Legislation for Strengthening Farming
The legislative context for the Strengthening Farming Program rests largely on the following four pieces of legislation:
Agricultural Land Commission Act
Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (FPPA)
Land Title Act
Before approval for subdivision is completed, an approving officer may refuse a subdivision and require adequate buffering of farmland from the subdivision or the removal of unnecessary roads directed at the ALR. This is to ensure no unreasonable interference occurs with farm operations. Approving officers can refer to the Land Title Act for authority to assess these potential impacts on farmland and the ALR.
Local Government Act
Certain provisions in the Local Government Act address agriculture such as those covering community planning, zoning, nuisance regulations, the removal and deposit of soil, weed and pest control and water use and drainage.
Sections of this Act which address agricultural planning include:
- S. 474(1)(b). An official community plan may include statements and map designations for the area covered by the plan respecting the following: (b) the approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;
- S. 474(1)(c). An official community plan may include policies respecting the maintenance and enhancement of farming on land in a farming area or in an area designated for agricultural use in the community plan.
- S. 477. Adoption procedures require that official community plans applied to land in the Agricultural Land Reserve must be referred to the Agricultural Land Commission for comment prior to adoption.
Provisions of this Act which address the prohibition and restriction of agriculture include:
- S. 479. This section permits local governments to create bylaws that, among other things, regulate within a zone (including the use of land, buildings and other structures, siting, size and dimension of buildings and other structures etc). By this manner, local governments are permitted to zone land for agriculture, and are invited but not required, to adopt agricultural bylaw standards that the Ministry has prepared (S. 551).
- S. 481(2). This section however goes on to state that local governments which would prohibit or restrict the farm use of land in farming areas must receive approval from the Minister responsible for the Farm Practices Protection Act (farming areas are defined as land within the ALR or under an aquaculture licence.) Anything that would prohibit or restrict farming beyond the Minister’s Bylaw Standards would then require the Minister’s approval, and then also require the local government to become ‘regulated’ under S. 553.
Sections which address the use of land for agricultural operations include:
- S. 555 ‘Intensive’ agriculture is a permitted use of land in the ALR despite a local Zoning Bylaw that prohibits that use.
- S. 551 The Minister may establish agricultural standards for the guidance of local governments in the preparation of the various bylaws affecting agriculture.
- S. 552 ‘Farm Bylaws’ may be created that give greater flexibility in specific planning standards for agricultural operations
- S. 553 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may create a regulation in order to allow application of S. 481(2) and S. 552 in specific geographic areas.
- S. 554 The Ministry may implement a process to review local government Zoning Bylaws to meet the Minister's Bylaw Standards which may also be modified in a manner agreed to by the Minister.
- S. 488(1)(c) Development Permit Areas for the protection of farming (This provision allows Development Permits to contain requirements for screening, landscaping, fencing and siting of buildings or structures, in order to provide buffering or separation of development from farming on adjoining or adjacent land. (S. 491(6))
The Minister of Agriculture is responsible to provide approval to local governments intending to incorporate S. 551-554 of the Act.