Film permits

film clapper

The City supports filming and recognizes the economic and social benefits that it brings to our citizens. Part of the City's support includes the creation of the Vancouver Filming Office.

Film Office staff are familiar with the needs of the film industry and the structure of the City and have helped productions ranging from commercials and small independent films to television series and feature films.

Film Office staff help production companies access City services and obtain the proper permits and authorizations to film on City streets or property while balancing a production's requirements with the needs of Vancouver's residents.

Vancouver has two Film Offices - one as part of the Park Board for filming held in or around parks, and one as part of Engineering Services, for all other locations. Productions that straddle both park and City property work with staff from both offices.

Filming resources

The City's Filming Guidelines are the foundation upon which the policies that are outlined in this document have been based.

If this is your first time filming in BC or you have questions regarding immigration, hiring crews, rental of equipment, or studio facilities, contact Creative BC at 604-660-2732 or visit their website.

Specific filming requirements

If your on-location filming will have an impact on public property or the surrounding neighbourhood, you must get a permit to film.

All filming requires a film activity permit. The film activity permit is written after consultation with the location manager and specifies all activity that will affect the normal use of public property.

Film activity permits are issued to the film company as soon as final approval of all activities has been granted. Senior production staff will need to review the permit before filming begins.

The film activity permit requires that the location manager or assistant location manager be on location throughout the filming day.

Each filming location / day requires at least one film activity permit.

Successful filming is accomplished every day in Vancouver. To get from "Hey that would be perfect" to "That's a wrap," there are a few steps to take.

If you are filming in Vancouver parks or beaches, see the Filming in parks tab for additional information about timeline and process.

Step 1 - Coordinate with the Film Office

Staff at the Vancouver Film Office are knowledgeable about the demands of the filming industry and what Vancouver and the area can offer you. They are here to help you with your filming needs, including locations and permits. 

Close consultation with the Film Office is the key to ensuring that filming goes smoothly.

Step 2 - Apply

One application form is required for each individual project.

The application fee is non-refundable. Your application will not be processed until the fee is received.

Once the application and fee are received by the Film Office, a film coordinator will be assigned to the project. The film coordinator will assist in providing all of the city services required.

Timeline

For filming 5 (non-consecutive) days or less

Applications must be submitted at least 2 weeks (10 working days) before the intended start of filming.

For filming 5 or more consecutive days, or 6 or more days in a calendar year

These applications require a License to Film from the City's Legal Services team. They must be submitted at least 3 weeks (15 working days) before the intended start of filming.

The License to Film agreement is a contract between the City of Vancouver and a production company that plans to film for 5 or more consecutive days or for 6 or more days within the same calendar year. Permission to film will not be granted until this agreement is executed by the authorized signatures of your company. The Film Office will forward your completed application to the City's Legal Services team who will prepare the agreement. They will contact you to obtain further information as needed.

Step 3 - Get insurance if your projects will be filming on City property

Applicants granted permission to film on City property must provide proof of liability insurance coverage. Each production company must have the insurance company fill out and return the insurance confirmation form.

Step 4 - Finalize the license agreement if your projects are filming 5 or more consecutive days or 6 or more days in a calendar year

The Legal Services team will forward the agreement to the production company for execution. If you have any questions about the license agreement, call the City's Legal Services team.

Step 5 - Pay the deposit  

The Film Liaison assigned to the project will provide an estimate of costs for all City services. Production companies are required to provide a deposit in the amount of the estimated costs. The deposit should be in the form of a certified cheque made payable to the City of Vancouver and drawn on a Canadian bank account, money order, interact payment and/or cash.

Step 6 - Get the necessary permits 

The Film Liaison assigned to the project will help you get the permits you need, based on the discussions they have had with you.

Step 7 - Film

Step 8 - Finalize the bill

Allow about 2 weeks (10 working days) to calculate the final bill. All of the departments that provided services for you (such as Traffic Operations, meters, Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, Vancouver Park Board, Electrical Operations, etc.) must submit their individual invoices before we can prepare your itemized invoice. 

Business licence

Business licences for the city of Vancouver are valid until 31 December of the year in which they have been issued. 

If you are a production company from out of town but will be filming temporarily in Vancouver, you will not need a general business licence, but you will need a temporary filming business licence.

Temporary filming business licence

The temporary filming business licence will permit you to take out electrical permits for filming.  

