Modernizing Land Use Planning in British Columbia

The B.C. government is committed to collaborating with Indigenous governments in natural resource management that is informed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. As part of this approach, it has committed $16 million over three years (2018-19 to 2020-21) to work collaboratively with Indigenous governments, communities, and stakeholders to modernize land use planning.

What is modernized land use planning?

Land use planning sets the strategic direction to guide sustainable resource stewardship and management of provincial public land and waters that meets economic, environmental, social, and cultural objectives. In other words, it sets high-level direction and helps define ‘what’ can occur on the land base. Modernized land use planning is led by the B.C. government in partnership with Indigenous governments and with engagement of communities, local government, industry and other stakeholders. Land use planning will focus on priority areas in the province to resolve current land use and resource management challenges.

Why is it needed?

Ninety-four percent of British Columbia is provincial public land.  Existing land use plans in B.C. cover over 90% of provincial public land. However, today’s land and resource management challenges require a renewed approach to land use planning. Key drivers include:

  • Reconciliation with Indigenous governments and the B.C. government’s commitment to implement UNDRIP.
  • Ensuring communities and stakeholders are engaged in land and resource planning.
  • A growing economy and increased demand on natural resources and the need to balance economic, environmental, social, and cultural objectives.
  • Increasing complexity as a result of climate change and factors that affect the land base, including species-at-risk management, wildfires, flooding, and drought.
  • Addressing cumulative effects on natural resource values.

Intended outcomes

Modernizing land use planning will support past planning and ongoing stewardship initiatives, and capitalize on new opportunities in response to emerging challenges in the management of B.C.’s public lands and natural resources.

As well as advancing reconciliation efforts, land use planning will support economic opportunities, increase certainty for those who operate on the land and provide trusted stewardship of B.C.’s natural resources.


Land use planning will be carried out in partnership between the B.C. government and Indigenous governments. The values, traditions, knowledge, and cultural practices of Indigenous people will be an integral component of planning processes.

Strong, sustainable economy

Land use planning will improve dialogue between the B.C. government, Indigenous governments, and industry. It will help build relationships and identify solutions needed to advance economic opportunities for rural communities and create lasting economic benefits for all B.C. residents.

Resource stewardship

Land use planning will help manage our resources in a changing climate. Updated data and information from ongoing stewardship initiatives will support and inform planning processes.

Who is involved?

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation are partnering with Indigenous governments and engaging with stakeholders to design and develop the modernized approach.    

Targeted engagement with local governments, industry, non-government organizations, stakeholders, and the public throughout all planning processes will ensure various interests are identified and considered in all plans.

Where will it occur?

Land use planning will be targeted to selected priority areas throughout the province on provincial public land and waters. It will not include federal lands and water, private lands, or provincially designated Agricultural Land Reserve lands.

The B.C. government has been engaging with Indigenous governments and stakeholders to identify high-priority planning projects. Projects will focus on urgent land-based management challenges and will support provincial priorities, including reconciliation and the economy. New land use planning projects will begin in 2019-2020.