump Station and Forcemain Design Guidelines
Vol. 3-05 Drainage Drawing Requirements, Approvals and Asset Acceptance/Transfer
These documents can be found on EPCOR’s website here:
and can also be accessed through the City’s website here:
The list of changes made in each sub-volume is on Page iv of the sub-volume.
2. Pump Station Commissioning and CCC/FAC Processes
A meeting was held last week between EPCOR and UDI is to discuss and clarify the steps and requirements for pump station commissioning and CCC/FAC, and to make the process smoother for everyone. As a result of the discussion, the general process has been mapped and is shown on the flowchart.
EPCOR appreciates the feedback that UDI provided during consultation on the above items. Please contact Steve Jensen (780-412-6943) if there are any questions or concerns.
3. Implementation of new IDF Curves
EPCOR is proceeding with publishing the new IDF curves in the Drainage Design and Construction Standards.
Attached is the following document:
2020 IDF Data which will be published in the Standards. This can be used in plans/designs immediately.
Six Strategic Plan priorities for a competitive and sustainable Edmonton Metro Region
March 17, 2022
UDI approved its new Strategic Plan at their annual general meeting on March 17. Spanning 2022-2026, UDI’s Strategic Plan is the collective vision and common ground for over 160 members and will mobilize action towards development and economic investment and to catalyze jobs and talent in the Edmonton Metro Region. Download the Strategic Plan.
This plan identified ideas with the most resonance for our members, coupled with best practices in city planning and land development. In the coming months, we will work with our membership to identify ideas and tangible actions needed to help realize six Strategic Plan priorities:
Enhanced collaboration and partnerships includes partnerships with industry associations and economic development agencies to strengthen real estate and land development efforts.
Shift to storytelling-based communications includes a creative suite of strategies to share the leading-edge work of UDI, its members, and the industry.
Modernize government relations includes a government relations strategy to advocate for regulatory and policy changes, amplified through strategic alignment with allied associations and stewardship of individual member action.
Next level member engagement includes innovative events and networking programs and campaigns to catalyze membership growth.
Improve mentorship and education includes unique and robust opportunities for members and non-members to contribute to UDI, to build their development knowledge and skillsets, and to invigorate UDI’s value proposition.
City vibrancy: making our downtown amazing includes concentrated advocacy for downtown’s recovery and long-term investment, and support for development to be strategically in-line with existing and intended infrastructure.
To help us shape municipal policy and a development-friendly regulatory environment, we invite all UDI members to help advance its new Strategic Plan. Building vibrant communities, maintaining our affordability advantage, and growing our network will require an all-hands-on-deck approach. Are you ready to pitch in? Reach out to UDI staff to share your ideas for policy, programs, and storytelling: Jason.Syvixay@udiedmonton.com.
Media Release: All in for Downtown
March 17, 2022
Edmonton, Alberta ― Over 160 companies involved in the land development industry in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region are calling for an all-hands-on-deck approach to revitalize Edmonton’s downtown. As part of their newly adopted strategic plan, members of UDI are rallying around downtown vibrancy. This new priority means concentrated advocacy for downtown’s recovery and long-term investment. It also includes stewardship and promotion of new business and residential development opportunities, expanding economic development opportunities, and supporting additional programs and events to attract talent and build a safe and livable community in the core. Over the course of the year, a series of tangible actions will be developed and pursued by UDI and its members.
“Our new strategic plan is focusing on the heartbeat of our big city in a new way,” said Susan Keating, Chair of UDI-Edmonton Metro’s Board of Directors. “With many Edmontonians returning-to-work, one immediate call-to-action is for our members to come downtown – to show their support for downtown businesses, shops, and restaurants. Our downtown is the site of many incredible buildings, but they truly become great spaces when people are in them.”
Edmonton’s downtown makes up one per cent of the city’s entire land supply but generates almost 10 per cent of the city’s property taxes. From 2001 to 2021, Edmonton’s downtown experienced a 61 per cent increase in dwelling unit growth. Today, there are about 261 jobs per hectare downtown.
“These are positive trends, but there’s more to be done,” said Kalen Anderson, Executive Director of UDI-Edmonton Metro. “UDI’s members have a major role to play in supporting efforts to make downtown Edmonton awesome and are looking forward to collaborating with our public and private sector partners to keep the pre-pandemic momentum going and the centre city growing.”