Submit a completed temporary filming business licence form for each production with a fee of $91.00 per production to the address or fax number listed on the form.

If at a later date, you wish to extend the filming dates beyond the end date indicated on your licence, you must apply for another temporary filming business licence.

Electrical permit for filming

Electrical permits for filming are valid for a specific period of time, up to 90 days (temporary permit), or for a full year (annual permit). The fees vary with the type of permit.

Insurance requirements

The City of Vancouver requires that the "Proof of Insurance Coverage for Film Companies" form is completed by the insurer or an authorized licensed insurance agent and submitted to the Film Office before filming activities begin.

Fire hydrant use permit

To use a hydrant, you must have a permit from the Client Service Center, on the 5th floor of the Crossroads building at 507 West Broadway. In addition to the hydrant permit fee, a refundable deposit is required.

This permit can be applied to a maximum of four hydrants and is valid for 2 months.

License agreement with the City

If filming is to take place for five or more consecutive days, or for six or more calendar days in a year, applicants are required to enter into a license agreement with the City. Permission to begin filming will not be granted until this agreement is executed by the authorized signatures of your company.

Upon receipt of your completed application form we will forward it to our Legal Services team who will begin to prepare the agreement and will contact you to obtain further information as needed.

Preparation of the agreement will take about two weeks and then the Legal Services team will forward the agreement to you for execution. If you have any questions about the license agreement, please call 604-873-7512.

Street use permit

If street space is required for the parking of vehicles, picture continuity or equipment placement, a street use permit should be submitted for approval, along with the film locations worksheet. The Vancouver Film Office will then issue street use permits in conjunction with a film activity permit.

Locations at which street space is occupied or other City services are required will receive at least one street use permit. The amount of street space being used and the types of City services required will determine the number of permits required.

Stunts

Conditions

For stunts that will have significant impact to traffic, businesses, or residents, the location manager must submit a detailed proposal at least 10 working days before the proposed filming date. The proposal must include a description of the stunts including:

  • The proposed location
  • The date and time
  • Any potential impacts on the neighbourhood
  • Any potential noise
  • Any potential traffic pattern changes

Send the proposal to:

  • The Vancouver Film Office
  • The Emergency Operational Planning Section of the Vancouver Police Department
  • Coast Mountain Bus Company (if bus traffic is affected)

Site Meeting

Once the location for the stunt has been approved by the Vancouver Film Office, the location manager must arrange a site meeting as soon as possible. The following people should be at the meeting: 

  • The stunt coordinator
  • The director or first assistant director
  • The location manager
  • A representative from the Vancouver Police Department
  • A representative from the Vancouver Film Office
  • A representative from the BC Film Commission
  • A representative from any other public utility or service company that may be affected by the stunt

Approval

Approval for the stunt will only be granted after all identified issues have been adequately addressed by the film company. Police may be required to be on set depending on the impacts or public visibility issues. The on-set Police Officer will notify 9-1-1 operators immediately before the stunt takes place.

Special Effects

Conditions

The Location Manager must submit in writing a detailed description of the special effect at least 10 working days before the proposed filming date.

  • The proposed location
  • The date and time
  • Any potential impacts on the neighbourhood
  • Any potential noise
  • Any potential traffic pattern changes
  • Any potential smoke

Send the proposal to:

  • The Vancouver Film Office
  • The Emergency Operational Planning Section of the Vancouver Police Department
  • The Vancouver Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office
  • Coast Mountain Bus Company (if bus traffic is to be affected)

The special effects coordinator must also submit a written descriptions of the materials and proposed methods, including the size and weight of each item to be used.

Send this description to:

  • The Events Captain at the Vancouver Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office
  • The Vancouver Film Office
  • The Emergency Operational Planning Section of the Vancouver Police Department

If high explosives, such as black powder, are used, you must also send a copy of the description to the Explosives Regulatory Branch of Natural Resources Canada. The Fire Department will consult with the Explosives Branch.

In some circumstances, the special effects coordinator may be asked to submit a resume and references. The Vancouver Film Office reserves the right to withhold permission from the special effects coordinator who does not provide sufficient proof of training and necessary experience.

