Ministry of Agriculture

Key Legislation

The legislative context for the Strengthening Farming Program rests largely in four pieces of legislation.

The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act  (FPPA) was passed by the Legislature and came into force in April of 1996. Along with the FPPA, consequential amendments were made at the same time to the Municipal Act (now Local Government Act) and the Land Title Act. The Agricultural Land Commission Act, dating to 1973, also provides important context for the Strengthening Farming Program.

Agricultural Land Commission Act

The Agricultural Land Commission Act provides the legislative framework for the preservation of BC's scarce agricultural resource. The legislation provides for the establishment of the provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and outlines its objectives, powers, application processes, use of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and relationships with local governments.

The Act takes precedence over most other provincial legislation and local government bylaws.

Purposes of the Agricultural Land Commission:


to preserve agricultural land;


to encourage farming on agricultural land in collaboration with other communities of interest;


to encourage local governments, first nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies.







Agricultural Land Commission Act

Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act

The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (FPPA) applies to farmers who operate in the ALR, in other areas where farming is permitted by local zoning bylaws, or in areas licensed for aquaculture. When farmers operate under "normal farm practices", the Act protects the farmer against nuisance actions, court injunctions, or specific nuisance bylaws related to the operation of the farm.

The FPPA established the Farm Practices Board (now called the Farm Industry Review Board) as the tribunal that considers complaints from persons aggrieved by odour, noise, dust, or other disturbances resulting from farm operations, and encourages settlement of the complaints. In the case of complaints that are not settled, the Board will hear the complaints and determine whether the disturbance in question results from normal farm practices.

BC Ministry of Agriculture staff throughout the province may also work with persons concerned about a farm practice in an attempt to resolve the concern before the complaint reaches the Board.

The Board, on its own initiative, upon the request of a local government or as directed by the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, may study any matter related to farm practices and report its findings and recommendations.

Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act



Land Title Act

The Land Title Act gives approving officers the power to assess impacts of new subdivisions on farmland. Before subdivision approval is given, the approving officers may require adequate buffering of farmland from the subdivision or the removal of unnecessary roads directed at the ALR to ensure no unreasonable interference occurs with farm operations.

Matters to be considered by approving officer on application for approval:


86(1) Without limiting section 85(3), in considering an application for subdivision approval, the approving officer may


refuse to approve the subdivision plan, if the approving officer considers that


(x) the anticipated development of the subdivision would unreasonably interfere with farming operations on adjoining or reasonably adjacent properties, due to inadequate buffering or separation of the development from the farm, or


(xi) despite subparagraph (ix), the extent or location of highways and highway allowances shown on the plan is such that it would unreasonably or unnecessarily increase access to land in an agriculture land reserve.
Land Title Act



Local Government Act

The Local Government Act provides the legislative framework for local governments. It determines how new municipalities are created or expanded, the election of councils and boards, the assessment and collection of taxes, administration, property management and spending.

Under the Act, certain provisions address agriculture such as those covering community planning, zoning, nuisance regulations, the removal and deposit of soil, weed and pest control and water use and drainage.

Particular sections of the Act address planning for agriculture:

  • policy statements in community plans to include policies respecting the maintenance and enhancement of farming on land in a farming area or in an area designated for agricultural use in a community plan.  (S. 878(1)(c))
  • adoption procedures require that official community plans applied to land in the Agricultural Land Reserve must be referred to the Agricultural Land Commission for comment prior to adoption.  (S. 882(3)(c))
  • prohibition of intensive agriculture

    • the approval of the minister responsible for the Farm Practices Protection Act is required for zoning bylaws of local governments that would prohibit or restrict the farm use of land in farming areas. Farming areas are defined as land within the ALR or under an aquaculture licence.  (S. 903(5))
  • use of land for agricultural operations: (Div. 8, S. 915 to 919) The Minister of Agriculture is responsible for this division of the Act which:

    • provides that intensive agriculture is a permitted use of land in the ALR despite a local zoning bylaw that prohibits that use. (S. 915)

    • allows the minister to establish agricultural standards for the guidance of local governments in the preparation of the various bylaws affecting agriculture.    (S. 916)

    • allows for the creation of "farm bylaws" that will give more flexibility in specific planning standards for agricultural operations.   (S. 917)

    • allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to create a regulation in order to allow application of S. 903(5) and S. 917 in specific geographic areas. (S.918)

    • enables the implementation of a process to review zoning bylaws to meet the minister's standards or modified in a manner agreed to by the minister.    (S. 919)
  • development permit areas for the protection of farming (S. 919.1(1)(c)). This provision allows development permits to contain requirements for screening, landscaping, fencing and siting of buildings or structures, in order to provide buffering or separation of development from farming on adjoining or adjacent land. (S. 920(10))


Local Government Act
Quick Links to Local Government Act :
Part 26 - Planning and Land Use Management
Division 2 - Official Community Plans
  878 Policy Statements in community plans (Sec.878(1)(c))
  882 Adoption procedures (Sec.882(3)(c))
Division 7 - Zoning and Other Development Regulation
  903 Zoning bylaws (Sec.903(5))
Division 8 - Regulation of Farm Business in Farming Areas
  915 Intensive agriculture
  916 Provincial standards for zoning and farm bylaws
  917 Farm bylaws
  918 Application
  919 Three year review of bylaws affecting farming areas
Division 9 - Permits and Fees
  919.1 Designation of development permit areas
  920 Development permits (Sec.920(10))