One of those members includes EDGAR, whose business focuses on Edmonton’s core. “Our company is deeply committed to a vibrant downtown core, and we are actively developing residential and retail spaces for people and businesses to thrive,” said Henry Edgar, Partner of EDGAR. “Continued investment in parks, rapid transit and urban design along with affordable housing and community safety are critical if we are to remain competitive in our region.”
UDI’s new Strategic Plan consists of six key priorities: collaboration/partnerships, storytelling, government relations, member engagement, mentorship and education, and downtown vibrancy. Download UDI’s Strategic Plan to learn more about how the land development industry across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region intends to support the downtown: udiedmonton.com.
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Jason Syvixay, Director of Metropolitan Strategy & Advocacy
Position Announcement: Director of Metropolitan Strategy and Advocacy
March 2, 2022
UDI is excited to welcome Jason Syvixay to the staff team, effective March 14, 2022. As the Director of Metropolitan Strategy and Advocacy, Jason will lead a coordinated effort to mobilize the organization and its members to advance and communicate its interests, shape municipal policy and effect change. Jason will help to position UDI as the premier voice of the real estate industry through creative storytelling, modern and nimble outreach tactics, and collaboration with other industry associations and partners across diverse sectors.
Jason is a registered professional planner and PhD candidate who has worked in non-profit and private/public sectors. Born-and-raised in Winnipeg, Jason has a passion for people and places and has worked towards realizing these human-centered connections through a variety of urban management and city planning roles.
At the City of Edmonton, Jason led precedent-setting initiatives like the Infill Roadmap, Missing Middle Infill Design Competition, and Zoning Bylaw GBA+ and Equity Toolkit. Prior to Edmonton, Jason managed the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone, where he built and inspired a safer, more resilient, and inclusive downtown through creative placemaking and tactical urbanism, stakeholder and political engagement, research and market intelligence, media relations, and community consultation. As a land use planner with HTFC Planning & Design, Jason led development planning efforts with a range of Manitoba towns on projects related to main streets, corridors and greenspaces, recreation, bridge design, bicycle infrastructure, and Indigenous reconciliation.
Through media platforms such as the Winnipeg Free Press, Plan Canada, and Canadian Architect, Jason regularly convenes dialogue around pressing urban issues. His writing can be found online at jasonsyvixay.com.
Get in touch with Jason to learn more about UDI’s strategic plan and priorities, to share an interesting development story, or to collaborate on future events: Jason.email@example.com
City of Edmonton - Fire Hall Off-Site Levy – Coming into Effect
December 21, 2021
The Facilities Off-Site Levies Bylaw 19340 was approved by City Council on August 16, 2021 and the corresponding “Standard” was approved by the City Manager on November 19, 2021. They come into effect on January 1, 2022.
Effective immediately all subdivisions falling within the boundaries of any of the catchment areas identified in the Bylaw will be conditioned with the requirement to pay the Fire Hall Off-Site Levy (the "Levy"). The Levy will be collected in all Servicing Agreements executed after January 1, 2022, which are based on
Subdivision Approvals which include this condition to pay the Levy. The Levy will not be imposed in Servicing Agreements which are based on Subdivision Approvals that did not include this condition.
Attached are copies of the Bylaw and the Standard. As previously mentioned, the catchment areas are included in the Bylaw, but actual Off-Site Levy rates are not in the Bylaw. The rates for each proposed fire hall have not yet been finalized and approved, but will be made available as soon as they are approved.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at 780-446-3141 or by email at Jim.Wood@edmonton.ca.
To read the full letter, please click here.
Financial Post - Alberta is on the verge of another boom — will it be more sustainable this time around?
November 10, 2021
“Alberta was the lone exception. We kept our growth forecast in Alberta at 5.9 per cent,” RBC’s senior economist Robert Hogue said in an interview, adding he expects Alberta to be home to the fastest growing provincial economy this year, topping the national GDP estimate of 5.1 per cent. In 2022, RBC Economics projects 4.9 per cent real GDP growth in the province (4.3 per cent for Canada), and is on track to fully recover by that time.
To read more, please click here.
EPCOR End of Season Notification
October 18, 2021
UDI Edmonton Region Members,
The following should help clarify issues and questions raised about the End of Season Notification from EPCOR. UDI-ER and EPCOR have met and agreed there will be no changes from prior practices, procedures and requirements, and development can proceed as per usual.
Specific clarification was obtained on the following:
EPCOR will continue commissioning water through the winter season, based on the weather and operational considerations (this is unchanged from previous years).
