Social Services Camping Fee Exemption

The Social Services Camping Fee Exemption is available to people with disabilities who are receiving income assistance. If you qualify, you do not have to pay the base camping fee for any stay at a frontcountry campground.

For help getting the Camping Fee Exemption, see our quick-start guide. Need more information? Look below to find out:

The Camping Fee Exemption applies only to the base camping fee that pays for your campsite. It does not apply to the transaction fees you pay when making a reservation. For more information on the difference between camping fees and transaction fees, see the camping fees page.

Quick-start guide

People with disabilities receiving income assistance can claim the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption.

You may qualify if you or a member of your party receives assistance through one of these programs:

  • Indigenous Services Canada Disability Income Assistance
  • B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development At Home Program
  • B.C. Ministry of Social Development disability benefits

If you qualify, your party does not have to pay the base camping fee for frontcountry camping. You also get free parking for two vehicles.

You must still pay a $6 per night transaction fee if you make a reservation. For more information on transaction fees, see the camping fees page.

You may also have to pay camping fees for additional goods and services like firewood or electrical hook-up.

When you make a reservation, choose the exemption at checkout. You cannot claim it later. For more information, see when you make a reservation, below.

When you arrive at the park, you must show proof that you qualify. If you do not bring the correct documents, you will have to pay camping fees in full.

For detailed information on how to get the proof you need, see how to get the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption, below.

What the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption covers

Look in this section for information on:

Campsites

The Social Services Camping Fee Exemption only applies to frontcountry campsites, not including groupsites. The Camping Fee Exemption includes:

  • One regular campsite for free, or one double campsite for half price
  • Free parking for two cars

To see if you qualify, please read the who qualifies for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption section, below.

You can use the Camping Fee Exemption for any frontcountry camping trip, at any time of year. You can stay at a campground for up to 14 nights in a year. The exemption does not apply to the long-stay programs offered at some parks, backcountry reservations, or backcountry permit registration.

Reservations and first come, first served camping

You can claim the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption when you make a campsite reservation. You can also claim this exemption when you arrive at the campground without a reservation (‘first come, first served’ camping).

Some campgrounds, particularly in busy parks, require reservations. We suggest you always make a reservation, if possible. To see if the park you are visiting accepts reservations or first come, first served camping, find the park’s webpage.

If you book ahead, you must claim the exemption when you make your reservation. You cannot claim it later. To learn more, see when you make a reservation, below.

Camping parties

The Social Services Camping Fee Exemption applies to the base camping fee. This pays for your campsite and parking for one vehicle. The Camping Fee Exemption also covers parking for one additional vehicle if space is available.

This exemption does not cover the transaction fees you pay when making a reservation. For more information, see what is not covered, below.

Only one party can stay on a site. For regular sites, this means no more than four adults and eight people overall, including under-16s. Two camping parties can stay on a double site. The exemption provides a half-price base fee for double sites.

For more about party sizes, see the frontcountry camping page or download the camping fees and information supplement [PDF].

What is not covered

Even though the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption covers your base camping fee, you may have to pay some fees. The exemption does not cover additional fees for firewood, electrical hook-up, and other on-site services.

The Camping Fee Exemption does not apply to the transaction fees you pay when making a reservation. These include reservation fees, change fees, cancellation fees (all $6 plus tax), and the call centre surcharge ($5 plus tax).

For more information on the difference between camping fees and transaction fees, visit the camping fees page.

Who qualifies for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption

To qualify for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption, you must be a resident of British Columbia and match one of the following descriptions:

  • An Indigenous Person living on-reserve and receiving Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Disability Income Assistance from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)
  • The immediate family of a child on the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) At Home Program 
  • An adult receiving benefits from the B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (MSDPR)

People who are only receiving health supplements from the MSDPR do not qualify for this exemption.

Campgrounds that are included

The Social Services Camping Fee Exemption applies to regular camping at a frontcountry campground. A frontcountry campground is defined as one within 1 km of a highway or park road. To see if the campground you are visiting is in the frontcountry, find the park’s webpage.

For information on frontcountry camping and reservation policies, see the frontcountry camping page.

The Camping Fee Exemption cannot be applied to camping in backcountry areas. A backcountry area is one that is more than 1 km away from any highway or park road. The exemption does not apply even if the backcountry area has formal campgrounds that accept reservations.

