Canada: Agricultural Law NetLetter - Tuesday, June 21, 2016


* A Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has concluded that the application by a farmer in an Agricultural Land Reserve is exempt from a municipality's usual authority to regulate zoning and building permits by virtue of the specific provisions in the Local Government Act (British Columbia), the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (British Columbia) and the Regulations thereunder, and the Agricultural Land Commission Act (British Columbia) and the Regulations thereunder. The Court concluded that a farmer who intended to construct an addition to a barn for intended agricultural purposes was exempt from normal zoning and building permit requirements whether the municipality felt the farmer needed the additional building space or not. The decision explains some aspects of the complex regulation of agricultural land use in British Columbia. (Turney v. Langley (Township), CALN/2016-015, [2016] B.C.J. No. 1238, British Columbia Supreme Court)


Turney v. Langley (Township);


Full text: [2016] B.C.J. No. 1238;

2016 BCSC 1099,

British Columbia Supreme Court,

C.E. Hinkson C.J.S.C.,

June 15, 2016.

Agricultural Land Use -- British Columbia -- Building Permit Exemptions.

Albert James Turney ("Turney") applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a declaration that his application for a building permit for the construction to an existing barn on his property complied with the provisions of the Township of Langley, British Columbia (the "Township") for farm businesses.

In April of 2004, Turney purchased a 7.5 acre property in the Township (the "Property").

The Property is in the Agricultural Land Reserve and was assessed as a "farm" for tax assessment purposes.

The Property was zoned "Rural Zone RU-1" pursuant to the Township's Zoning Bylaw which permits residential, agricultural and accessory building uses. There was a single family dwelling, a 3,000 square foot barn, a 1,500 square foot shed and attached garage on the Property.

Approximately 5.5 acres of the Property had been operated as a hay farm.

Turney deposed that he purchased the Property to live in it and to operate a farm with his adult grandchildren.

Turney also deposed that in both 2014 and 2015 he did not own the farming equipment needed to harvest or bale hay, so he hired a local farmer to do so. He then sold the hay.

In October of 2015, Turney began the construction of an addition to the barn.

Turney deposed that he did so in order to expand his farming operation. The addition would add approximately 3,600 square feet to the barn which Turney deposed he required for storage for his farming equipment, trailer, additional farming equipment including a new trailer, and that he intended to raise livestock including chickens, pigs and ducks.

Turney also deposed that he anticipated his first hay crop would yield approximately 600 bales of hay and that the crop would take up most of the space in the existing barn, and that he required more space for the equipment and livestock he proposed to acquire.

Turney also deposed that he did not obtain a building permit for the addition to the barn as he believed that a permit was not required because the Property was in the Agricultural Land Reserve and had farm status.

When the construction of the addition to the barn came to the attention of the Township, the Township issued a Bylaw Offence Notice because Turney did not have a building permit. The Township took the position that the RU-1 zoning limits the maximum total building area for accessory buildings to 2,152 square feet.

The Township directed Turney to remove the addition by no later than November 27, 2015. A stop work order was also issued.

Turney submitted a Bylaw Notice Dispute on November 26, 2015 explaining why he had not applied for a permit.

On February 23, 2016, the Township rejected his Dispute Notice and directed that the stop work order would remain in effect. The Township requested the immediate removal of the addition.

Decision: Hinkson, J. granted a declaration that Turney was exempt from the application of the Local Government Act (British Columbia) based on his use of the property as a farm and that he was permitted, pursuant to the Township's Zoning Bylaw, to construct a building that did not cover more than 33% of the lot area of the Property, so long as the proposed construction set out in the permit conformed with all respects of the Township's Building Code and other Bylaws [at para. 42].

Hinkson, J. declined to issue an Order for mandamus so the Township could assess whether the building complied with the National Farm Building Code of Canada and other building requirements [at para. 43 to 45].

Hinkson, J. considered the legislative scheme under British Columbia law which limited the Township's ability to regulate the zoning and use of farm lands at para. 19 to 28.