EPCOR will continue to work below 5 degrees Celsius, though work will be scheduled based on noted priorities and weather conditions (this is unchanged from previous years).
EPCOR will be focusing on CCC and commissioning over FACs, unless otherwise directed.
If full paving is not scheduled to be completed this fall, the City of Edmonton Transportation group will need to confirm that the existing infrastructure is acceptable for fire rescue and maintenance crews. Consultants are asked to contact the City to obtain this confirmation.
The details in EPCOR’s letter pertain to both water and drainage infrastructure.
Inspections will resume based on weather conditions; with the dates provided in the letter as a guide for planning purposes.
Please let us know if there are any further concerns and we will look into addressing them.
EPCOR Senior Manager, Distribution Technical Services
EPCOR Manager, Development Engineering and Planning
UDI ER Infrastructure Chair, Stantec, Principal, Community Development
Urban Development Institute – Edmonton Region Announces Kalen Anderson as Executive Director
October 12, 2021
The Board of Directors of the Urban Development Institute – Edmonton Region (UDI-ER) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kalen Anderson effective November 1, 2021.
UDI-ER Board Chair Mike Kohl commented, “The UDI-ER Board is delighted to welcome Kalen Anderson into the role of Executive Director. Kalen brings an extensive management background and expertise in the field of planning and development in the Edmonton region as well as executive leadership experience in Canada’s capital region in Ottawa and Gatineau. Her knowledge of diverse urban development issues combined with her strong track-record to drive strategic initiatives forward will position the organization for ongoing success. Under her leadership, the Board is confident that our industry will continue to advance the best interest of our members in support of developing great communities for residents and businesses to invest in, build lives in, and call home.”
Kalen Anderson is a Registered Professional Planner with a personal and professional commitment to building successful partnerships, communities, cities and city-regions. Kalen joins us from the National Capital Commission where she has been serving as Vice President of Capital Planning and Chief Planner and was previously a Planning Director and senior leader at the City of Edmonton for over a decade. She holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from McGill University as well as Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Alberta.
The Urban Development Institute - Edmonton Region is a non-profit, member-driven organization representing the development industry in the Edmonton region. Our members are development companies and the professionals involved in our industry, including planners, surveyors, architects, engineers, contractors, finance managers and others. Together with the municipalities who regulate land use, we are City Builders. We build communities where people live, the roads they drive on and the playgrounds where families gather.
Mike Kohl, Chair of UDI-ER
Canadian Mortgage Trends - Latest in Mortgage News: Big Banks Lowering their 5-year Fixed Rates
September 21, 2021
RBC Royal Bank became the third Big 6 bank to lower its 5-year fixed mortgage rate over the weekend.
The bank dropped its uninsured 5-year fixed rate by 25 basis points to 2.19%
The move came days after similar cuts by CIBC and TD Bank last week.
On Friday, CIBC lowered its rates by 5 basis points, bringing its special-offer uninsured 5-year fixed rate to 2.39% and its 5-year variable rate to 1.35%.
TD Bank was the first of the banks to lower its on Thursday. TD’s moves were more significant, lowering its rates by 45 bps. That brings its insured (high ratio) 5-year fixed to 1.89% (from 2.34%) and its uninsured 5-year fixed to 1.99% (from 2.44%).
The moves follow a downtrend in bond yields in recent months. The 5-year bond yield has fallen from 1.01% in June/July to a range of between 0.80% and 0.90% since August. Bond yields typically lead fixed mortgage rates.
To read more, click here.
Bloomberg - The global housing market is broken, and it's dividing entire countries
September 19, 2021
Soaring property prices are forcing people all over the world to abandon all hope of owning a home. The fallout is shaking governments of all political persuasions.
It’s a phenomenon given wings by the pandemic. And it’s not just buyers — rents are also soaring in many cities. The upshot is the perennial issue of housing costs has become one of acute housing inequality, and an entire generation is at risk of being left behind.
To read more, click here.
Edmonton Journal - Alberta imposing provincewide COVID-19 restrictions, vaccine passport system amid surge in cases, hospitalizations
September 15, 2021
Declaring a state of public health emergency Wednesday evening, Premier Jason Kenney said the province could run out of intensive care beds and staff to manage COVID-19 patients within the next 10 days. To read more, please click here.
