New Park Use Permit - Commercial Filming
New Park Use Permit - Commercial Filming
A park use permit may be required for any filming activities that occur within a provincial park. Commercial filming is any type of filming activity for a film production that may be sold or used for promotional use. A park use permit will prescribe and authorize what activities may occur, which locations may be used in a park, and when the park may be occupied. If you wish to film in an Ecological Reserve, you will require an ecological reserve permit, and only educational filming can be authorized.
Commercial filming activities include production vehicles accessing the park, set construction, filming activities, set removal, and site remediation.
Parks Contacts and Special Conditions
The BC Parks Representative for a particular park can be found in the Park Contacts, Conditions and Restrictions document. The information supplied in this document outlining restrictions and conditions for filming for particular parks must be considered in the application.
There are special conditions and restrictions that apply to many popular filming parks in the Vancouver area due to overlapping operations (e.g. Cypress Mountain Resort, Mt. Seymour Resort) and high public use (e.g. Garibaldi, Cypress, Golden Ears, Cultus Lake, etc.). You are expected to be familiar with these restrictions and have them reflected in your application.
Prior to submitting a park use permit application for filming, you must contact BC Parks to discuss the proposal. Area Supervisors are the main park contacts and the BC Parks staff responsible for particular parks. Contact information for BC Parks' contacts can be found under Park Contacts, Conditions and Restrictions. Depending on the scope of your project, you may be assigned to work with a Film Permit Liaison on a cost-recovery basis to complete your application.
BC Parks will only authorize a park use permit for commercial film production if the proposed activities are not detrimental to recreational values of the parks involved.
BC Parks will permit film productions which do not adversely affect:
- The natural and cultural heritage, recreation, use or appreciation values (Park values) of the Park
- The public's right to free and reasonable access to parks for their inspiration, use and enjoyment
- An asserted or proven aboriginal right (including aboriginal title) or treaty right that is recognized and affirmed by section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982
- The rights of existing Permittees
Proposed commercial filming activities must be consistent with the management direction and special conditions for the park.
No permits or permissions are required for scouting in a park provided all rules for regular public use of the park are followed (e.g. no access to restricted areas, obey all signs in the park, etc.).
No permits are required when filming for a news purpose, which is any filming or photography that is undertaken as an urgent response to an unexpected current event for the express purpose of inclusion in a television news bulletin, newspaper, news magazine or similar topical publication.
"Major shoot" means all commercial filming that is not considered a minor shoot.
"Minor shoot" means commercial filming taking one day at one location with no disturbance to park users or natural resources. The following criteria are also used to determine what is considered a minor shoot:
- Limited number of vehicles (five or less)
- No sets or major equipment
- No alteration to park facilities, furniture, signs, etc.
- Ten or less persons
- Only use of hand held photographic equipment (includes a tripod)
- Minimal or no monitoring required by BC Parks
In order to be eligible to apply for a park use permit for filming, you must first discuss the proposal with the BC Parks representative responsible for the park(s) you are interested in. Contact information for BC Parks' contacts can be found under Park Contacts, Conditions and Restrictions.
The proponent must be any one of the following entities in order to apply for a park use permit application for a commercial recreation, film, research, or land use occupancy:
- Individuals 19 years of age or older;
- Corporations incorporated or registered in British Columbia or, if licensed outside of British Columbia, in compliance with the Business Corporations Act [British Columbia];
- Registered partnerships, cooperatives, and non-profit societies (a society incorporated under the Societies Act (BC)) which are formed under the relevant provincial statutes;
- Educational Institutions;
- First Nations peoples applying through band corporations or Indian Bands and Tribal Councils. Band or Tribal Councils require a Band Council Resolution that:
a) authorizes the council to enter into the permit, and
b) gives the signatories of the permit document the ability to sign on behalf of the Band.
- Municipalities, regional districts, other government entities, and associations.
Costs and Responsibilities
Costs for Film Permit Liaisons
Where if BC Parks Representative assigns a Film Permit Liaison to work with the applicant, film companies will be required to pay costs for the services provided. The Film Permit Liaison will work with the applicant to complete an application that meets BC Parks' standards. Charges will be calculated at $80 per hour (no overtime rates). A minimum call-out fee of 2 hours may be applied for site surveys, site monitoring for pre-film and/or post-film activities or for follow-up compliance inspections.
Cost of location monitoring
Permits issued for major film productions usually require a considerable amount of time to supervise and inspect the activity. Depending upon the size of the production, film companies will be required to pay all costs for a Film Site Monitor appointed by BC Parks. Charges will be calculated at $70 per hour (no overtime rates). A minimum call-out fee of 2 hours may be applied for site surveys, site monitoring for pre-film and/or post-film activities or for follow-up compliance inspections.
