VICTORIA, B.C. – B.C. has announced new rules that will allow property owners in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) increased housing flexibility.

With these new rules, farmers and non-farmers will help support their families and businesses in their respective communities.

Additional small secondary homes have been added to the regulations, which will allow farmers and ALR landowners to have both a principal residence and a smaller secondary residence on their property. The only permissions needed will be from local government or First Nations governments, and applications to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) are needed.

The additional residence can be used for housing extended family, agritourism accommodation, housing for farmhands, or a rental property for another source of income.

It is no longer required that the landowner or immediate family use the additional residence.

“Our government’s goal from the outset has been to protect farmland for future generations, so British Columbians can have a secure local food system and our communities can prosper,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

“We recognize the unique needs of established farming families, those new to farming and those living in the ALR who don’t farm.”

Some examples of flexible housing options permitted under this new regulation include but are not limited to:

These changes are due to feedback received in engagement sessions and the ministry’s policy intentions papers, where ALR landowners made it clear that they wanted this type of flexibility.

“We took the time to listen and come up with solutions that will help both farmers and non-farmers alike, while protecting the integrity of our valuable agricultural land,” Popham said.

“We hope this regulatory change will assist new farmers starting their businesses, encourage landowners to partner with new farmers to get their land into production, and address the needs of British Columbian families. Having an option for housing opens up new doors to families and provides more opportunities for more agricultural land to go into production, increasing our province’s food security.”

Farming families are to continue to apply for the ALC for multiple, larger homes if necessary for farming purposes.

The new rules will take into effect beginning December 31st, 2021.