CHBA - Residential Construction Going Strong Despite Challenges: Results from Canada’s First Housing Market Index Release
August 3, 2021
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) released today a ground-breaking Canadian research and economics product. CHBA’s Housing Market Index (HMI) is a residential construction industry sentiments indicator for both the single-family and multi-family markets in Canada. This informative product provides a much-needed leading indicator about the current and future health of the residential construction industry in Canada. It is the only sentiments indicator for the sector in the country and has been modelled on the very successful and influential American version delivered by the National Association of Home Builders’, which is used regularly by financial analysts, the Federal Reserve, policymakers, economic analysts, and the news media. Through this new CHBA Housing Market Index, CHBA is looking to do the same for Canada.
To read more, please click here.
Cabinet changes support economic recovery and renewal
July 8, 2021
Premier Jason Kenney has announced several changes to cabinet and welcomed six new members to further support Alberta’s economic recovery.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta’s government is focused on Alberta’s Recovery Plan, a plan to build, diversify the economy and create good jobs.
The changes to cabinet reflect this renewed focus on recovery. They are:
Rajan Sawhney, MLA for Calgary-North East and currently the Minister of Community and Social Services, becomes the Minister of Transportation. She will deliver on Alberta’s historic Capital Plan investment of $20.3 billion over the next three years, including Alberta’s $1.53-billion investment in Calgary’s Green Line LRT project, which will create 90,000 new jobs.
Tanya Fir, MLA for Calgary-Peigan, becomes Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction. She will continue to deliver on Alberta’s aggressive efforts to eliminate burdensome regulations, improve small business competitiveness and get Alberta’s economy moving.
Nate Horner, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, becomes Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development, under the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. He will support Minister Doug Schweitzer in making sure Alberta’s Recovery Plan delivers results for rural and remote Alberta communities, working across government on important strategic initiatives such as expanding rural broadband internet and irrigation networks.
Muhammad Yaseen, MLA for Calgary-North, becomes Associate Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism, under the Ministry of Labour and Immigration. He will work with Minister Jason Copping in rolling out the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program and the Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan. He will also be tasked with reaching out to ethnic and faith communities and working across government to address recent attacks on vulnerable individuals and communities.
Whitney Issik, MLA for Calgary-Glenmore, becomes the Associate Minister of Status of Women, under the Ministry of Culture and Status of Women, and the chief government whip. She will work to ensure that women are a driving force in Alberta’s economic recovery, recognizing the disproportionate impact of the global COVID-19 recession on women.
Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, becomes the Minister of Culture. He will focus on helping Alberta’s arts and culture organizations recover from the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 while implementing an Alberta Identity Strategy that will address recommendation 25 of the Fair Deal Panel to “affirm Alberta’s cultural, economic and political uniqueness in law and government policy.”
Mike Ellis, MLA for Calgary-West and currently the chief government whip, becomes Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. He will continue to implement Alberta’s recovery-oriented systems of care model across the province.
Jason Luan, MLA for Calgary-Foothills and currently the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, becomes the Minister of Community and Social Services. He will focus on delivering supports for vulnerable Albertans as they emerge from COVID-19, helping to bridge unemployed and underemployed Albertans into good jobs.
Other non-ministry changes:
Joseph Schow, MLA for Cardston-Siksika and currently the deputy government whip, becomes deputy government house leader.
Brad Rutherford, MLA for Leduc-Beaumont, becomes deputy government whip.
“Alberta is leading Canada out of the COVID-19 pandemic and into strong economic growth. This renewal of our cabinet will support Alberta’s Recovery Plan, a plan to build, to diversify the economy and to create jobs. With six new voices and strong, experienced ministers moving into important economic roles, Alberta’s government is ready to deliver a strong recovery for all Albertans.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
The Premier also announced the appointment of Pam Livingston as chief of staff, with acting chief of staff Larry Kaumeyer returning to his previous role as principal secretary to the Premier. Livingston has an extensive history in senior roles with the Government of Alberta, most recently as the chief of staff to the Minister of Environment and Parks and deputy chief of staff to the Premier. Kaumeyer has served as a senior executive throughout his private sector career.
“I would like to thank both Larry and Pam for their tremendous support and leadership as we navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic and I look forward to working with them as the government focuses on Alberta’s Recovery Plan and fighting for a fair deal for Albertans.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
CMHC Eases Mortgage Insurance Rules
July 6, 2021
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is lowering the required credit score and loosening other measurements that ensure homeowners have enough income to pay their mortgages.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is making it easier to get federal mortgage insurance, reversing tougher rules that were imposed a year ago.
