Frequently Asked Questions

About Natural Resource Sector Online Services

What is Natural Resource Sector Online Services (NRS Online Services)?

Natural Resource Sector Online Services is a single point of access for clients, bringing together relevant information, technology, tools and streamlined processes to help you apply for and receive timely authorizations. Natural Resource Sector Online Services provides you with:

  • information about natural resource activities
  • tools to research and prepare your authorization applications
  • guidance to inform you of the requirements and obligations related to your planned activity.
  • the ability to apply for the required authorizations for your activity

How does this new service improve the application process?

Natural Resource Sector Online Services provides you with application guidance, including information about all related requirements, before you complete an application.

The Application Process

How long does the application process take?

Average processing times vary depending on the type of authorization being applied for and, in some cases, are shown in the online guidance documents and resources provided by Natural Resource Sector Online Services.  For guidance documents that do not contain this information, you can contact FrontCounter BC for region-specific processing times for your activity.

What is the difference between an activity and an authorization?

An activity is the overall project that you want to conduct.  An activity may require multiple authorizations (permits, tenures, licences, etc.) from the Government of British Columbia. The new NRS Online Services system streamlines the application, review and submission of authorizations for certain activities. 

An authorization is a legal mechanism that allows the Government of British Columbia to give rights (permission) to the proponent to undertake his/her desired course of action.  These rights are often conveyed through a “permit” or a “licence”.

A new feature that has been developed for the Natural Resource Sector Online Services website is that clients can now choose to research and submit their applications either as an activity or as an authorization.

An example of an activity would be to “build a sand and gravel mine”, which usually includes authorizations such as a mining permit, a licence of occupation, a water licence and an explosives blasting permit (and others, depending on the nature and location of the activity).

How do I search for the activity I want using NRS Online Services?

You can search NRS Online Services for an activity by using the Search for Guidance option on the Home Page or by going to the Explore by Activity page. 

I can’t find the activity I am looking for. What now?

The activity you are looking for may be listed under different names (e.g., “dock” vs. “moorage”). Try other variations of your search term in the Search for Guidance field. If no variations of your search term produce your desired results, contact FrontCounter BC by dialing 1-877-855-3222 (toll free) or ++1-778-372-0729 (outside North America), by email at FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca, or by visiting one of our offices for further assistance.

Can I use Natural Resource Sector Online Services to apply for the authorizations required to do my activity?

Most natural resource sector authorizations can be applied for through the Natural Resource Sector Online Services.  For the few authorizations that cannot be obtained through NRS Online Services, you will be directed to the appropriate instructions on how to submit your application.

Guidance Resources

What are Guidance documents and what kind of information is included?

Guidance documents contain the activity description, mandatory authorizations, cost range, eligibility requirements, required documents and applicable links. These guidance documents can be easily printed.  When guidance documents are unavailable, you will be re-directed to a webpage that will provide you with the appropriate information. 

What are the limitations of the Guidance documents through Natural Resource Sector Online Services?

The Natural Resource Sector Online Services Guidance documents help users by compiling necessary information in one location. They do not replace legislated requirements and only represent what is currently available online.

Area of Interest Evaluation

What is an Area of Interest Evaluation?

It is a report generated from the mapping tool by comparing your Area of Interest (AOI) to map layers that were selected as most relevant to a natural resource sector application.  This comparison will result in a listing of overlaps that you can use to determine whether your activity is viable in the location you chose.  Map Layers contain information such as legal interests, rights, designations, administrative boundaries, restrictions, reservations and private land.

The Area of Interest Evaluation is offered in a summary or detailed format.  Both formats provide a full listing of overlaps, but the detailed version will provide more explicit information on each of the overlaps than the summary report.

Can I customize my Area of Interest Evaluation by adding map layers?

No.  The Area of Interest Evaluation will generate based on map layers that were pre-selected as most relevant to a natural resource sector application. The report will not change even if you adjust the map layers on the map screen. 

How will I know if there are restrictions in the area I want to do an activity?

The Area of Interest Evaluation will list overlaps for you to consider, including restrictions.

Am I required to specify an Area of Interest on the map to generate an Area of Interest Evaluation?

Yes. You are required to specify an Area of Interest if you want to generate an Area of Interest Evaluation.  Simply reviewing the application guidance details for an activity, however, does not require the entry of an AOI.

How do I learn how to use the mapping tool to generate an Area of Interest Evaluation?

There is Map Help available on the Explore by Location page, as well as explanatory text when you hover over the tools on the map.  You may also contact FrontCounter BC for assistance.

Can the mapping tool import and export geometry?

Yes. 

The supported geometry files for IMPORT are:

  • KML (*.KML) - Keyhole Markup Language, used in Google Earth
  • GPX (*.GPX) - GPS Exchange format
  • GeoJSON (*.JSON) - Geometry expressed in Javascript notation
  • Well-Known Text (*.WKT) - a simple standard geometry format
  • Simple Text (*.TXT) - a text listing of the geometry coordinates
  • GeoMark - the URL or ID of a BC Government GeoMark

Example: http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/geomark/geomarks/gm-abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0000bc

Example: gm-abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0000bc

  • Shapefile (*.SHP) - the ESRI shapefile format

The supported geometry files for EXPORT are:

  • KML (*.KML)
  • GPX (*.GPX)
  • Well-Known Text (*.WKT)
  • Simple Text (*.TXT)
  • GeoMark

Contact Us

Where can I get help interpreting the Guidance documents and Area of Interest Evaluations?

For assistance with interpreting reports and understanding content, contact FrontCounter BC at 1-877-855-3222 (BC toll free) or ++1-778-372-0729 (outside North America), by e-mail at FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca or visit a FrontCounter BC office.

How do I contact FrontCounter BC? Will I be able to communicate directly through Natural Resource Sector Online Services?

You can contact FrontCounter BC by dialing 1-877-855-3222 (toll free) or ++1-778-372-0729 (outside North America), by email at FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca, or by visiting one of the FrontCounter BC offices. In the future, you will be able to contact FrontCounter BC directly by using Natural Resource Sector Online Services and all communication will be tracked. Once developed, this function will eventually replace e-mail communication.

I’m having technical difficulties or have found an error while using Natural Resource Sector Online Services. Who do I contact?

If you have found a technical problem with the website or would like to provide feedback, please contact FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca for assistance.