List of regional districts of British Columbia

Regional Districts of British Columbia
LocationBritish Columbia
Populations734 (Stikine Region) – 2,691,343 (Metro Vancouver)
Areas1,701 km2 (657 sq mi) (Comox Valley) – 118,663 km2 (45,816 sq mi) (Stikine Region)

The Canadian province of British Columbia is divided into regional districts as a means to better enable municipalities and rural areas to work together at a regional level. These divisions also serve as the province's census divisions.


Regional districts came into being via an order of government in 1965 with the enactment of amendments to the Municipal Act.[1] Until the creation of regional districts, the only local form of government in British Columbia were incorporated municipalities, and services in areas outside municipal boundaries had to be sought from the province or through improvement districts.[2]


Similar to counties in other parts of Canada, regional districts serve only to provide municipal services as the local government in areas not incorporated into a municipality, and in certain regional affairs of shared concern between residents of unincorporated areas and those in the municipalities such as a stakeholder role in regional planning. In those predominantly rural areas, regional districts provide services such as land use planning, building inspection, solid-waste management, and some responsibility for community fire protection.

Most land nominally within a regional district is under the control of the provincial government, or in the case of national parks and offshore waters, the federal government. Indian reserves located within the boundaries of regional districts are likewise excluded from their jurisdiction and infrastructure, and there are varying levels of collaboration between First Nations governments and regional district boards.

Regional districts are governed by boards of directly and indirectly elected directors. Municipalities appoint directors to represent their populations (usually the mayors), while residents of unincorporated areas (which are grouped into electoral areas) elect directors directly. The votes of directors from municipalities generally count more than the votes of directors from electoral areas, and larger municipalities have more votes than smaller ones. For example, both North Saanich and Metchosin appoint one director to the Capital Regional District board of directors, but the vote of North Saanich's director counts three times as much as the vote of Metchosin's appointee.[3]


British Columbia regional districts as of January 29, 2020[4]
Regional district Office location Established[5] Population (2019 est.)[6][7] Area (km2) Density (per km2)
Alberni–Clayoquot Port Alberni April 21, 1966 33,315 6,588 4.7
Bulkley–Nechako Burns Lake February 1, 1966 39,614 73,361 0.52
Capital Victoria February 1, 1966 418,511 2,340 163.8
Cariboo Williams Lake July 9, 1968 65,456 80,609 0.77
Central Coast Bella Coola July 16, 1968 3,584 24,492 0.14
Central Kootenay Nelson November 30, 1965 63,311 22,095 2.7
Central Okanagan Kelowna August 24, 1967 217,214 2,905 67.1
Columbia–Shuswap Salmon Arm November 30, 1965 55,823 28,929 1.8
Comox Valley Courtenay February 1, 2008 72,625 1,701 39.1
Cowichan Valley Duncan September 26, 1967 90,448 3,475 24.1
East Kootenay Cranbrook November 30, 1965 64,695 27,543 2.2
Fraser Valley Chilliwack December 12, 1995 331,533 13,335 22.2
Fraser–Fort George Prince George March 8, 1967 103,392 50,676 1.9
Kitimat–Stikine Terrace September 14, 1967 39,150 104,461 0.36
Kootenay Boundary Trail February 22, 1966 33,432 8,082 3.9
Metro Vancouver Burnaby June 29, 1967[8] 2,691,343 2,883 918.0
Mount Waddington Port McNeill June 13, 1966 11,667 20,244 0.55
Nanaimo Nanaimo August 24, 1967 169,960 2,038 76.4
North Coast Prince Rupert August 17, 1967 19,303 19,781 0.92
North Okanagan Coldstream November 9, 1965 90,865 7,503 11.2
Northern Rockies Fort Nelson January 29, 2009 4,956 85,111 0.06
Okanagan–Similkameen Penticton March 4, 1966 89,075 10,414 8.0
Peace River Dawson Creek October 31, 1967 66,880 117,391 0.54
qathet Powell River December 19, 1967[9] 21,102 5,075 4.0
Squamish–Lillooet Pemberton October 3, 1969 46,357 16,310 2.6
Stikine Region[a] (N/A) (N/A) 734 118,663 0.01
Strathcona Campbell River February 1, 2008 49,085 18,278 2.4
Sunshine Coast Sechelt January 4, 1967 31,810 3,777 7.9
Thompson–Nicola Kamloops November 24, 1967 146,096 44,448 3.0
  1. ^ The Stikine Region is not officially per se a regional district but is rather an unincorporated area;[10] it is administered directly by the provincial government.

Historical regional districts[edit]

The first regional district was established in 1965, and the then-final regional district was established in 1968.

The following regional districts were dissolved in December 1995 and amalgamated largely into the newly formed Fraser Valley Regional District:

The western half of Dewdney–Alouette, consisting of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, was incorporated into the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver). Mission and the unincorporated areas east to the Chehalis River were incorporated into the Fraser Valley Regional District.

This amalgamation took place due to the western part of Dewdney–Alouette having become essentially a suburb of Vancouver and the thought it would be better served by being within Metro Vancouver. The Central Fraser Valley RD would be nearly completely dominated by the newly amalgamated City of Abbotsford, bringing the regional district's role into question; similarly, the remnant of Dewdney-Alouette would be dominated by Mission. Given the rapid growth being experienced in the Fraser Valley at the time, which was expected to continue for the foreseeable future, the creation of the Fraser Valley Regional District was seen as the best option.[citation needed]

The Comox–Strathcona Regional District was abolished in February 2008 and replaced by two successor regional districts: Comox Valley and Strathcona.[12]

The Peace River–Liard Regional District was created October 31, 1967, when the regional district system was first being established. On October 31, 1987, it was split into the Peace River Regional District and the Fort Nelson–Liard Regional District, which since has become the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Regional Districts in B.C." Regional Districts in B.C. Province of British Columbia. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  2. ^ Bish, Robert L.; Clemens, Eric G. (2008). Local Government in British Columbia (PDF). Richmond: Union of British Columbia Municipalities. p. 45.
  3. ^ British Columbia Ministry of Community Services, "Primer on Regional Districts in British Columbia," 2006. Archived 2007-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Municipal and sub-provincial areas population, 2011 to 2019". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "BC Geographical Names".
  6. ^ Population Estimates - Province of British Columbia
  7. ^ "2016 British Columbia Census Total Population Results". Archived from the original on 2019-07-24. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  8. ^ As Greater Vancouver Regional District
  9. ^ As Powell River Regional District
  10. ^ BC STATS: Statistical Glossary Archived 2009-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed online June 13, 2009.
  11. ^ ALR Statistics Appendix 3 Archived 2006-10-07 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Regional District and Municipal Boundary Changes, 1996 to Present Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed online June 13, 2009.
  13. ^ BC Names/GeoBC "Peace River-Liard Regional District"

External links[edit]