Hinkson, J. observed that although s. 479 of the Local Government Act (British Columbia) authorized the Township to enact zoning bylaws by regulating the use of land:

[20] ...s. 481(2) of the Local Government Act limits the application of s. 479 by providing that a local government must not exercise the powers under that section to prohibit or restrict the use of land for a farm business in a farming area unless the local government receives the approval of the minister responsible for the administration of the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 131 [FPPA]. Section 481(3) allows that same minister to make regulations that define areas and circumstances in which approval under (2) is not required, and the conditions under which such exceptions will be granted. Such an exception has not been made with respect to the Township's jurisdiction.

[21] The Right to Farm Regulation, B.C. Reg. 261/97 provides that s. 481 of the Local Government Act applies to the Township.

[22] Section 455 of the Local Government Act provides that the terms "farm business", "farm operation" and "farmer" all have the same meaning as those terms in the FPPA. The terms are defined in the FPPA as follows:

"farm business" means a business in which one or more farm operations are conducted, and includes a farm education or farm research institution to the extent that the institution conducts one or more farm operations;

"farm operation" means any of the following activities involved in carrying on a farm business:

(a) growing, producing, raising or keeping animals or plants, including mushrooms, or the primary products of those plants or animals;


(c) using farm machinery, equipment, devices, materials and structures;


(e) conducting any other agricultural activity on, in or over agricultural and;

"farmer" means the owner or operator of a farm business;

[23] The term "farming area" is defined in s. 455 of the Local Government Act in part as:

an area of land

(a) that is in an agricultural land reserve as defined in the Agricultural Land Commission Act,

(b) that is designated as a farming area under the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act,

[24] Section 1 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 36 [LCA] defines farm use as:

"farm use" means an occupation or use of land for farm purposes, including farming of land, plants and animals and any other similar activity designated as farm use by regulation, and includes a farm operation as defined in the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act;

[25] Section 2 of the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation, B.C. Reg. 171/2002, made pursuant to the ALCA, provides in part that:

(1.1) The activities designated under this section as farm uses for the purposes of the Act must not be prohibited

(a) by any local government bylaw

and includes that:

(2) The following activities are designated as farm use for the purposes of the Act:

(c) storing, packing, preparing or processing farm products, if at least 50% of the farm product being stored, packed, prepared or processed is

(i) produced on the farm,

... or

(iii) feed required for farm production purposes on the farm;

(o) the construction, maintenance and operation of farm buildings including, but not limited to, any of the following:


(ii) a farm building or structure for use in an intensive livestock operation or for mushroom production;


[27] Section 201.6 of the...Zoning Bylaw provides that:

1) Except for commercial greenhouses, buildings and structures shall not cover more than 33% of the lot area


3) Accessory buildings and structures not used for agricultural or farm purposes shall not exceed a total of 200 m2 of ground floor building area.

[28] Section 5.2 of the Township's Building Bylaw No. 4642 provides in part that:

5.2 The Building Inspector may issue a Permit for Construction where:

a) a valid and subsisting application has been made (the "Permit Application");

b) the proposed Construction set out in the Permit Application conforms in all respects with this Bylaw, the Building Code and all other application enactments including other Township bylaws;

Hinkson, J. rejected the Township's submission that the existing buildings were more than sufficient for "current or likely farm use" concluding, at para. 36, 38 and 42 as follows:

[36] Be that as it may, the petitioner has explained the seasonal nature of the farming in which he intends to engage, and why he has not yet begun farming activity involving livestock. The real question, as I have stated above, is whether the property is being used or is intended to be used as a farm business.


[38] The petitioner has made clear his intention to farm the property in this year and beyond in his petition, and I find it likely that the Township, through its staff, was aware that that was his stated intention when his building permit application was rejected. I therefore find that it was unlawful for the Township or its Building Inspector to refuse the building permit sought by the petitioner on the basis that he would not farm the property as he said he would.


[42] As the petitioner has based his application for a building permit on the use of the property as a farm, he is exempted from the application of s. 479 of the Local Government Act, and permitted, pursuant to 201.6 of the Township's Zoning Bylaw, to construct a building that does not cover more than 33% of the lot area of the property, so long as his the proposed construction set out in his permit application forms in all respects with Section 5.2 of the Township's Building Bylaw No. 4642, the Building Code, and all other applicable enactments including other Township bylaws.

Previously published by LexisNexis

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.