New Park Use Permit - Commercial Filming

New Park Use Permit - Commercial Filming

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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 includes: 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 evaluate the proposal and may authorize a park use permit for commercial film production, provided that the proposed activities are not detrimental to recreational values of the parks involved.

BC Parks will permit film productions which do not adversely affect: 

  1. The natural and cultural heritage, recreation, use and appreciation values (Park values) of the Park;
  2. The public right to free and reasonable access to parks for their inspiration, use and enjoyment;
  3. 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; and,
  4. 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 permission 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 for filming for news purposes, which includes filming or photography that has as its subject an unexpected current event, is undertaken during or soon after the event as an urgent response to the event and is 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:

  1. Limited number of vehicles (five or less)
  2. No sets or major equipment
  3. No alteration to park facilities, furniture, signs, etc;
  4. Ten or less persons;
  5. Use of less persons;
  6. Only use of hand held photographic equipment (includes a tripod); and
  7. Minimal or no monitoring required by BC Parks




In order to be eligible to apply for a park use permit for filming you must have discussed 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:

  1. Individuals 19 years of age or older;
  2. Corporations - may be incorporated or registered in British Columbia, but must be in compliance with the Business Corporations Act [BC]
  3. Registered partnerships, cooperatives, and non-profit societies (a society incorporated under the Societies Act (BC) which are formed under the relevant provincial statutes; or
  4. Educational Institutions;
  5. First Nations peoples applying through band corporations or Indian Bands and Tribal Councils. Band or Tribal Councils require a Band Council Resolution a) authorizing the council to enter into the permit, and b) giving the signatories of the permit document the ability to sign on behalf of the Band; or
  6. Municipalities, regional districts, other government entities, and associations.

Costs and Responsibilities

Costs for Film Permit Liaisons

Where a 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 prepare a complete application that meets BC Parks' standards. Charges will be calculated on an hourly rate of $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.

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 $60/hr (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

  1. Fee Schedule - Schedule K, of the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation. GST (5%) must be added to the listed fees in the fee schedule.
  2. Application fees of $200 are non-refundable and applications will not be processed without the applicable application fee being submitted. Non-profit societies are required to pay application fees but may be exempt from other park use permit fees.
  3. Making a payment:
    1.  The application fee can be paid online during the application process by Credit Card or Interac Online. Acceptable Credit Card options include: Visa, Visa Debit, Master Card, Debit Master Card and American Express)
    2. Mail a cheque or money order (Payable to Minister of Finance) to any FrontCounter BC office. Cheques and Money orders will only be accepted in Canadian funds. Along with your payment, you will need to provide either your Remittance Form that is printable during the online application process OR provide your application tracking number.
    3. Pay in person at one of the FrontCounter BC locations. Please check the locations page for information about the offices, when they are open, and what payment method each location accepts. You will need bring either your Remittance Form that is printable during the online application process OR your application tracking number.
  4. Permit fees are charged based on whether the shoot will be major or minor, and whether the shoot will be located in a high-value film park. The fee for a minor film shoot is $100 (plus taxes). Fees for a major shoot are described below.

Fees for major shoot: the lesser of $50,000 and the sum of the following:

  1. $1500 per day of filming in each park that is a high-value film park;
  2. $750 per day of preparing, wrapping or holding in each park that is a high-value film park;
  3. $400 per day of filming, preparing, wrapping or holding in each park that is not a high-value film park.


High-value film parks are: 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.



  1. It is your responsibility to ensure you have obtained all other applicable licenses, 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 to your use of animals, including Section 327.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. BC Online - it is your responsibility to determine whether or not you must be registered to do business in British Columbia
    1. Businesses must either be licensed to do business in British Columbia, or if licensed/incorporated outside of British Columbia (considered to be 'extra-provincial companies') must be in compliance with section 375 of the Business Corporations Act to operate in British Columbia.
    2. Extra-provincial societies must be registered under the Societies Act in British Columbia in order to hold a park use permit or resource use permit. An extra-provincial society is a society or association formed outside British Columbia, and includes a branch of that society or association.
  5. A park use permit holder is responsible for abiding by the terms and conditions of the permit document provided.

Financial Guarantees

Prior to the commencement of a major film shoot, you may be required to post a financial guarantee with the Province. If required, the financial guarantee will be included as a condition of the park use permit, with the standard minimum amount being $5000. The financial guarantee may be increased at the discretion of the Regional Director depending on the impact, risk or term of the film production to reflect the estimated cost to the Province should the park suffer any modifications or damage from filming activities. 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, including invoices paid and satisfactory clean up and restoration of the permit area.

What you need to apply

  1. 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. The information supplied in this document outlining restrictions and conditions for filming for particular parks must be considered in the application..
  2. 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.

