List of regional districts of British Columbia

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Regional Districts of British Columbia
LocationBritish Columbia
Populations674 (Stikine Region) – 2,558,029 (Metro Vancouver)
Areas1,701 km2 (657 sq mi) (Comox Valley) – 118,663 km2 (45,816 sq mi) (Stikine Region)
GovernmentMunicipal government
SubdivisionsMunicipalities, Cities, District municipalities, Indian government districts, Island municipalities, Mountain resort municipalities, Regional municipalities, Resort municipalities, Towns, Villages, Indian reserves

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.

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.

Regional districts have no powers like other arms of government, whose powers are much more sweeping, including jurisdiction over forests, the environment, health, schools, and provincial courts. Most land within a regional district is under control of other arms of the provincial government, or in the case of national parks and offshore waters, of 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.[1]

Current regional districts[edit]

British Columbia regional districts as of January 29, 2020[2]
Name Population
Head office
Alberni-Clayoquot 30,981 6,588 4.7 Port Alberni
Bulkley-Nechako 37,896 73,361 0.52 Burns Lake
Capital 383,360 2,340 163.8 Victoria
Cariboo 61,988 80,609 0.77 Williams Lake
Central Coast 3,319 24,492 0.14 Bella Coola
Central Kootenay 59,517 22,095 2.7 Nelson
Central Okanagan 194,882 2,905 67.1 Kelowna
Columbia-Shuswap 51,366 28,929 1.8 Salmon Arm
Comox Valley 66,527 1,701 39.1 Courtenay
Cowichan Valley 83,739 3,475 24.1 Duncan
East Kootenay 60,439 27,543 2.2 Cranbrook
Fraser Valley 295,934 13,335 22.2 Chilliwack
Fraser-Fort George 94,506 50,676 1.9 Prince George
Kitimat-Stikine 37,367 104,461 0.36 Terrace
Kootenay Boundary 31,447 8,082 3.9 Trail
Metro Vancouver 2,463,431 2,883 854.5 Burnaby
Mount Waddington 11,035 20,244 0.55 Port McNeill
Nanaimo 155,698 2,038 76.4 Nanaimo
North Coast 18,133 19,781 0.92 Prince Rupert
North Okanagan 84,354 7,503 11.2 Coldstream
Northern Rockies 5,393 85,111 0.06 Fort Nelson
Okanagan-Similkameen 83,022 10,414 8.0 Penticton
Peace River 62,942 117,391 0.54 Dawson Creek
qathet 20,070 5,075 4.0 Powell River
Squamish-Lillooet 42,665 16,310 2.6 Pemberton
Stikine Region[a] 740 118,663 0.01 (n/a)
Strathcona 44,671 18,278 2.4 Campbell River
Sunshine Coast 29,970 3,777 7.9 Sechelt
Thompson-Nicola 132,663 44,448 3.0 Kamloops
  1. ^ The Stikine Region is not officially classified as a regional district[5] and 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.[7]

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.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ British Columbia Ministry of Community Services, "Primer on Regional Districts in British Columbia," 2006. Archived 2007-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Municipal and sub-provincial areas population, 2011 to 2019". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  3. ^ Population Estimates - Province of British Columbia
  4. ^ "2016 British Columbia Census Total Population Results". Archived from the original on 2019-07-24. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  5. ^ BC STATS: Statistical Glossary Archived 2009-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed online June 13, 2009.
  6. ^ ALR Statistics Appendix 3 Archived 2006-10-07 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Regional District and Municipal Boundary Changes, 1996 to Present Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed online June 13, 2009.
  8. ^ BC Names/GeoBC "Peace River-Liard Regional District"

External links[edit]

Census divisions by province and territory