Site Meeting

Once the location for the special effect  has been approved by the Vancouver Film Office, the location manager must arrange a site meeting as soon as possible. The following people should be at the meeting: 

  • The special effect coordinator
  • The director or first assistant director
  • The location manager
  • A representative from the Vancouver Fire Department
  • A representative from the Vancouver Police Department
  • A representative from the Vancouver Film Office
  • A representative from the BC Film Commission
  • A representative from any other public utility or service company that may be affected by the special effect
  • A representative from the Explosives Branch of Natural Resources Canada, if high explosives are being used
  • The property owner or their representative (if a building or structure is involved in the special effect)

Site Requirements

If the effect is visible to the public OR if there is a loud noise or concussive effect associated with the special effect, Police must be on set. 9-1-1 operators must be notified by the Officer on set immediately before the effect takes place.

Fire Department crew and equipment may also be required on set.

If you need to build a temporary structure for filming, you must have a temporary development permit from the Development Services branch of the City of Vancouver. To get the permit, you must provide an engineer’s diagram of the structure and a letter of permission from the property owner.

Approval

If the special effect is expected to impact the area in a significant way, location managers may be required to poll the surrounding neighbourhood.

If an explosion, fire or smoke is involved with the special effect, once the City’s Film Office has approved the special effect, the Fire Prevention office will issue a permit to the special effects coordinator. This permit is date and time specific and will list all the materials that have been approved. No materials or methods other than those approved by all parties in the planning process and shown on the permit are permitted.

Guns and gunfire

Conditions

Vancouver Police are required on set for weapon escort whenever a gun is used for interior or exterior filming.

Only quarter-load gunfire is permitted in the City of Vancouver for both interior and exterior filming.

Vancouver Police may also be required on set for squib hits. Squib effects may not be louder than quarter-load gunfire sound.

Burning and explosives 

When special effects involving burning or explosives are to be used, you must have a permit must from the Fire Prevention Division at #201 456 W Broadway, telephone 604-873-7595.

For example, a permit is required for the following situations:

  • Open burning involving structures, vehicles, facades, wood products, and paper products (real or simulated) fueled by combustible material, flammable/combustible liquids, propane, or other materials used by the industry to create a fire effect.
    NOTE: Fires that are contained entirely within a building and are not visible from the exterior do not require a permit; however, you must still have approval from the Fire Prevention Division.
  • Use, transportation, or storage of any substance that is made or manufactured for the purpose of producing an explosion or use of any substance for the purpose of simulating an explosion. This includes, but is not limited to, substances such as black powder and mixes using black powder, dynamite, detonators, detonator cord, prima cord, fireworks, flares, rockets, and propellant powders.

Submit permit requests at least 10 days before the date of the event to allow time for an assessment and scheduling of standby crews and vehicles, if required.

Include the following information and items with your permit request:

  • Date, time, and location of special effect.
  • Detailed description of special effect including type and quantities of flammables, combustibles, and explosives to be used.
  • Description of safety precautions to be employed.
  • Letter of permission from the property owner where the special effect will take place (If located in a Vancouver park, include the appropriate Park Board permit) and written permission from owners of adjacent properties that may be directly affected.
  • Proof of liability insurance.
  • Resume of Special Events Coordinator (If they have no past experience working in Vancouver)
  • A cheque for $200 payable to the City of Vancouver.

The permit will only be issued in the name of the person responsible for the design, assembly, and execution of the special effect and the permit must be signed by this person. Usually this is the Special Effects Coordinator.

If, as a condition of the permit, standby vehicles and crews are required to be on site, the Fire Prevention Office will make the necessary arrangements. A list of charges for equipment and personnel is available on request.

Use of Fire & Rescue Services Equipment and Personnel

If fire equipment or personnel are required for any reason other than as a condition of a permit, send a written request to the Deputy Chief Emergency Services Office at least 7 days before the event. The request should contain all pertinent details including the portion of the script in which personnel or equipment will appear.

Deputy Chief Emergency Services Office,
900 Heatley Ave.
Vancouver B.C.
V6A 3S7,
604-665-6041, fax 604-665-6016.

Movie and special events equipment and staff rental rates

NOTES:

  • Equipment and personnel must be booked for a minimum of 4 hours
  • A 2 hour labour charge will be applied for cleaning equipment, if required (i.e., hose change, refill S.C.B.A. etc.)
  • Firehalls and Training Academy are available from 8:00am-5:00pm.
  • F.D.3 to be sent to D/C's office with list of member's names attending, equipment rented, account number, and name of film and contact.