Fees and making a payment
- Please see the Fee Schedule - Schedule K, of the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation for a list of park uses and fees. GST (5%) must be added to the fees listed in the fee schedule.
- Application fees of $200 or less are non-refundable, and applications submitted without their required fee will not be processed. Non-profit societies are required to pay application fees but may be exempt from other park use permit fees.
Minor Shoot fee:
- $100 (plus taxes)
Major Shoot fees are the lesser of $50,000 and the sum of the following:
- $1500 per day of filming in each high-value film park
- $750 per day of preparing, wrapping or holding in each high-value film park
- $400 per day of filming, preparing, wrapping or holding in each park that is not a high-value film park
High-value film parks:
- Alice Lake, Brandywine Falls, Coquihalla Canyon, Cultus Lake, Cypress, EC Manning, Elk Falls, Garibaldi, Golden Ears, Goldstream, Gordon Bay, Juan de Fuca, MacMillan (Cathedral Grove), Mount Seymour, Murrin, Peace Arch, Porteau Cove, Rathtrevor, Sasquatch, Shannon Falls, Skaha Bluffs, and Stawamus Chief Park and Protected Area
Fees can be paid online at the time of application, or at a FrontCounter BC location. See Payment Guidelines for more information. Note: Please be sure to include the payment remittance form or the application tracking number if submitting your payment in person or by mail.
- It is your responsibility to obtain all other applicable licences, tenures or permits prior to the issuance of a park use permit. If you will be importing any species for your film shoot, for example, you will require permits from the Ministry of Environment to import wildlife or alien species. For the use of any animal in filming, you must be aware that the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act applies, including Section 327.
- The film company is responsible for all its contractors and employees and will supply all necessary first aid, fire fighting, toilet facilities, police, and traffic control staff and equipment for the duration of the permit.
- Where filming occurs within a Park Operator's (PO) Operating Area, you may be responsible for any additional costs or loss of revenue incurred by the PO that is directly associated with filming activities. You may be advised to contact the applicable PO(s) to determine if there will be any financial impacts by either the BC Parks Representative or, where applicable, the assigned Film Permit Liaison.
- It is your responsibility to visit BC Online and determine whether or not you must be registered to do business in British Columbia.
- To operate in British Columbia, businesses must either be licensed to do business in British Columbia or be in compliance with section 375 of the Business Corporations Act.
- Extra-provincial societies must be registered under the Societies Act in order to hold a park use permit or resource use permit in British Columbia. An extra-provincial society is a society or association, or a specific branch of a society or association, that was formed outside British Columbia.
- A park use permit holder is responsible for abiding by the terms and conditions of the permit document provided.
Prior to the commencement of a major film shoot, you may be required to make a financial guarantee to the Province. If required, the financial guarantee will be included as a condition of the park use permit. The standard minimum amount is $5000, but depending on the impact, risk or term of the film production, the Regional Director may increase or decrease the financial guarantee to reflect the estimated cost to the Province. The financial guarantee is required to ensure diligent, bona fide use, site restoration, clean up, payment of monies owing, and compliance with the provisions of the park use permit. The financial guarantee will be refunded to the film company after all permit conditions have been met, all invoices have been paid, and the satisfactory clean up and restoration of the permit area has been completed.
What you need to apply
Consultation with an Area Supervisor is required prior to submitting an application. Area Supervisors are the BC Parks staff responsible for particular parks. Contact information for BC Parks' contacts can be found in the Park Contacts and Special Conditions document. This document outlines the specific restrictions and conditions for filming in different parks and must be considered in the application..
Completed online application form. Please note that applications are not considered complete until the application fee has been paid and/or co-permittee consent is submitted.
A detailed Management Plan that describes the nature of the filming activities, including the timing, frequency and anticipated number of personnel, and specific location(s). The Management Plan Template can be found here.
Any additional documentation supporting the application, such as photographs or correspondence with First Nations.
Digital maps must be submitted as part of the online application. Map(s) must be submitted for each park included in the application according to the following mapping standards:
- Digital maps submitted as pdfs or image files must include: a north arrow, a scale bar (as described below) and a legend. Georeferenced spatial files may be submitted and must be in BC Albers, NAD 83 projection.
- General Location Map:
- A map of the individual park(s)/ecological reserve(s) within the application
- Drawn between 1:50 000 and 1:250 000 in scale (or larger if a larger scale is required to encompass the boundaries of the permit area)
- Illustrates at a landscape level scale the general location of the area under application, including boundaries of the proposed permit area, travel/access routes and major landmarks
- Permit Area Maps:
- More detailed map(s) of the proposed permit area(s), required in addition to a General Location Map if you have improvements or specific areas of the park that you will be using more intensively
- Drawn from 1:20 000 to 1:50 000 in scale, showing the exact proposed boundaries of the permit area
- Includes the area (in hectares) and any watercourses or other identifying features (trails, facilities, roads, etc.)
