Vancouver’s Permitting Task Force changes speed up application process

ALMOST one year since the creation of the City Manager’s Permitting Task Force, City staff are delivering results that have helped clear the application backlog and reduce wait times for permits and licences, the City of Vancouver said on Tuesday.

Staff have cleared an intake backlog of more than 500 applications for single family homes, duplexes and laneway homes, despite more than double the applications in 2021 versus 2020. Of these applications, 450 are now being processed and the remaining applications are with the applicants to provide more information.

“We know businesses and residents expect our support with post pandemic economic recovery, and we are excited to see that all the permit improvements we have made are having a positive impact,” said Andrea Law, General Manager, Development, Buildings and Licensing. “We remain committed to improving our permitting and licensing programs through open and transparent collaboration with industry partners and stakeholders.”

In addition to clearing the application backlog, City staff have been implementing City Council priorities and Task Force recommendations which have resulted in faster processing times, he said.

Single-family houses, duplexes and laneways 

  • Staff review time per application has been reduced by approximately 75 per cent through the use of improved processes and tools, resulting in a 300 per cent increase in applications processed
  • Applicants contacted within two-three business days from application submission: 15-16 weeks faster
  • Initial plan review now occurs at application intake: 2 weeks faster


Improved Application Processing 

  • Laneway applications receiving initial review 3 months faster
  • Direct to Inspections process is now is issuing permits in as little as two weeks for simple renovations: 7 weeks faster


Industry Consultation 

Staff continue ongoing consultation with industry stakeholders to discuss changes and help identify additional opportunities to improve processes and wait times.


Business Licensing

To support eligible businesses seeking a change in use or occupancy, a dedicated fast-track online enquiry and application page will be launched this spring.


Next Steps

The City Manager’s Task Force continues to review potential opportunities to reduce processing times. The next update and set of recommendations will be brought to Council later this year.


For more information and a complete list of actions to streamline the permit and licensing process, visit


In a motion last spring, City Council made improving wait times and clearing the application backlog a priority and established the City Manager’s task force with a dedicated $1 million dollars in funding.

In June 2021, Council approved an initial set of regulatory and policy changes.

In September 2021, Council approved a ‘ground-breaking’ improvement to help build social and rental housing faster.

In October 2021, Council approved additional actions to support business recovery.