Item Rate
Fireboat $200.00 per hour
Engine $110.00 per hour
Dedicated fire prevention tender $110.00 per hour
Ladder truck $150.00 per hour
Rescue van  $80.00 per hour
Chief's van $40.00 per hour

High expansion foam generator 

$300.00 per day
Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) $45.00 per day
Small equipment (for example, nozzles, axes, valves, etc) $30.00 per day
Large equipment  $60.00 per day (minimum)
Hose $20.00 per day per length
Turnout clothing $45.00 per day per set
Firehall $600.00 per day
Parking lot $50.00 per hour
Training academy $1,500.00 per day
Training classroom $400.00 per day
Chief officer, with turnout clothing $115.00 per hour
Officer, with turnout clothing $100.00 per hour
Firefighter, with turnout clothing $82.00 per hour

CONTACTS

Department Contact name Phone number
Equipment and Stores 604-665-6063 or
604-665-6064
Vehicles and Firefighters Wade Pierlot,
Deputy Chief Emergency Operations
604-665-6065
Mark Engler,
Deputy Chief Operations Support
604-665-6052
Assistant General Manager Laura Lintunen,
Strategic & Infrastructure Services
604-665-6054

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has over 1200 hectares of parkland in more than 160 parks. Each park is unique and overall there is a wide variety of facilities including playing fields, ball diamonds, golf courses, beaches, outdoor pools, community centres, marinas and gardens. The parks are located throughout the city and offer a wide variety of facilities for filming.

The Park Board works with the film industry to assist with film production on parks; however, conditions of filming are negotiated to minimize the disruption of public use or maintenance of the parks. If you want to film at a park or beach area within the City of Vancouver, you will need a permit from the Park Board.

Note icon NOTE: Filming is not permitted in the small or large quarries at Queen Elizabeth Park.

Learn more about the parks, gardens, and facilities the Park Board has:

Process and timeline

Step 1 - Apply for a master agreement with the City

If your production requires the use of City of Vancouver property or services, you must have a Master Agreement with the City of Vancouver for filming. This is not necessary for small productions that will only be filming on park land.

Step 2 - Review proposed film sequences and locations with Park Board

Contact the Special Events and Filming office to review proposed film sequences and locations. Depending on the impact of the request, you may need a site meeting with the Coordinator and other affected staff (e.g. horticulture, park foreman).

Step 3- Apply for a Park Board filming permit

Submit an application form at least 2 weeks before the desired start date. Include a Certificate of Insurance Form

Step 4 - Allow Park Board staff to review your application

Staff will review the application and assess the impact to the public, park stakeholders, and the park land. They will establish conditions of use to minimize impacts with the location manager and include them on the permit form. The permit will be faxed for immediate use and the original will be mailed.

Production companies are held responsible for any damage to parks as a result of filming. Park staff will liaise with the locations staff on all issues.

Step 5 - Arrange for use of specific locations

If required, negotiate the use of community centres, leased buildings, golf courses, swimming pools, or restaurants directly with the operators. Contact names and phone numbers can be provided through the coordinator.

Step 6 - Apply for other required permits or approvals

Apply for any separate approvals or agreements that are listed as a requirements of the Park Permit (e.g. police for traffic control; lease holder approval where there is a disruption of business; resident associations).

Filming between the May long weekend (Victoria Day) and the end of September

The time between the May long weekend (Victoria Day) and the end of September is the parks high season. During this time, major park areas and beaches including the high tourist areas such as rose gardens, totem poles and beaches areas have restricted filming times. For example, any filming in these areas must be completed by 9:00am, 10:00am or even up til 12:00noon. In addition, we generally do not allow filming on the weekends during this season.

Ask. Tell. Connect.

Phone 3-1-1 to ask, tell, and connect with the City

Outside Vancouver:
604-873-7000

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More ways to contact us

Ready to apply for your filming permit?

If you are ready to apply for your filming permit now, click the link below to go directly to the online application.

Apply to film

NOTE: If you are filming in a park, you will also need to fill out the Park Board's filming application.

Apply to film in parks

Contact the Special Events Office

Location
Film & Special Events Office
126 Keefer St
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Fax: 604-257-8859

specialevents@vancouver.ca

Contact the Park Board Special Events Office

Location
Special Events &
Filming Office
2099 Beach Ave
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4

Phone: 604-257-8516 

Fax: 604-257-8501

parkevents@vancouver.ca

Last modified: Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:04:35

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