The Province of British Columbia has recently amended
the Agricultural Land Commission Act (the
"ALCA") in a way that is likely to
facilitate non-farm uses in the Agricultural Lands Reserve (the
On November 27, 2014, the Province enacted
the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2014.
Among other things, the Act amends section 58(2) of the ALCA
authorizing the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make the
(a.1) specifying farm uses of
agricultural land that may not be prohibited by a local government
enactment or a first nation government law;
prescribing permitted non-farm uses of agricultural
land and specifying permitted non-farm uses that may
or may not be prohibited by a local government enactment or a first
nation government law;
(j.1) ... prescribing permitted
types of subdivision of agricultural land."
It would appear that the amendment is a clarification of the
earlier version of section 58(2) of the ALCA which has enabled the
Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations:
designating uses of land as farm
prescribing permitted uses and
permitted types of subdivision for agricultural land, and
specifying permitted uses that may or may not be prohibited by a
local government enactment or a law of a first nation
That said, one might argue that the amendment is an expansion of
the Province's regulation-making powers in respect of the
ALR. To contrast with the language of the old
58(2)(a) and 58(2)(b) – which rely on a general word
"uses" – the revised language leaves little
doubt that the Province can direct that "non-farm uses"
be permitted in the ALR.
This change comes closely on the heels of earlier changes to the
ALCA which the Province brought in 2014. Specifically,
we previously discussed, the Province divided the ALR into two
zones, promoting the consideration of socio-economic circumstances
in resource development areas.
Both the current amendment and the earlier amendment show a
trend toward facilitating non-farm uses in the ALR. The
Province has not yet proposed or enacted any regulations under the
revised section 58(2). Therefore, the eventual impact of the
most recent regulatory change remains to be seen.
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