- Clearly identify the location of travel/access routes and specific study/activity site(s)
- If applicable, describe the construction, location(s) and use(s) of any new or pre-existing facilities within the permit area, as well as the proposed size(s) and location(s) of all future improvements
- Digital maps or georeferenced spatial files may be prepared using the NROS Explore by Location Tool, FrontCounter BC Discovery Tool or iMapBC Tool (Tutorial).
Consulting First Nations
- The Province is committed to reconciliation as part of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act.
- The Province is responsible for ensuring adequate and appropriate consultation and accommodation, it may involve the proponent in the procedural aspects of consultation.
Proponents are encouraged to engage with First Nations as early as possible in the planning stages to build relationships and for information sharing purposes. To get more information about the guidelines and procedure manuals that are designed to assist government officials and proponents with meeting consultation obligations, please visit the Consulting with First Nations web page.
What happens after you apply
Submitting the application
- Your application will be reviewed to ensure that it is complete. If necessary, you will be contacted for more information.
- An application will not be processed until all required information and the application fee has been received.
- The submission of an application does NOT allow you any rights to the park land. A park use permit, if issued, would grant this authority.
- The target time frame for making a decision on your film permit is 5 business days after a complete application is received. BC Parks target times may be affected by other required processes, such as requests to you for additional information or requirements for First Nations consultation.
- Applications will be processed in the order that they are received. The 5 business day time frame will not be changed to accommodate "rush" applications.
- BC Parks staff will review the application to determine whether additional assessments, such as ecological and archaeological assessments, or consultation, such as First Nations Consultation, may be required. Some assessments will be completed by BC Parks, but other assessments may be the responsibility of the applicant to complete at their own cost.
- BC Parks staff, FrontCounter BC staff and contractors (i.e. Film Permit Liaison) may contact you throughout the application process to discuss your application as required.
- BC Parks considers the impacts of a proposed activity and the particular values of the parklands in question when evaluating a permit application. If your application is denied, you will be provided with a letter indicating the reason(s) for denial.
Request Final Requirements
- If the Statutory Decision Maker approves the permit, the FrontCounter BC permit clerk will email you a draft permit and notify you of the permit's final requirements. If no email address was provided, you will be notified by letter instead.
- Examples of Final Requirements:
- Written agreement to the terms and conditions set out in the draft permit
- Proof of Insurance
- Permit Fee(s)
- Financial Guarantee
- If you do not respond to the Request for Final Requirements by the indicated due date, your application will be withdrawn, your file will be closed, and your application fee will not be refunded.
Issuance of Permit
Once all final requirements are met, the permit will be issued and sent to you by FrontCounter BC via email. If no email address was provided, a hard copy will be sent to you by mail.
Why would my application be denied?
BC Parks always considers the impacts of a proposed activity and the particular values of the park, protected area, conservancy or recreation area in question. If an application is denied, you will be provided with a letter indicating the reason(s) your application was denied. Any application fee that may have been paid will not be refunded. The list below provides some common examples of why BC Parks may deny a film permit application:
- If the film shoot will impact the public's use and enjoyment of the park, conservancy area, protected area or recreation area. For example, the following areas in Alice Lake, Brandywine Falls, Murrin, Shannon Falls, and Stawamus Chief Parks are used extensively by the public between the May long weekend and the end of Thanksgiving weekend every year:
- Facilities near or in high traffic areas, such as parking lots, the lake shore in Murrin Park, the viewing platforms in Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls Parks, the campground and day use areas in Alice Lake Park, and the bouldering area as well as the Chief Peaks Trail and peaks in Stawamus Chief Park.
- If it is determined that there are risks to public safety from a film shoot. For example, no commercial filming is typically allowed within MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove) between the dates of May 15 through September 15 because filming in the park presents public safety risks related to the volume of park visitors and traffic flow on the adjacent highway during this time.
- If the proposed dates for the film shoot conflict with other permitted operations or park events. For example, another special event, such as a race, another film shoot or educational event may be taking place in the park during the proposed filming dates. Again, it is recommended that you discuss proposed film shoots with a BC Parks representative prior to submitting your film permit application and non-refundable application fee.
- Filming in ecological reserves requires an ecological reserve permit and may only be authorized for films pertaining to ecological research or educational purposes. For more information, refer to the guidance for ecological reserve permits.