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The Impact of EV Charging Legislation in Your Strata

In an April 2023 report, the BC government reported that more than 100,000 light-duty electric vehicles were registered in the province in 2022, a 1900% increase since 2016. Electric vehicles, commonly called EVs, accounted for 18% of the 2022 new car sales, the highest percentage in Canada. It’s safe to say that electric cars are here to stay.  

As the popularity of electric vehicles continues to rise so does the demand for in-home charging. For single-family homeowners it can be easily fixed, however, for the more than 1.5 million people who live in BC strata communities, issues can arise. The road to installation of EV Charging in these communities has been bumpy for some Resident Owners and Strata Councils.   

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On May 11th, 2023, the BC government passed Bill 22 with the intent of making it easier for Strata Corporations and Owners to install EV charging stations in their communities.  Bill 22 lowered the approval threshold to a majority vote instead of a ¾ vote for some decisions when they relate to EV charging installation, infrastructure, management and maintenance such as: 

  •  Spending from the CRF including electrical planning or EV-ready reports. 
  • Significant change of appearance or use of common property.
  • Acquisition or disposal of personal property by the Strata Corporation.  

These amendments took effect immediately, however, there are further changes slated to come sometime this Fall. There is a lack of clarity regarding the regulations yet to come, leaving some Strata Councils concerned about the potential impacts to their community. 

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Upcoming Regulations Changes: Navigating the Unknown 

The following breakdown covers what we know now, and what will have to watch for in the updated regulations: 

What We Know Now
  What the Regulations Will Determine
Strata Corporations will be required to obtain an electrical planning report from a qualified person.  Regulations will determine what must be included, who is qualified to prepare it and the timeline to obtain the report. 
Strata Corporations will be able to grant exclusive use of parking stalls for a period greater than one year.   Bill 22 regulations will set out how many additional years the Strata Corporation will be able to grant.  
Regulations will outline the details to be provided by an Owner seeking a charger installation.  It is not yet known what class of EV charging an Owner can make a request for (such as Level 2 vs. Level 1).    
Regulations will establish the criteria Councils must consider when reviewing EV charger requests.    The specific criteria and the time frame for the Strata Council to consider a request are unknown.    

Until the regulations bring into effect the rest of the Bill 22 changes, it seems there are more questions than answers. This can be incredibly unsettling to your Council when evaluating EV charging feasibility of your building or complex built years prior.  

Implications for Legacy Strata Corporations: Capacity & Costs  

The Zero Emissions Vehicle Act in BC mandates that 100% of passenger vehicle sales be zero emission by 2040. Many municipalities require new developments to have some form of electrical charging in place, but where does that leave older buildings?

The Impact of EV Charging Legislation in Your Strata

Finding the Capacity

The lack of available charging capacity may be one of the reasons for your Strata Council has denied EV charging. During a national discussion of electrical vehicle charging in stratas & condos, panel member, Reid Arkinstall, Program Manager at BC Hydro stated: 

“My experience of running the program here in British Columbia for EV charging in condos is that the vast majority of condos have no issue with capacity, that's not to say there aren’t scenarios, but when you’re doing load calculations with data, you get a far more accurate assessment.”  

The last 12 months of electricity consumption data from BC Hydro is the most accurate data for your Council to rely on. While the forthcoming legislation will determine what level of charging an Owner may request from your Council, it is likely to be Level 2 charging. This level is often compared to charging a cell phone in that a vehicle charges for longer times (like overnight) with draws between 15A and 80A of power.  

Where a building’s charging needs exceed its current capacity, an EV Energy Management System (EVEMS) also known as a “smart charging” system can be installed. These systems allow multiple vehicles to charge at once by controlling the rate and timing of charging, so it never exceeds the capacity of the circuit.   

Managing Costs and Increasing Property Value with EV Charging

As a dedicated Council member, you may consider managing your strata’s finances as one of your most important duties. Building upgrades can be costly but data shows that the installation of electric vehicle charging can increase property value.  Your Council should consider well-planned retrofits as an investment in future-proofing your Strata Corporation.  

We have received a few questions about EV chargers and their effect on insurance premiums. For answers, we contacted insurance broker, BFL Canada, who advised that at this time, they have observed no increase to insurance premiums due to a building opting to install EV charging infrastructure. 

Help is available from the provincial and federal governments, in the form of rebates and free guidance to Strata Corporations that install electrical vehicle charging infrastructure. Once the infrastructure is in place, Strata communities may be able to use funds received from the sale of carbon credits to offset their operating costs. 

Paving the Way for Strata EV Charging in B.C. 

Amidst the Strata Property Act changes and impending legislative changes, it appears that the BC government is signaling for all Strata Councils to proactively plan and prepare to support at-home charging in their communities.  What that plan looks like and how your building arrives there is impacted by many factors including the changes brought in by Bill 22. At Tribe Management, we ensure our clients find the right path by partnering with companies like Electric Assets to assist them with their EV charging needs.

What to know more? Sign up for our webinar with Pamela Zak, VP of Management Services (Strata) and Sat D. Harwood, Partner at Lesperance Mendes Lawyers where they take a closer look at the impacts of Bill 22 on Strata Communities like yours. 

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