Compliance and Enforcement (C&E) is the law enforcement arm of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). Escalating populations have increased demands and put pressure on the BC land base over recent decades which resulted in an increase in reports of non-compliant activities. The C&E initiative was brought into effect in 2007 out of concern that damage would continue to occur unless further protective measures were taken. Its main purpose is to strengthen delivery of the ALC’s legislative mandate to ensure that activities taking place within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) are consistent with the Agricultural Land Commission Act (ALC Act). This is achieved by using a combination of education, information and enforcement.
Officials designated under the ALC Act have legislated authority to enforce provisions of the ALC Act on ALR lands for the purposes of administering the ALC Act. Their authority includes entering and inspecting land, requesting records and issuing orders to stop work that contravenes (or has potential to contravene) provisions of the Act or the regulation.
There are a small number of ALC C&E Officers that cover the province. The C&E Officer's key functions include:
- To respond to reports of alleged ALC contraventions on private or public ALR land, for residential, commercial or industrial-based activity;
- To conduct inspections;
- To seek voluntary compliance when contraventions are found, and to take enforcement actions when needed;
- To develop and maintain partnerships with municipalities and regional districts, Provincial agency staff, ALR landowners and/or the public.
In 2015, 137 reports of non-compliance were received, 230 inspections were conducted, and 7 Stop Work Order's were issued. The majority of observed contraventions are dealt with informally through compliance actions such as education and warnings to acquire voluntary compliance. Some require more persuasive enforcement actions such as Stop Work Orders, Directives or Administrative Penalties.
Operating with a small C&E staff necessitates working relationships with local government partners as well as Provincial Ministries to ensure the preservation of ALR land. Approximately 20 Natural Resource Officers are currently designated Officials under the ALC Act and may provide inspection services on behalf of the ALC.
More information on the ALC's Compliance and Enforcement Program can be found in the Compliance and Enforcement Management Framework: "ALC's Approach to Ensuring Compliance".