The City of Victoria is debating whether or not to ban gas ovens and heating after several councillors put forward a motion to require rezoned developments to be powered only by electricity. 

A Council Member Motion on Low GHG/Electric energy systems in new buildings has been presented to the Committee of the Whole.

Receiving support from Councillors Dave Thompson, Susan Kim, Krista Loughton and Jeremy Caradonna, it asks the city to do two things.

The first request is to ensure that all developments that require a rezoning process are required to only include electric energy systems. This would mean that heating, cooling, hot water and cooking are all powered by electricity. 

Secondly, the councillors posit that should “such mechanisms appear impossible or very costly” to produce reports which “prioritize” electric energy over alternatives. 

“We are in a climate emergency. Victoria has targets for reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, and it will be difficult to hit those targets,” the motion reads. 

“About 40% of GHG emissions in Victoria are from buildings. Installing GHG-producing systems in new buildings will lock in decades of GHG emissions, or require far-more-expensive retrofits at a later date.”

According to Victoria bylaws, rezoning is required when a new proposal for a development doesn’t meet existing use and density requirements for the area.

As of the time of writing, there are 93 rezoning applications being considered including for large scale projects like the construction of a residential building near the city’s harbour, independent senior rental apartments in the downtown core and other developments. 

Similar proposals have been floated by other municipalities in Canada, including in a recommendation by Montreal’s environment task force. 

The recommendation by the commission asks for Montreal to “set a maximum threshold of around 15% for the use of natural gas depending on the type of existing building, among others in the case of heritage buildings, and limit its use only during peak consumption periods.” 

Victoria’s gas ban for rezoned development comes on top of an existing ban for the construction of new homes.

As of 2025, Victoria will no longer allow the construction of housing heated by natural gas. Developers in the city have since raised concerns that the equipment and services are not available to undergo such a drastic shift to electric-only constructions.