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Council unanimously votes to extend Secondary Suites Amnesty Program until Dec. 2026

CALGARY – The City is extending the Secondary Suites Amnesty Program until December 31, 2026. Under the Amnesty Program, charges for development permit and registration fees are waived. This enables owners to continue building safe and legal secondary suites at a reduced cost.

“Since the beginning of the Amnesty Program in 2018 we have seen a significant increase in the number of safe, legal suites registered with The City. Currently there are over 11,000 suites on the Registry,” said Brenda Desjardins, Director of Development, Business and Building Services. “Legal and registered suites provide safe and affordable housing choices for renters and owner’s

A secondary suite is a separate living space located within a home, often found in the basement. They have separate living, cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities from the main residence. Secondary suites are allowed in most low-density residential districts.

Owners of a suite constructed prior to March 2018 must ensure their existing suites meet the minimum life safety requirements. This includes providing a bedroom window exit, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, a protected exit route from the basement to the exterior, drywall barriers between suites and drywall barriers in the mechanical room.

“We encourage everyone with a secondary suite to make it safe and legal.” said Ulrik Seward, Manager of Business and Building Safety Approvals. “We encourage everyone to pull the right permits and meet the necessary safety code requirements. This will ensure that a secondary suite is safe for others to live in.”

Renters can confirm if their secondary suite is compliant by checking the Secondary Suites Registry, an online map that shows all registered suites in Calgary.

More information about developing a new secondary suite or legalizing an existing suite is available on

Sean Chu

Sean Chu arrived in Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 speaking not a word of English, and within 7 years he was a sworn officer with the Calgary Police Service. From that point on Sean worked with the Calgary Police Service as on Officer for 21 years in a number of roles until 2013.

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