Buying or Owning Land
The ALR is a provincial land-use zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. It is the biophysical resource base that supports farm and ranch activities in the province. Farming/ranching of ALR land is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are regulated. If you wish to subdivide, use your land for non-farm purposes or exclude it altogether from the ALR, you must submit an application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and obtain its approval.
The Agricultural Land Commission Act (the "ALC Act")and Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation (the ALR Regulation") prioritizes agricultural land use within the reserve and allows for some additional land uses that may be regulated or prohibited by local government.
Anyone purchasing or owning land in the ALR for non-agricultural purposes or strictly rural residential use, should be aware that the business of agriculture is the primary land use and normal farm/ranch practices are protected. For example, that means the noise, dust and odours that may arise from agricultural businesses are to be expected. The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act enables the pursuit and continuation of normal farm/ranch practices, despite complaints from neighbours. For more information, please see the Ministry of Agriculture's Farm Practices Protection.
Should you wish to purchase agricultural land, you should confirm the ALR status of the parcel. If the land is in the ALR be aware that land uses are restricted and agriculture is the priority use. To fully understand these restrictions, please review the ALC Act and ALR Regulation.
Confirming ALR Status & ALR Maps
ALR maps indicate what lands are within the ALR and what lands are outside the ALR.
Maps of the ALR can be found on the Maps and GIS page.
ALR status of a parcel can be determined using the ALR Mapping Tools, found on the Maps and GIS.
ALR Notation on Certificate of Title
Parcels that are within the ALR or partially within, the ALR should have a notation which states:
“THIS CERTIFICATE OF TITLE MAY BE AFFECTED BY THE AGRICULTURAL LAND COMMISSION ACT. SEE AGRICULTURAL LAND RESERVE PLAN XXXX".
Any parcel with the ALR notation may be subject to the ALC Act and the ALR Regulation.
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.
***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.
If you believe that a parcel may be in the ALR but it does not have the ALR notation on title, the ALC can provide confirmation. Your real estate agent should be able to assist, as should staff at your local government office.
For ALR parcel status inquiries, please contact the ALC GIS and Mapping Department with the parcel’s identifying information.
Partial ALR Parcels
A parcel may be fully or partially in the ALR (where the ALR boundary transects a parcel). Only those portions of the parcel which fall within the ALR are subject to the ALC Act.
The ALR is the biophysical resource base suitable for agricultural use. Information regarding agricultural capability cab found under Agricultural Land. The agricultural capability of your parcel can be found under Maps and GIS.
If you wish to seek advice regarding the agricultural capability or suitability of your parcel, you can contact an appropriate professional at the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists.
Previous Application History
Before purchasing a parcel or making an application to the ALC, it may be useful to research any previous decisions (approvals or refusals) applicable to the parcel and surrounding area.
Search for previous history at Search for Applications and Decisions.