Roles and Authorities




>> Role of the Approving Officer
>> Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Involvement


Role of the Approving Officer

Approving Officers are appointed under the Land Title Act. There are four separate jurisdictions:

  • Municipal Approving Officers, whom municipal councils appoint to rule on subdivision proposals within municipal boundaries (Section 77)
  • Regional District and Islands Trust Approving Officers, who are appointed by the Regional District Board or the Islands Trust council to rule on subdivision proposals within the boundaries of those local governments that have assumed the rural subdivision approving authority (Section 77.1.) Currently none of these has approving authority.
  • Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Provincial Approving Officers, whom Cabinet appoints to rule on subdivision proposals outside municipal boundaries and within those regional districts and the Islands Trust boundaries that have not assumed the rural subdivision approving authority (Section 77.2.)
  • Nisga’a Approving Officers, who are appointed by the Nisga’a Lisms Government to rule on subdivision proposals within Nisga’a Lands, including Nisga’a Village Lands (Section 77.3.)

Generally, these Approving Officers have separate jurisdictions of authority for approving subdivision plans.  Municipal Approving Officers can not approve subdivisions in rural areas, and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Provincial Approving Officers do not have the subdivision approval authority within municipalities or in rural areas where a regional district has assumed subdivision authority.  Neither the Provincial nor the Regional District Approving Officers have authority within Nisga’a Lands.

Provincial Approving Officers act independently to ensure that the subdivision complies with Provincial Acts and Regulations as well as bylaws, and to protect the best interests of the public.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Involvement

In rural areas the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is responsible for maintaining and upgrading public highways.  This includes highways created by rural subdivisions.  Therefore, the Ministry has a regulatory role in determining the highway component for all rural subdivisions.

There are, however, three instances where the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure must approve subdivision plans in municipal, Regional District or Islands Trust jurisdictions in order for them to be accepted by the Land Title & Survey Authority.  They are:

  • for subdivisions adjacent to a controlled access highway in municipal or rural areas, pursuant to Section 80 of the Land Title Act
  • to grant consent to the highway component of Regional District or Islands Trust approved subdivisions
  • to grant relief from access to water pursuant to Section 75[1][c] of the Land Title Act in all areas, rural or incorporated
  • In exercising this role the Ministry will establish highway construction standards, advise the PAO of the highway requirements for the subdivision, and inspect highway construction.  The statutory authority for this highway role is contained in the Transportation Act, Land Title Act, and Local Government Act.  This role is in recognition of the Ministry’s engineering expertise, responsibility for maintaining these highways and ensuring the safety of highway users.

    The Ministry’s subdivision highway standards are contained in the Subdivision Road Construction Specifications in the current edition of the TAC Guide Chapter 1400.

    Section 90 of the Transportation Act authorizes the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to establish highway standards.  A Regional District that establishes highway standards in a Subdivision Servicing Bylaw pursuant to Section 506 of the Local Government Act must refer this bylaw to the Ministry before adopting the standards.  Furthermore, the Ministry must approve such a bylaw before the Regional District that has assumed the rural subdivision approving authority adopts it.

This guide is a living document; it is subject to change without notice. Please check the Rural Subdivisions Website (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/DA/Subdivision_Home.asp) to make sure you version is sufficiently current.