Agricultural Land Reserve

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial designation in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted. The ALR protects approximately 4.6 million hectares of agriculturally suitable land across British Columbia.

Agricultural Land Commission

The provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia.

The purposes of the ALC, as set out in Section 6 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act are:

 6 (1) The following are the purposes of the commission:

(a) to preserve the agricultural land reserve;

(b) to encourage farming of land within the agricultural land reserve in collaboration with other communities of interest;

(c) to encourage local governments, first nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of land within the agricultural land reserve and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies.

6(2) The commission, to fulfill its purposes under subsection (1), must give priority to protecting and enhancing all of the following in exercising its powers and performing its duties under this Act:

(a) the size, integrity and continuity of the land base of the agricultural land reserve;

(b) the use of the agricultural land reserve for farm use

Deputy Minister Oil and Gas Task Force

Under Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham’s mandate commitment to revitalize the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), an independent advisory committee recommended a Deputy Minister Task Force be formed to address issues related to oil and gas exploration and agricultural interests in B.C.’s northeastern regions.

Revitalization of the Agricultural Land Reserve

Over the past two years, the Ministry of Agriculture has worked to revitalize the ALR and the ALC with input from stakeholders, farmers, ranchers, and the general public.

​Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham’s mandate letter commitment was to Revitalize the ALR and ALC. To deliver on this important commitment, in January 2018 the minister established an independent revitalization advisory committee for revitalizing the ALR and ALC to provide the Province with strategic advice and policy guidance.

Another engagement process was undertaken from September 19 – November 15, 2019 where the following topics were discussed:

  • Support farmers and ranchers in the ALR to expand and diversify their business;
  • Help new or young farmers become established on the land and in business; and,
  • Ensure there is flexibility for residential options while prioritizing agriculture in the ALR.

The input received during public consultations is being used to prioritize policy work that addresses these challenges.

The outcomes of this consultation process has been published in a “What We Heard” report (PDF, 350 KB).

Intentions Paper

New ALR residential options and specific conditions such as size, location, and quantity are being considered by the Province.

Residences are an important part of the ALR. They provide a home to those that steward their land, and additional business opportunities that can generate additional income to balance the costs of farming.

Residential uses, however, can impact the farm land both in terms of the availability of the land for farming and by increasing land costs. The ALR was originally developed in the 1970s to help strike that balance by preserving farmland from development.

The Ministry has started policy work on several residential options, while continuing to prioritize preserving the land to be used for farming or ranching. The Policy Intentions Paper will be available for people to provide feedback on starting on January 27, 2020 to April 17, 2020.

**The opportunity to provide feedback on the Policy Intentions Paper is now closed and the feedback received has been published in a “What We Heard” report (PDF, 244 KB)

The information received through the feedback is being analyzed and will be used to refine the options put forward in the Policy Intentions Paper.

Grandfathering Period Extension

Due to the policy work that is being finalized on residential options, the grandfathering period for additional residences has been extended to July 31, 2021.

This extension allows for ALR landowners to apply for a manufactured home for family, provides local governments with more time to process these applications, and allows for the policy work of the Province to conclude while providing additional transition time.