Highway Use Permit - Special Events

Last updated on March 26, 2024

Event organizers must apply for permission to hold an event on or along a provincial public highway, including any street, road, trail for which the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) is responsible. 

Special events include activities like parades, marathons, cycling events, walkathons, running events, car shows and charity events.

The British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) sets out out comprehensive rules governing vehicle drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users to ensure the safe and efficient operation of highway.

Roadway definition:  The MVA defines “roadway” as “the portion of the highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic.”  “Roadway” does not include the shoulder.   


To apply, your organization must provide the following:

Organizers are responsible for getting all permits and licenses required for the event.

All personnel working on or along a highway, or those acting on the event organizer's behalf, including hired contractors, must be:

  • Competent to perform their duties,
  • Adequately trained,
  • Fully instructed, and
  • Supervised


Contact us if you have questions about holding an event on or along a provincial public highway.


Application exception for low-risk special events

A special event highway use permit may not be required for low-risk special events that are compliant with the MVA. 

Your event must meet all of the following conditions:

  • It will occur entirely outside of the roadway (for example, on a multi-use trail that is not used for vehicular traffic, a sidewalk, or the extreme shoulder adjacent to the roadway)
  • If no sidewalk is present, pedestrians at your event will use only the extreme shoulder adjacent to the roadway, and will stand or move facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction
  • It will not involve pedestrians soliciting rides, employment and/or business from a vehicle occupant
  • Pedestrians at your event will cross the roadway only at designated crossing sites (for example, signalized intersections or painted crosswalks)
  • It will not impact the flow of vehicle traffic, involve lane closures or traffic stops, or impact intersection operations
  • It will not require or involve traffic control personnel, local police, pilot vehicles, or parade marshals
  • It will not involve any assemblage of people (supports/spectators/participants, etc.) or things (tents, porta potties, spectator stands, stages, etc.) on any portion of the roadway

If your event does not meet all of the above criteria, a special event permit is required.


Apply to hold an event in the lower mainland area

Lower Mainland District Office


310 - 1500 Woolridge Street
Coquitlam, B.C. V3K 0B8

Phone: 604-527-2221

Email: Special.Events@gov.bc.ca

Download application

Submit your application and supporting documents at least four weeks before the event.


Apply to hold an event outside lower mainland area

Use our interactive map to find the right District office to serve you.

View map

Use the eDas online application system to apply for a special event permit.

Apply online

Submit your application and supporting documents at least four weeks before the event.



Your organization is responsible for incidents occurring during or resulting from an event and must carry appropriate insurance.

You will need to carry and maintain:

  • A minimum of $2 million liability insurance against third-party claims
  • A maximum deductible no greater than $5,000

Proof of insurance will be accepted after the application is made and must be submitted directly from the broker.

Route maps

Include a detailed route map with your application that includes:

  • Labelled highway and road names
  • Landmarks and/or GPS coordinates labelled where necessary
  • Directional arrows depicting the event route
  • Start/Finish lines and check points

Safety and traffic management

Organizers must protect the safety of the travelling public and event participants. They must keep themselves fully informed of, and comply with, all federal, provincial, and municipal safety legislation, regulations, and bylaws. Traffic management must be follow the B.C. government's traffic management rules:

Community consultation

Notify all authorities, and make specific arrangements for assistance if required. You may also need to notify:

  • Local police authorities, emergency services and/or local service group
  • Local municipalities, Regional District and/or local rural area director
  • Local First Nations communities
  • Local road and bridge highway contractor
  • BC Ferries, inland ferries and/or public transit authority

Contact information

Contact us if you have questions about holding an event on or along the provincial highway right of way. 

If you are holding your event outside the lower mainland area, contact your district office.

Lower Mainland Office
310 - 1500 Woolridge Street
Coquitlam, B.C. V3K 0B8