Land use - film

Last updated on January 31, 2024

British Columbia is a top film and television production center in North America. To accommodate the growing industry, the Commercial Film Tenure Program makes Crown land available for the production of motion pictures and television programs. It also makes land available for still photography for commercial, educational and promotional purposes.

On this page

Permission to use Crown land is obtained by application to the Province.

The quick-pace film industry requires a quick approval process. The Province has established a condensed application process, supported by other agencies of government. Applicants are encouraged to contact the FrontCounter BC office nearest to where they plan to film as early as possible to determine additional considerations specific to their application and associated processing time frames.

Application documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Complete Application Package which includes:

Who may apply?

Companies must be registered in British Columbia to be eligible for commercial film tenures. Even companies already registered outside the province must register in B.C. to obtain a commercial film tenure. Under certain circumstances, private individuals may apply on behalf of a film company.

Types of tenure

Either a temporary licence or a standard licence may be granted.

  • A Commercial Film temporary licence is the most common form of film tenure. It permits use of Crown land for up to 6 months, where the use is limited to the filming of scenery or backdrops involving no structural improvements, camps or large equipment.
  • A Licence of Occupation is required where a commercial film production calls for substantial improvements, camps, vehicles, large equipment or modifications to the land. A licence is normally issued for one year.

Fees and costs

You will be required to pay an application fee when you submit your application, as identified in the Crown land fees schedule (PDF, 49KB).

Required for a commercial film tenure are:

  • Rent - see pricing listed for Temporary Licence or Licence of Occupation (Film) in Appendix 12 – Land Policy Pricing – General Commercial (PDF, 8MB).
  • A $5,000 security deposit as outlined in the general commercial policy, and
  • A minimum of $3 million in liability insurance

Additional requirements

The most common reason for delay is submission of an incomplete application, which is then returned to the applicant.

Applicants should be aware of the Province’s consultation obligations with First Nations and associated time requirements for meaningful consultation. In many locations, the Province has agreements with First Nations which include engagement protocols for applications which may affect their interests.  There may be occasions when additional detailed information is required to allow for the appropriate review of an application. It is important that applicants provide the necessary detailed information as requested in the Application Package in order to avoid a longer than anticipated period of time to evaluate the application.  

If your application is accepted, you will be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation before advertising.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC.

Contact information

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