BC Parks’ legislation outlines its obligations and authorities with respect to the protected places under its responsibility.

About legislative amendments

Changes to British Columbia’s protected areas system are carried out through legislative amendments. These allow BC Parks to manage a system that protects environmental and cultural values, and provides recreational experiences and economic opportunities to communities.

BC Parks is committed to keeping the public informed about legislative changes to the provincial protected areas system.

Recent legislative amendments

Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 3), 2023

This act was introduced on October 31, 2023. It will amend the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act to adjust the boundary of E.C. Manning Park. The amendment is proposed to Schedule D to modify the boundary description to remove one hectare from the park adjacent to Highway #3. This is to enable the replacement of Snass Creek and 19 Mile bridges by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

To learn more:

Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2023

This act was introduced on February 8, 2023 and received Royal Assent on March 9, 2023. The legislation includes an amendment to the boundary of Thorsen Creek Conservancy. The proposed amendment modifies the boundary of the 8,504-hectare Thorsen Creek Conservancy to correct an error. It will remove 14 hectares from the northwestern corner of the conservancy.

To learn more:

Acts and regulations

The British Columbia protected areas system is governed by the following 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 identify behaviour 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 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 related to:

  • 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
  • The authority of park rangers

Protected Areas of British Columbia Act

The 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 (in other words, mapped boundaries) or updated metes and bounds descriptions.
  • Schedule B includes ecological reserves that 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 before 1995) and those established since 1995 that do require the enabling provisions of section 30 of the Park Act, which grandfather preexisting uses and allow range tenures to continue.
  • Schedule D includes newer Class A parks established since 1995 or older parks that have had recent additions, which require the enabling provisions of section 30 of the Park Act to allow preexisting uses and range tenures to continue.
  • Schedule E includes most conservancies. Section 20.1 of the Park Act (described under Schedule F, below) 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

The Environment and Land Use 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 Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.

Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act

Only sections 5(b), 6, and 9 of the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act relate to the portfolio of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy:

  • 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 any other person or 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.