Modernizing Land Use Planning in British Columbia

The B.C. government is modernizing land use planning in British Columbia to advance reconciliation efforts, support economic opportunities, and guide stewardship of provincial public land and resources that reflects the diverse values and interests of all British Columbians.

Last Updated: October 26, 2021

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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 'where' 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 governments, industry and other stakeholders. It is a transparent and public-facing process that respects the values, knowledge, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples.

Why is modernized land use planning needed?

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 the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and direction provided in the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
  • Ensuring communities and stakeholders are engaged in land and resource planning.
  • Addressing cumulative effects on natural resource values.
  • 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.

What are the intended outcomes of modernized land use planning?

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

In addition to advancing reconciliation efforts, land use planning supports economic opportunities, increases certainty for those who operate on the land and provides trusted stewardship of B.C.’s natural resources.


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

Strong, sustainable economy

Land use planning improves dialogue between the B.C. government, Indigenous governments, and industry. It helps 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 helps manage our resources in a changing climate. Updated data and information from ongoing stewardship initiatives will support and inform planning processes.

Who is involved in modernized land use planning?

The modernized approach to land use planning includes partnerships with Indigenous governments, collaboration with local governments, and engagement with communities, stakeholders and the public.

Partnerships with Indigenous governments

The B.C. government is committed to implementing the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and direction provided in the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The partnership approach with Indigenous governments on modernized land use planning aligns with these principles.

The B.C. government has been engaging with Indigenous communities throughout the province to inform the design, development and implementation of a modern approach to land use planning and to seek ways of working together. In September 2018, the B.C. Government hosted a two-day workshop with some Indigenous representatives from recent collaborative planning initiatives to identify best practices and lessons learned from resource planning partnerships. From September 2018 to March 2020, the B.C. Government hosted workshops with Indigenous communities across the province to explore principles, expectations, and approaches to land use planning in partnership.

Collaboration with local governments

Collaboration and engagement with local governments is a core principle of modernized land use planning to assist in building healthy, thriving communities.

The B.C. government recognizes that local governments have a unique role and perspective in land use planning and decision-making processes related to provincial public lands within, and bordering, their jurisdictional boundaries. Local government interests, including employment, services, recreation, and the local economy may be affected by provincial land use decisions.

In 2021, the B.C. government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) renewed their commitment to work together to advance lasting and meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia. An updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) between UBCM and the Province highlights reconciliation as a shared, cross-government responsibility. The MOU strengthens the partnership between the Province, UBCM and local governments to share information and create discussions and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples in B.C. that will benefit people at the community level.

Engagement with stakeholders and the public

Working with stakeholders and the public in land use planning helps build lasting solutions to land use issues. Engagement with all stakeholders and the public occurs at key milestones in the process for all projects within the modernized land use planning program to ensure local interests and priorities are identified and factored into the land use planning process.

Project planning teams are developing project-specific engagement strategies early in the plan initiation phase to guide stakeholder engagement throughout the life of the planning project. Engagement opportunities may include meetings, workshops, advisory groups, open houses, phone and email communication, and online surveys or questionnaires.

Where is modernized land use planning being implemented?

Land use planning is targeted to selected areas throughout the province on provincial public land and waters. It does 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 planning projects. Projects are focused on urgent land-based management challenges and support provincial priorities, including reconciliation and the economy. Please visit the Provincial Land Use Planning Engagement Platform to learn more about active land use planning projects in B.C.