Official Community Plans
An Official Community Plan (OCP) can be developed by both
municipalities and regional districts. The OCP provides the longer
term vision for the community. Under the Local Government Act
section 875, an OCP is a statement of objectives and policies to
guide decisions on planning and land use management, within the area
covered by the plan, respecting the purposes of local government.
Local governments are encouraged to consider how the OCP can be integrated with other community strategies, including transportation plans, sustainability plans, and waste management plans.
Approaching planning and development in an integrated way supports coordinated efforts.
If a local government chooses to prepare and adopt an OCP, there are
requirements for statements and map designations for:
- the approximate location, amount, type and density of residential
development required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period
of at least five years;
- the approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed
commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational
and public utility land uses;
- the approximate location and area of sand and gravel deposits that
are suitable for future sand and gravel extraction;
- restrictions on the use of land that is subject to hazardous
conditions or that is environmentally sensitive to development;
- the approximate location and phasing of any major road, sewer and
- the approximate location and type of present and proposed public
facilities, including schools, parks and waste treatment and
- other matters that may, in respect of any plan, be required or
authorized by the minister;
- housing policies of the local government respecting affordable
housing, rental housing and special needs housing; and,
- targets for the reduction of greehouse gas emissions in the area covered by the plan, and policies and actions of the local government proposed with respect to achieving those targets.
A local government may choose to provide certain types of policy
statements in an OCP, including:
- policies relating to social needs, social well-being and social
- a regional context statement (if the plan area is in a regional
growth strategy area);
- policies respecting the maintenance and enhancement of farming on
land in a farming area or in an area designated for agricultural use
in the community plan;
- policies relating to the preservation, protection, restoration and
enhancement of the natural environment, its ecosystems and
biological diversity; and,
- in cases where a matter is not within the jurisdiction of the
local government, the plan may only state the broad objectives
unless the minister has required or authorized the local government
to state a specific policy.
Development permit areas (DPA) may be used to achieve some of the objectives identified in an official community plan. A DPA can be designated to: protect agricultural land, protect the natural environment, and guide the form and character of development. This authority can also be used to achieve climate action goals, including:
energy conservation, water conservation and GHG reduction.
Consultation during the development of an OCP
As part of the development of an OCP, the regional district board or
the municipal council must provide one or more opportunities for
consultation with persons, organizations and authorities that will
be affected, for example:
- the board of any regional district that is adjacent to the plan
- the council of any municipality that is adjacent to the plan
- First Nations;
- school district boards, greater boards and improvement district
- the provincial and federal governments and their agencies.
The board or council decides what form the consultation will take.
The consultation can include written referrals, open houses,
information meetings, focus groups, workshops, newsletters,
This consultation is in addition to the requirements for a formal