  1. Any additional documentation supporting the application such as photographs, or correspondence with First Nations.
  2. Digital maps must be submitted as part of the online application. Map(s) must be submitted for each park included in the application. Map must be created using the following mapping standards: 
  1. Clearly indicate on the map: a north arrow, a scale bar (as described below) and a legend.
  2. General Location map: A map of the individual park(s)/ecological reserve(s) within the application, drawn to 1:50 000 to 1:250 000 scale (or larger if required to encompass boundaries of permit area) that illustrates at a landscape level scale the general location of the area under application, including boundaries of the proposed permit area and major landmarks, travel/access routes;
  3. Permit Area Map: If you have improvements or specific areas of the park that you will be using more intensively, a more detailed map(s) will be required in addition to a general location map.  A more detailed map(s) of the proposed permit area(s) within each park , drawn to 1:20 000 to 1:50 000 scale showing the exact proposed boundaries of the permit area, including the area (in hectares) as well as any watercourses or other identifying features (trails, facilities, roads, etc.).  The permit area map must clearly identify the location of travel/access routes, and specific study/activity site(s).  If applicable, the location and construction description of any temporary facilities or the use of existing facilities within the permit area, as well as the location and size of all proposed improvements must also be included.
  4. Maps must be prepared using the FrontCounter BC Discovery Tool or iMap.

What happens after you apply

Submitting the application

  1. Your application will be reviewed to ensure that it is complete. If necessary, you will be contacted for more information.
  2. An application will not be processed until all required information and application fee has been received.
  3. 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.


  1. The target time frame for making a decision on your film permit is 5 business days for film permits 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.
  2. Applications will be reviewed in the order that they are received and processed. The 5 business day time frame will not be changed to accommodate "rush" applications.
  3. BC Parks staff will review the application and determine whether additional assessments and consultation may be required, such as ecological or archaeological assessments, or First Nation Consultation. Some assessments will be completed by BC Parks but other assessments may be the responsibility of the applicant to complete at their own cost.
  4. BC Parks staff, FrontCounter BC staff, or contractors (i.e. Film Permit Liaison) will be in contact throughout the application process to discuss your application as required.
  5. BC Parks considers the impacts of a proposed activity and the particular values of the parklands in question when evaluating a permit application. Decisions on park use permit applications are guided by the consideration of impacts and other policies, and if your application is denied you will be provided with a letter indicating the reason(s) for denial.

Request Final Requirements

  1. If the Statutory Decision Maker approves the permit, you will be contacted by the FrontCounter BC permit clerk, via email or letter if no email address was provided, with an offer of a draft permit, and notified of the final requirements due in order to issue your permit.
  2. Examples of "Final Requirements" may be, but are not limited to:
    1. Written agreement to the terms and conditions set out in the draft permit;
    2. Proof of Insurance (only the BC Certificate of Insurance form will be accepted);
    3. Permit Fee(s);
    4. Financial Guarantee.
  3. If you do not respond to the Request Final Requirements by the indicated due date, your application will be withdrawn and the file will be closed. 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 or hard copy if no email address was provided.

Why would my application be denied?

The list below provides some common examples of why BC Parks may deny a film permit application. BC Parks always considers the impacts of a proposed activity and the particular values of the park/protected area/conservancy/recreation area in question. Decisions on park use permit applications are guided by the consideration of impacts and other policies, and 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.

  1. BC Parks is not likely to approve any new commercial film permits during the visitor high-season if the public's use and enjoyment of the park/conservancy/protected area/recreation area will be impacted.
    For example, the following areas in Alice Lake, Brandywine Falls, Murrin, Shannon Falls, or 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 the parking lots in and in other high traffic areas in these parks, such as the lake shore in Murrin Park, the viewing platform in Shannon Falls or Brandywine Falls Parks, and the campground and day use areas in Alice Lake Park. In Stawamus Chief Park the bouldering area and the Chief Peaks Trail and peaks are also used extensively by the public during this time.
  2. Where it is determined that there are risks to public safety from a film shoot, the permit application is not likely to be approved. For example, no commercial filming is typically allowed within MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove) between the dates of May 15 through September 15. 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.
  3. The proposed dates for the film shoot conflict with other permitted operations or park events. For example, another film shoot may be taking place in the park during the proposed filming dates, or other special events such as races or educational events have been scheduled during the proposed time frame for filming. Again, it is recommended that proposed film shoots be discussed with a BC Parks representative prior to submitting a film permit application and non-refundable application fee.
  4. 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 guidance on ecological reserve permits.
Find a BC Park
Management Plan Template
Commercial Filming Policy
Commercial Filming Guidelines
Park Contacts and Special Conditions for Filming
BC Parks Website
Certificate of Insurance - Requirements & Forms
Permit Application Policy
Other Permit Policies
Park Act
Fee Schedule - Schedule K, of the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation