- B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) protects B.C.'s farmland for future generations and is rare in Canada. Only two other provinces (Ontario and Québec) have zones where agriculture is a priority.
- The B.C. government brought clarity to businesses and individuals considering planting trees for things like carbon sequestration on land in ALR. These business and individuals will need to apply for permission from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) first.
Carbon Sequestration on ALR Land:
- In July 2016, the B.C. government provided clarity to businesses and individuals considering planting trees for things like carbon sequestration on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) – they will need to apply for permission from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) first.
- A regulatory change under the Agricultural Land Commission Act requires land owners in the ALR to make an application to the commission to plant trees on properties larger than 20 hectares, if those trees are not for an accepted ALC farm use such as food production or agroforestry.
- The change followed discussions with stakeholders including the ALC, BC Cattlemen's Association and the BC Agriculture Council. The 20-hectare threshold was determined as a result of those discussions, recognizing 20 hectares is large enough for most agricultural purposes, and carbon sequestration projects would require a larger land area than that to be feasible.
- The legislative clarity follows 2015 discussions between the Ministry of Agriculture and a private company that had been planting coniferous trees on land in the ALR under a program to sequester carbon and promote the company’s carbon neutrality.
- The regulation is posted at: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/oic_cur/0508_2016
Responsibilities of Land Owners in B.C.'s ALR:
- The ALC is an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia.
- It is important to note that owners of farmland are required to follow all relevant federal, provincial and local government laws and regulations, regardless of their residence.
- In addition, owners of land in British Columbia's ALR, must abide by all regulations and decisions of the independent Agricultural Land Commission.
- B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve protects B.C.'s farmland for future generations and is unique in Canada, only two other provinces (Ontario and Quebec) have zones where agriculture is a priority.
- The Agricultural Land Reserve is managed by an independent Agricultural Land Commission with a clear mandate: preserve agricultural land and encourage farming in British Columbia.
- There are approximately 4.7 million hectares of land in the ALR. The land in the ALR has increased by 32,000 hectares since 2001.
- The Agricultural Land Commission has developed resources about Living in the ALR at http://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/alr-maps/living-in-the-alr
Government Communications and Public EngagementMinistry of Agriculture