The federal housing agency admitted to making a costly mistake in unilaterally tightening its requirements last year, acknowledging it lost market share to competitors as a result. “We are taking this action because our July, 2020, underwriting changes were not as effective as we had anticipated and we incurred the cost of a decline in our market share,” the CMHC said in an announcement.
Effective Monday, the mortgage insurer is lowering the required credit score and loosening other measurements that ensure homeowners have enough income to pay their mortgages and other debts. Major lenders require mortgage insurance from the CMHC or a private-sector insurer if a borrower makes a down payment of less than 20 per cent of the purchase price of a home.
Under the new rules, borrowers need a minimum credit score of 600 instead of 680 to qualify for the CMHC’s mortgage insurance, and can have a higher ratio of expenses relative to their income.
A borrower’s gross debt-service ratio – the share of monthly household income used to pay the mortgage and other housing costs – can be as high as 39 per cent instead of 35 per cent. As well, a borrower’s total debt-service ratio – the share of monthly income used to cover all housing costs, credit cards, lines of credit and other loans – can be as high as 44 per cent instead of 42 per cent.
The rule reversal comes at a time when mortgage demand has spiked and after the Bank of Canada warned about the risks of highly indebted households taking on more debt. But it may not have an impact on home prices.
When the CMHC imposed the stricter rules last July, the agency thought it would protect homebuyers, reduce taxpayer risk and curb excessive homebuyer demand that was fuelling skyrocketing prices. But while the quality of the CMHC’s portfolio improved, the agency lost market share to other private-sector insurers and its actions did not slow demand. The average home price in Canada is now 38 per cent higher than a year ago, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter said it is not obvious that the CMHC’s reversal alone “will significantly stoke the market, or make the financial system less sound, as the business was likely being taken up by the private insurers.” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said the CHMC’s reversal is “no game changer by any stretch of the imagination” for Canada’s heated housing sector. “It’s just a market-share play with no impact on the size of the insured pie, since the competition didn’t change the rules,” he said.
The rule reversal is CMHC’s first major action under new chief executive Romy Bowers, who took over in April, and it brings the CMHC in line with Canada’s two private mortgage insurers – Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co. and Sagen MI Canada Inc. – which never matched the CMHC’s tougher rules last year.
The housing agency came under harsh criticism from lenders and the mortgage industry when it imposed its new standards in 2020.
The CMHC had expected the private insurers to follow its lead but they did not. Instead, lenders started sending business to the private insurers, triggering then-CMHC head Evan Siddall to reprimand the banks and other lenders for not supporting the CMHC.
Since last July, the CMHC’s share of the mortgage insurance market has dropped precipitously, according to a research note from Royal Bank of Canada. The bank said the CMHC’s market share was between 45 per cent and 50 per cent prepandemic but slipped to 23 per cent by earlier this year. In contrast, Sagen’s market share climbed to 44 per cent and Canada Guaranty’s to 33 per cent, according to the RBC note.
“I think most of the market-share gains the two private insurers made over the last year will remain,” said Dan Eisner, CEO of Calgary-based mortgage brokerage True North Mortgage. “Borrowers very rarely choose which insurer gets used. The lenders make that call.” Mortgage broker Robert McLister agreed that the private insurers’ decision to rebuff the CMHC’s policy earned them loyalty from lenders. “There’s some degree of market share that CMHC may not get back for years, if ever,” said Mr. McLister, who is editor at Rates.ca.
In the first quarter of this year, the CMHC provided insurance to 1.04 million homeowners and insured $209-billion worth of their mortgages. That compared with providing insurance to 1.12 million homeowners with $225-billion worth of mortgages in the same period in 2020, according to the agency’s latest quarterly report.
New UDI-ER Initiative: Growth is City Building
June 11, 2021
Dear UDI-ER Members,
We are pleased to provide you with an electronic copy of UDI-Edmonton Region’s most recent initiative – Growth is City Building.
In the spirit of collaboration and best practices, this document shares our industry’s perspective on the way growth can be managed in Edmonton so that we can continue to build a city where future generations will live and thrive. Additionally, with the upcoming 2021 municipal election this fall, the document may provide you with a useful resource when speaking with candidates and seeking their views and opinions.
To read the document, please click here. To read the accompanying key messages, please click here. Furthermore, if you would like a hard copy of Growth is City Building, please feel free to contact our office.
Executive Director, UDI-ER