Administrative Boundaries

Find maps that show various administrative boundaries including census and health boundaries, school districts, college regions and provincial electoral districts.

Reference Maps

Reference maps show the location of geographic areas for which data are tabulated and disseminated. The maps display the boundaries, names and codes of standard geographic areas, as well as major cultural and physical features such as roads, railways, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

Find reference maps by type of administrative boundary:

Thematic Maps

Thematic maps show the spatial distribution of one or more specific data themes. Maps may be qualitative in nature (for example, number of liquor store outlets, number of schools by school district, or number and type of regional offices) or qualitative (for example, percentage population change). Thematic maps present data such as population so that geographic patterns in the data are more easily understood across multiple regions. Thematic maps can be produced for a variety of administrative boundaries.

Translations and Data Sets

BC Stats maintains files for translating various data across administrative regions.


GIS Downloads

Shapefiles of B.C.’s administrative areas are available in Albers (NAD83) coordinates.

The files are in zip format and include both the shapefile and a metadata record. You will need GIS software to view the shapefiles, such as ArcGIS, ArcGIS Explorer or Quantum GIS.

There are 8 Development Regions (DR) in the province which are aggregates of Regional Districts, or Census Divisions. The boundaries are essentially static, following established geographic regions and natural physical constraints. The DRs reflect an attempt to represent homogeneous areas irrespective of population density.

In British Columbia the Census Divisions (CDs) are comprised of one unorganized region (Stikine), and 28 Regional Districts which have local government functions. CD boundaries follow Regional Districts so they are affected by Regional District boundary changes, such as extensions, reductions, name changes, and newly created Regional Districts.

A Census Subdivision (CSD) is a sub-unit of a Census Division. Any incorporated municipality including a City (C), District Municipality (DM), Town (T), or Village (VL) is by definition a CSD. Some Indian Reserves (IRs) and other native land areas, such as Settlements (SEs) and Indian Government Districts (IGDs), also have CSD status. The remaining unorganized areas in a CD are then aggregated into further CSDs designated as Regional District Electoral Areas (RDEAs). These aggregations represent the RDEAs as determined at the time of the census. There are currently 29 CDs and 743 CSDs. CSD boundaries follow municipalities so they are modified by municipal boundary changes. These changes can take the form of extensions, reductions, new incorporations, or name changes. Note that the numeric value of a CSD has no meaning unless it is associated with its CD value.

In April 1997, the Ministry of Health redefined the provincial health regions as Local Health Areas (LHAs). The 89 LHAs aggregate up to the 16 regional Health Service Delivery Areas (HSDAs) which aggregate to the 5 Health Authorities (HAs).

A School District (SD) is a geographic area created or constituted as a School District by or under the School Act for the purposes of educational administration. The boundaries are determined by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council and each is governed by an elected board of school trustees. There are 59 School Districts in the province as of December 2, 1996.

There are 15 College Regions in the province, which are the responsibility of the Ministry of Advanced Education & Labour Market Development. They are generally named for the largest university/college in the region. The boundaries, in most cases, follow School Districts or aggregates of School Districts. These regions are primarily used for administrative purposes.

The boundaries for the Provincial Electoral Districts (PEDs) change every ten years based on population distribution. The current boundaries are based on the 2006 Census population distribution. The new boundaries are determined by an appointed commission and are the responsibility of Elections BC.