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ALC Application Streams

When an application arrives at the ALC, there are three application streams that the application may take depending on the type of application: Commission Panel, Executive Committee, or Chief Executive Officer Delegation.

The application stream is determined at the beginning of the application process with referral of the application by the ALC Chair to the appropriate stream. In certain circumstances, an application may also change streams during its review process. The stream in which an application follows is determined by the Agricultural Land Commission Act and specific delegation agreements. Applicants and local governments cannot request a specific stream.

Section 11 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act allows the Chair of the Commission to establish panels for decision making. There are six regional decision making panels: the Interior, Island, Kootenay, North, Okanagan, and South Coast; and a Soil and Fill Use, and Filming panel. 

Each panel is comprised of a minimum of two members which carry out certain duties of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and represents the ALC in different areas of British Columbia. Panel members provide regional knowledge and experience to consideration of applications.

A panel has all the powers, duties and functions of the ALC in relation to an application or other matters referred to it, and a decision of a panel is for all purposes a decision of the ALC.

The chair has the authority to appoint Vice Chairs to serve on the Executive Committee. Although most applications are considered by the regional panels, the Executive Committee considers:

  1. applications that may be of provincial importance;
  2. applications that raise an issue that is novel or is otherwise of general importance for the administration of the ALC Act; and,
  3. applications that may substantially affect more than one panel region.

The Executive Committee has all the powers, duties and functions of the ALC in relation to an application referred to it under this section, and a decision of the Executive Committee is a decision of the Commission.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is accountable for the exercise of powers assigned under the Agricultural Land Commission Act (the “ALC Act“) and other duties as assigned by the ALC. Section 27 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act states that the ALC, by resolution, may establish criteria under which the following the CEO may approve applications for exclusion, subdivision or non-farm use and applications with respect to specified regions of British Columbia. If the CEO considers that the application does not meet the criteria specified, or for any other reason does not wish to approve the application, the application must be referred by the Chair to the applicable regional panel for a decision.

An approval of an application by the CEO is a decision of the ALC for the purposes of the ALC Act.

CEO Delegated Authority Criteria

Other Approving Authorities in the ALR

The ALC Act empowers the ALC to delegate certain decision making to an “authority” – which is defined as “an agent of government, a public body or public officer” with whom the ALC has an agreement. By this means, the ALC may, by agreement, transfer certain of its powers and authority to another agency. Section 26 (5) of the Agricultural Land Commission Act stipulates that once a delegation agreement has been struck, any decision taken by the delegated authority is treated with the same force and effect as a decision of the ALC.

The goal, in these situations, is to take advantage of an external agency’s capacity to help reduce duplication of application requirements and to streamline processing while still ensuring that ALR lands are preserved and protected.

For details on current delegation agreement, refer to the Working with Ministries and other Agencies section.

Section 21 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act provides that a person must not subdivide agricultural land unless permitted by the Agricultural Land Commission Act, the Regulation or an order of the Commission. However, Section 3 of the Agricultural Land Reserve General Regulation prescribes criteria for specific types of subdivisions that can be permitted by an approving officer, including boundary line adjustment subdivisions provided that they meet certain criteria.

Subdivisions Near Agriculture: A Guide for Approving Officers – Ministry of Agriculture, 1996