Working with Ministries and Other Agencies
Policies and Planning
The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is mandated to encourage local governments, First Nations, and the provincial government and its agents, to take the interests of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and agriculture into account when developing or updating policies, plans, bylaws, laws, and regulation.
Governments and their agents can have considerable impact on agricultural land through such things as transportation & infrastructure planning, wildlife habitat management and conservation, forestry management, water & wastewater management, resource extraction, and energy planning.
Accordingly, the ALC works to be proactive and collaborative in its engagement with local governments, first nations, and government ministries on the development of their plans, bylaws and policies to enable and accommodate farm use of the agriculture land reserve.
As part of the Ministry of Agriculture (the “Ministry”) Strengthening Farming program, the ALC and the Ministry have formed Agri-Teams to provide assistance to local governments with land in the ALR. More information regarding Agri-Teams can be found on the Ministry’s Support for Local Governments Planning for Agriculture webpage.
Memorandum of Understanding – Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation
Information on land use plans and bylaw development can be found in the ALC Bylaw Reviews: A Guide for Local Governments and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Guide for Bylaw Development in Farming Areas.
Delegation of Decision Making to Agencies
The ALC Act empowers the ALC to delegate some or all of the Commission’s authority to decide non-farm use and subdivision applications to a First Nation government on First Nation’s Settlement Lands or to “an agent of government, a public body or public officer other than a local government” on lands within their jurisdictions. A decision to enter into a delegation agreement is voluntary and imparts to the delegate the authority to uphold the ALC Act
The ALC Act, Section 26 (5), stipulates that once a delegation agreement has been struck, the First Nation, government, public body or public officer must apply Section 6 to their decision-making and their decision is treated as a decision of the Commission for the purposes of the Act.
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 ensuring ALR lands are preserved and protected.
While a delegation agreement is entered into voluntarily by both parties, the ALC must carefully weigh the ability of delegate agencies to fully honour the ALC’s statutory obligations. Contents of a delegation agreement can include: principles, criteria or policies related to the decisions being delegated and clearly communicated expectations related to information requirements, application processes, form and content of decisions, timelines, communication policy, reviews, audits and evaluations, addressing conflicts, and when changes to the agreement are necessary and how they are to be made. Considerable training may be required for an authority to assume the delegated authority and properly execute the statutory role under the ALC Act.
The ALC retains the right to withdraw a delegation agreement if the terms of the agreement are abrogated in any way. Local governments will be consulted during the negotiation of a delegation agreement with an external authority.
Active Delegation Agreements with Other Agencies
Oil and Gas Commission (OGC)
The ALC signed a delegation agreement under Section 26 of the ALC Act with the OGC. The OGC and ALC Delegation Agreement came into effect April 1, 2004 and was most recently updated on December 8, 2017.
As a result of statutory changes made in 2023 to the mandate, authorities and board structure of the Oil and Gas Commission, now known as the BC Energy Regulator (BCER), the BCER and ALC have signed a letter that sets out that the BCER recognizes that the delegation authority provided by the ALC is limited and does not extend to their new authorities:
In November 2013, the ALC created a historical overview of the ALC’s position regarding oil and gas activities in the ALR.
In 2009, the ALC conducted an audit of the then delegation agreement. The audit examined OGC approvals and related activities in the Peace River Regional District occurring in fiscal 2006 and 2007 – April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2008.
Other Key OGC Delegation Agreement Documents
- Schedule A – Pre-Site Assessment
- Schedule B – Reclamation Assessment
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – Updated June 2013
- Landowner Information for Oil and Gas Activities in British Columbia