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Legislation, Acts and Regulations
BC Parks’ legislation outlines its obligations and authorities with respect to the protected places under its responsibility.
Changes to British Columbia’s protected areas system through legislative amendments continue the ongoing process of designing and implementing a system that provides for improved protection of environmental and cultural values, providing recreational experiences and providing economic opportunities to communities.
BC Parks is committed to keeping the public informed about legislative changes to the provincial protected areas system by providing information regarding those changes.
Recent Legislative Amendments
Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2018
The Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2018 (Bill 19 – 2018) was introduced in the Legislature on May 7, 2018.
Firstly, this legislation, if passed, will:
- Add lands totalling more than 1,600 hectares to ten Class A parks and one conservancy;
- Remove lands totalling 24 hectares from five Class A parks;
- Rename three Class A parks to reflect Indigenous names;
- Provide improved boundary descriptions using Official Plans for 15 ecological reserves and five Class A parks; and
- Correct administrative errors in the descriptions of three Class A parks.
Secondly, this legislation will repeal section 4(c) of the Parks and Protected Areas Statutes Amendment Act, 2003, which amends the boundary of Graham-Laurier Park. This amendment has not yet been brought into force. This amendment is no longer needed and is thus being repealed.
Here are the official plans for:
- Cape Scott Park [PDF]
- Chilliwack Lake Park [PDF]
- Duu Guusd Conservancy [PDF]
- Kleanza Creek Park [PDF]
- Monashee Park [PDF]
- Monkman Park [PDF]
- Okeover Arm Park [PDF]
- Otter Lake Park [PDF]
- Sasquatch Park [PDF]
- Syringa Park [PDF]
- Tā Ch’ilā Park (a.k.a. Boya Lake Park) [PDF]
- Chilliwack River Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Doc English Bluff Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Drizzle Lake Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Duke of Edinburgh (Pine/Storm/Tree Islets) Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Honeymoon Bay Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Katherine Tye Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Kingcome River/Atlatzi River Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Klaskish Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Lasqueti Island Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Mount Tinsdale Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Skagit River Cottonwoods Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Skagit River Forest Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Torkelsen Lake Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Tranquille Ecological Reserve [PDF]
- Woodley Range Ecological Reserve [PDF]
Copies of the official plans (i.e., mapped boundaries) that are included in the recent legislative amendments are provided above. It is important to note that the official plan and the legal description in the Act must be considered together. When an official plan is used, it is not necessarily the full description of the protected area.
Acts and Regulations
The British Columbia protected areas system is governed by the following several pieces of legislation (acts and regulations).
Ecological Reserve Act and Regulations
The Ecological Reserve Act provides for the establishment and administration of ecological reserves. Ecological reserves are established by inclusion to the schedules of the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act or by order in council under the Act.
The Ecological Reserve Regulations identifies conduct and activities that are not appropriate in an ecological reserve.
Park Act and Regulations
The Park Act provides for the establishment, classification and management of parks, conservancies and recreation areas. Under the authority of the Park Act, there are three classes of parks: Class A, B and C. Class A parks and conservancies are established by inclusion in the schedules to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act or by order in council under the Act. Class B and C parks and recreation areas are established by order in council under the Act.
The Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation provides regulations around the requirement for permits; public conduct and enforcement; the use of motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft; the use of firearms for hunting and fishing; waste management; camping and picnicking; fees; and the authority of park rangers.
Protected Areas of British Columbia Act
Protected Areas of British Columbia Act consolidates in its schedules most of the Class A parks, conservancies and ecological reserves for the purposes of the Park Act and the Ecological Reserve Act. The Act ensures that the boundaries of these areas cannot be modified to remove lands except by an Act of the Legislature. There are six schedules in this Act:
Schedule A includes those ecological reserves with Official Plans (i.e., mapped boundaries) or updated metes and bounds descriptions.
Schedule B includes ecological reserves which have been continued by adoptive reference to their original orders in council and their boundaries are defined by either metes and bounds or “as outlined in red on the map” descriptions.
Schedule C includes many of the older Class A parks (those established prior to 1995) and those established since 1995 which do require the enabling provisions of section 30 of the Park Act which grandfathers pre-existing uses and allow range tenures to continue.
Schedule D includes newer Class A parks established since 1995 or older parks which have had recent additions which require the enabling provisions of section 30 of the Park Act to allow pre-existing uses and range tenures to continue.
Schedule E includes most conservancies. Section 20.1 of the Park Act, which gives the Minister the authority to issue a park use permit for road construction through the conservancy to access natural resources lying beyond the conservancy, does not apply to the conservancies named and described in Schedule E.
Schedule F includes conservancies in which the Minister has the authority to issue a park use permit for road construction through the conservancy to access natural resources lying beyond the conservancy (section 20.1 of the Park Act).
Environment and Land Use Act
This Act empowers a Land Use Committee of Cabinet to ensure all aspects of the preservation and maintenance of the natural environment are fully considered in the administration of land use and resource development. Orders can be made respecting the environment or land use, including the establishment of protected areas. The Act is under the administration of the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act
Only sections 5(b), and 6 and 9 of the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act relate to the portfolio of the Minister of Environment. Section 5(b) describes one of the functions of the Ministry as being to encourage outdoor recreation, establish parks and conserve the natural scenic and historic features of British Columbia. Section 6 provides the Minister with the authority, for the purposes of the Act, to enter into agreements (subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council) with the Government of Canada, the government of another province, or with any other person or a municipality. Section 9 gives authority to the minister to dispose of, acquire and manage land for ministry purposes.
Ministry of Environment Act
The Ministry of Environment Act gives the Minister authority to acquire property and to enter into agreements with other governments with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.