The Fossil Management Framework (the Framework) recognizes government’s ownership of fossils as well as the scientific, educational and heritage value of fossils. It is a comprehensive approach to fossil site protection, impact prevention and access to fossil resources. 

Last updated: March 23, 2022

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The Framework provides opportunities for fossil resource users, educational programs and community involvement where significant fossil sites contribute to B.C.’s natural heritage.

The Framework

The Framework was developed following public consultation (see Summary Report (PDF, 583KB)).

The Framework uses legislation, policy and procedures to protect fossils and fossil sites, manage impacts on fossils and manage access to fossils. It is supported by Compliance and Enforcement Branch to ensure laws, designations and tenure requirements are adhered to when associated with fossils.

Site and specimen protection

  • Guidelines for assessing significance of fossil sites
  • Criteria for what constitutes a significant fossil or fossil site
  • Legislative tools for site protection:
    • Land Act
    • Heritage Conservation Act
    • Park Act 
    • Mineral Tenure Act
    • Mines Act.
  • Public education and recognition activities
  • Site management through partnerships with First Nations, Local Governments, and non-government organizations
  • Custodian guidelines
  • Provincial export process

Managing impacts on fossils  

Managing access to fossils  

Framework principles

The Framework applies to all natural resource ministries in British Columbia and is guided by the following management principles:

  1. Fossils and fossil sites are important to British Columbia as heritage resources.
  2. The order of priority for fossil management is science, natural heritage, education and, where appropriate, commercial use.
  3. The order of priority for extraction or excavation of fossils is science, natural heritage, education and, where appropriate, commercial use. Non-extractive commercial use has precedent over extractive commercial use.
  4. A management framework that recognizes the heritage value of fossils, the need to protect significant fossil sites and the interests of stakeholders is necessary.

Framework objectives

  • Clarify the rules governing the management and use of fossils
  • Manage impacts on fossils from other activities
  • Provide for the stewardship of significant sites
  • Raise internal and external awareness of the framework and the importance of fossils
  • Build knowledge of the nature and extent of the resource in B.C.
  • Clarify the rights and obligations of the public, business, government and other stakeholders