VICTORIA, B.C – Amendments have been made to the Agricultural Land Commission Act to improve the ability to preserve farmland, farming and protect local food supplies through the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

Changes to Bill 15 strengthen the ALC by giving the commission more flexibility to create decision-making panels that can better consider local and regional circumstances for land within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) shares the government.

The amendment allows the ALC to reduce decision wait times for landowners, to make better use of the commissioners, drawing on their expertise in a related technical field or land-use issue.

The process to permanently remove farmland from the ALR now will go through a planning approach so that only local governments, First Nations and other prescribed bodies can make exclusion applications directly to the ALC.

According to the government, this change strengthens the exclusion application process by empowering local governments to ensure ALC decisions align with the land-use plans in their own communities.

Private landowners can still request that their land be removed from the ALR provided their local government agrees and makes the application to the ALC.

Local governments indicated they need sufficient transition time to implement these changes. This change will go into effect on Sept. 30, 2020.