Provincial Government Planning

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Under Canada’s Constitution Act, 1867 the Government of Canada received one set of responsibilities, while the governments of the provinces were given another. Environment (or watershed management) is nowhere to be found in the division of responsibilities, and both levels of government have powers over some issues that relate to watershed planning. However a number of key areas of responsibility means that the province is responsible for much of what is now considered watershed management or environmental protection.

The Government of British Columbia is responsible for, among other things:

  • Management and sale of provincial lands (which constitute 95% of the province),
  • Property and civil rights (which includes control over environmental problems affecting the *Exploration and development of non-renewable and forestry resources in the province, and
  • Production and generation of electricity.

As a result, the government of British Columbia is responsible for most of the land use legislation and planning in the province. By taking on planning itself, or by funding, requiring, and/or facilitating planning efforts by others, the provincial government has the largest role in planning for watershed management. Other governments – including Federal, Local and Aboriginal governments – may carry out planning, but the province is usually a key player.

The Integrated Land Management Bureau – an agency overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands – is responsible for higher level provincial planning initiatives. Other key provincial players include: Ministry of Forests and Range , Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Community Development, and the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

There are three predominant types of land use planning initiated or required by the Province of British Columbia:

  • Province wide strategic land use planning – Planning designed to set social goals and objectives for land use. This type of planning reflects the values that a community or the province has, and helps to direct specific land use decisions made in the area under the plan. In B.C. most strategic planning is carried out on Crown (provincial) Land.
  • Planning for particular resource uses – Forestry, water use, pesticide use – There are many types of activities that government requires planning for. Depending on the type of activity the government may lead the planning, approve plans developed by others or set rules for private parties to use while planning.
  • Growth management or urban planning – Planning by local governments helps control how urban and rural lands will be developed for human habitation.

Provincial policies and directives provide guidance to all the other levels of decision-making in the land use planning system. Cabinet may approve provincial policies, goals and strategies for the protection and use of the province’s natural resources in response to social preference and broad-scale economic and environmental considerations.

Related Guide Pages:

For more information about Provincial Planning: