For research and scientific collecting

The collection of fossils by research paleontologists for scientific study can be authorized to institutions such as museums and universities either under the Land Act Permission Policy or under a Land Act authorization.

Last updated: April 8, 2021

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Application for fossil research collecting

There are two ways to apply to collect fossils for research:

  • Submit a Research Plan (PDF, 172KB) to the BC Fossil Management Office under the Land Act Permission Policy
  • Make an application to Front Counter BC to receive authorization if excavation or other conditions are needed

Research Plan using Land Act Permission Policy

The Land Act Permission Policy (PDF, 276KB) provides permission for certain low-impact activities. If the proposed research activity meets the requirements set out in Section 7 of the policy and the conditions set out in Appendix 5 of the policy, any person may access Crown land to conduct paleontological research. This applies when no site disturbance, other than by hand tools, is needed.

A research plan must be submitted (via e-mail) and approved by the BC Fossil Management Office prior to work being undertaken.

Application for authorization under the Land Act

Research projects that do not meet the conditions specified in the Land Act Permission Policy must be authorized under the Land Act with an application made to Front Counter BC. The land use policy that applies to paleontological research is the Community and Institutional Use Policy. The target timeline from application to authorization is 140 days, but it can take longer if there are conflicts or concerns.

Out-of-province and out-of-country researchers

All fossils collected as a result of paleontological research in B.C. must, once the study is complete, be returned to a recognized B.C. fossil repository. Researchers must have a written agreement with a recognized B.C. fossil repository prior to the start of the field work.

Out-of-country researchers who are not able to conduct their research under the Land Act Permission Policy must have a B.C. institution apply for authorization on their behalf. Out-of-country researchers should contact the Fossil Management Office for information on institutions that can apply on their behalf.

Fossils and fossil sites must be reported to the Fossil Management Office using the collection Data Sheet: