1. Are there any benefits to living in the ALR?
The Agricultural Land Commission Act (the "ALC Act") and Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulations (the "ALR Regulation") prioritizes agricultural land use within the reserve, including some uses that are restricted or prohibited by other zoning bylaws, Acts, or legislation outside the ALR. The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act will also allow the pursuit and continuation of normal farm practices, even despite complaints from neighbours.
2. Why are there restrictions on ALR land?
The ALR comprises just 5% of BC’s total land base and is the area with the greatest agricultural capacity. As a finite and valuable resource, the province has decided to protect this land, to encourage farming and ranching and to focus non-farm use to the remaining 95% of the province.
3. Can I develop my ALR property for any land use I like?
Only if it is for agricultural purposes. If not, you require formal approval from the ALC before initiating any development or land use that is not currently allowed by the ALC Act and the ALR Regulation. If approval is given for a change of land use, the land owner or operator is subject to compliance with all other legislation and rules that may apply to the land, including but not limited to local government zoning.
4. What does the ALR notation on my Certificate of Title mean?
Parcels that are within the ALR should have a notation on the Certificate of Title:
“THIS CERTIFICATE OF TITLE MAY BE AFFECTED BY THE AGRICULTURAL LAND COMMISSION ACT. SEE AGRICULUTRAL LAND RESERVE PLAN XXXX".
Any parcel with the ALR notation may be subject to the ALC Act and ALR Regulation. Use the ALR Property and Map Finder to verify that your property is in the ALR. General ALR maps can be found on the ALR Maps page.
A potential purchaser of land who has identified the ALR notation on a Certificate of Title should confirm whether the parcel is within the ALR and educate themselves on the permitted uses. If after reviewing the online maps there is some uncertainty about the ALR status, the ALC can provide a written statement of ALR status for a particular parcel. If requested, this can include a map showing the relative location of the ALR to the subject property.
5. There is an ALR notation on my Certificate of Title, but my land is not in the ALR.
Occasionally a Certificate of Title will have an ALR notation although the land is not, or is no longer, in the ALR. If you notice an incorrect ALR notation, please contact ALC staff who can contact the Registrar of Land Titles to correct the notation.
***It is very important to note that an examination of a title for the ALR notation is not a definitive method to confirm whether the parcel is or is not in the ALR. On occasion, titles endorsed with the ALR notation have later been found to be outside the ALR, while titles not endorsed with the ALR notation have later been found to be located in the ALR.
6. How many dwellings are permitted per parcel?
One single-family dwelling per land registry parcel is permitted within the ALR provided it is permitted by zoning.
7. I want to put an additional dwelling on my property. What are my options?
Permitted in the ALR:
- Suite within a single family dwelling. Unless prohibited by a local government bylaw, the ALR Regulation permits a secondary suite for residential purposes, wholly contained within a single family dwelling, on a parcel in the ALR. The secondary suite use is not limited as to who occupies the suite. For more information, see ALC Policy #8.
- Additional dwelling (manufactured home) for an immediate family member. Unless prohibited by local government bylaw, one manufactured home up to 9 metres in width, for use by the owner's immediate family is permitted. For more information, see ALC Policy #8.
May be permitted in the ALR:
- Additional residences for farm help. Additional residences may be permitted by a local government (see Section 18 ALC Act) if they are necessary for full-time, bona fide farm/ranch operations and if the number of residences is commensurate with agricultural activities being undertaken on the parcel. A local government must be convinced that there is a legitimate need for an additional residence for farm help. Criteria may include the parcel having "Farm" classification under the Assessment Act, size and type of farm operation and other relevant factors. If there is any doubt with respect to need, an application under Section 20 (3) of the ALC Act for permission for non-farm use is required. For more information, see ALC Policy #9.
Not permitted in the ALR:
- Additional permanent dwelling for an immediate family member. An additional permanent dwelling for use by an immediate family member and that is not necessary for farm/ranch operations will require an application for non-farm use under Section 20 (3) of the ALC Act.
- Additional dwelling (permanent or manufacture home) for a non-farm use other than an immediate family member. An additional manufactured home, or permanent dwelling for use by a non-immediate family member and that is not necessary for farm/ranch operations, will require an application for non-farm use under Section 20 (3) of the ALC Act.
8. I am purchasing (or have purchased) a property with a secondary dwelling (manufactured home) on it. Can I keep the manufactured home as a second dwelling?
A manufactured home can be used by an immediate family member of the landowner, or in some cases may be permitted if it is required for full-time, bona fide farm help. Contact the ALC prior to occupying the second dwelling to confirm whether the second dwelling is consistent with the ALR Regulation. If inconsistent with the regulations, the dwelling may either be required to be removed or rendered uninhabitable or a non-farm use application may be required.