The Camping Fee Exemption also does not apply to: 

How to get the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption

There are two stages to getting the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption. To get this exemption, you must:

Step-by-step instructions for both these stages are provided below. If you need any additional help, contact parkinfo@gov.bc.ca.

Claim the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption

You must claim the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption before you pay any fees. If you pay any fees first, you cannot use the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption later to get a refund.

When you make a reservation

If you book in advance, you must apply the Social Services Camping Fee exemption when you make your reservation. You cannot apply the exemption to a reservation after you arrive at the campground.

If you book online at camping.bcparks.ca, choose the exemption when you check out. When the reservation service asks you to choose a rate, select ‘Social Services Exemption’. You will be charged a $0 base camping fee.

If you book by phone at 1-800-689-9025 (1-519-858-6161 internationally), tell the call centre agent you’d like to use the exemption.

If you make a mistake when booking online or forget to request the camping fee, contact the call centre, and ask to adjust your reservation.

Before your camping trip, you must obtain the required documents that prove you qualify for the exemption. For more information, see show you qualify for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption, below.

For detailed information on how to make a reservation, visit the frontcountry camping page.

When you camp on a first come, first serves basis

After you arrive, the park operator will ask to see photo ID and the documents proving you qualify for the exemption. For information on how to get these documents, see show you qualify for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption.

If you would like to discuss the exemption with the park operator before your trip, find the park’s webpage. Look in the ‘learn about this park’ section for contact details. If you need more help from us, email parkinfo@gov.bc.ca.

Show you qualify for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption

When you arrive at the campground, you must show that you qualify for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption. If you do not have the correct documents, you will have to pay your base camping fee or leave the campground.

Once you have paid your camping fee, you cannot claim it back as a refund. After you have paid your fees, the Camping Fee Exemption cannot be applied, even if you can prove you qualify.

The documents you need and how you get them will depend on which program you are part of. Below, we provide step-by-step instructions for showing you qualify under these programs:

Remember, if you need more help, you can always email us at parkinfo@gov.bc.ca.

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) Disability Income Assistance

If you are living on-reserve and receiving PWD Disability Income Assistance from ISC, you can claim the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption. Here is how to show you qualify.

Before your camping trip:

  • Contact your Band Social Development Worker
  • Ask them for a ‘release of personal information’ form
  • Make sure the date on the form is from the current calendar year

When you arrive at the campground:

  • Show the park operator the original form and a piece of photo ID (for example, your BC Driver’s Licence, BC Services Card, or BCID)

B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development At Home Program

Are you the parent or legal guardian of a child who is part of the MCFD At Home Program? Then you can claim the Social Services Camping Fee exemption. Here is how to show you qualify.

Before your camping trip, get a letter of eligibility from an At Home Program regional coordinator [PDF]. Contact your social worker or an At Home Program regional office [PDF] to get started.

When you arrive, show the park operator the original letter of eligibility plus photo ID for you and your child (BC Services Card or BCID). The letter must be shown to the park operator by the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Helpful resources

B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction PWD benefits

If you are an adult receiving PWD benefits from the MSDPR, you can claim the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption. You will need one of two forms to prove that qualify under PWD benefits. You do not need both forms.

  • Either get a ‘confirmation of assistance’ form, which is available from the MSDPR My Self Serve website
  • Or an MSDPR income assistance office can send you a fully completed ‘release of personal information’ form

To find an MSDPR income assistance office in your area, see the contact details on the BC Government website.

If you get a confirmation of assistance form, please make sure it:

  • Includes your name, is dated with the current calendar year, and gives an ‘estimated assistance amount’ of more than zero
  • States you are “Currently receiving Disability Assistance under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act”

If you get a release of personal information form, please make sure it:

  • Is dated with the current calendar year and includes your name as well as a dated signature
  • Includes the name, dated signature, and contact information of an authorized MSDPR representative
  • States you receive “Persons with Disability Assistance under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act from ISC or MDSPR”

When you arrive at the campground:

  • Show the park operator your original ‘release of personal information’ form or a copy of your confirmation of assistance form 
  • Also show the park operator a piece of photo ID (for example, your BC Driver’s Licence, BC Services Card, or BCID)
  • If you cannot show one of the correct documents, you must either pay the base camping fee or leave the campground

Helpful resources