BC Government News / Ministry of Agriculture

Legislation to protect farmland now in force

Legislation to protect farmland now in force

VICTORIA - Regulations that strengthen B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) came into force under Bill 52 on Feb. 22, 2019, enhancing food security and encouraging farming in the ALR.

"I'm very happy to see this law come into full force and effect," said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. "This new law will encourage farming and better protect farmland by banning mega-mansions, stopping the illegal dumping of waste on farmland and reinstating the one-zone system. It's a great step in our effort to revitalize the Agricultural Land Reserve so that British Columbians can count on a safe, secure supply of locally grown food on their tables for years to come."

The Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, 2018 provides three key changes, including:

Restricting the removal of soil and increased penalties for the dumping of construction debris and other harmful fill in the ALR.

Directly addressing mega-mansions and speculation in the ALR by limiting primary residence size on ALR lands and empowering the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to approve additional residences if they are for farm use.

Reunifying the ALR as a single zone, ensuring consistent rules with strong protections for all provincial ALR land.

"At the same time, we're supporting larger farming families by ensuring that those who need extra living space to support their farming operations have a path forward at the ALC to build a larger home," said Popham. "Multigenerational farming families are the backbone of agriculture throughout B.C."

Bill 52 was introduced on Nov. 5, 2018, and received royal assent three weeks later. It required a regulation to bring the law into force. The legislative changes make it clear that British Columbia's ALR is for farming and ranching, not for building mega-mansions and dumping construction waste.

Established in 1973, the ALR is administered by the ALC, an independent tribunal mandated to preserve agricultural land and encourage farming on agricultural land. The ALR includes over 4.7 million hectares of B.C. that are preserved for agricultural use - less than 5% of B.C.'s total land base.