Film permits

film clapper

The City of Vancouver and Park Board film offices help your production company to:

  • Access civic services
  • Get film activity permits and other related permits suited to your production's specific needs
  • Approve location requests to film on streets, parks, or other City properties in ways that respect our residents and businesses

Your proposed filming locations could mean that you work with our Park Board Film Office (for in and around parks), City Film Office (for all other public locations), or both.

New to filming in Vancouver?

Specific filming requirements

If your on-location filming will impact public property or the surrounding neighbourhood, you need film activity permit. Each filming location and day requires at least one film activity permit.

  1. We prepare your permit in consultation with your location manager to specify all the activities that will affect how public property is normally used.
  2. We issue permits to your company upon giving a final approval of all your activities.
  3. Your senior production staff need to review the permit before filming begins.
  4. Your location manager or assistant location manager must be on location during filming.

Step 1 - Coordinate with the Film Office

Our Film Office knows the demands of the filming industry and what Vancouver and the area can offer you. We are here to help you with your filming needs, including locations and permits.

Work closely with us to ensure your filming goes smoothly.

Step 2 - Apply

Complete one application per project.

Apply now

Note You need to apply at least two weeks (10 working days) before you intend to start filming. We only process applications once we receive your fee. The application fee is non-refundable.

Once we receive your application form and application fee, we'll assign a film liaison coordinator to your project within three business days. The film coordinator will assist in providing all of the City services you require.

Filming in parks and beaches

If your project also includes filming in Vancouver parks or beaches, you also need to complete a Park Board filming application PDF file (209 KB).

Learn more in Filming in parks tab.

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

You need to provide proof of liability insurance coverage if you apply to film on City property. Have your insurance provider complete and return our insurance confirmation form PDF file (200 KB).

Learn more about insurance requirements

Step 4 - Complete the license to film agreement

You need to enter into a license agreement with the City, no matter the length of your filming. We only allow filming after this agreement is in place and signed by people in your company with signing authority.

When we get your completed application form, we forward it to our Legal Services team who will prepare your licence agreement. It takes about two weeks to prepare the licence agreement. If Legal Services needs more detail, they will contact you.

After Legal Services completes the agreement, they will send it to your company for official signatures.

If you have any questions about the license agreement, phone 604-873-7512.

Step 5 - Pay the deposit

The film coordinator assigned to your project will give you an estimate of costs for all City services. You need to provide a deposit that covers the estimated costs. Pay your deposit by: certified cheque made out to the City of Vancouver, exact cash, money order, debit card, or credit card.

Step 6 - Get the necessary permits

The film coordinator will help you get the permits you need, based on your project.

Step 7 - Film

Step 8 - Pay for using City services

Around two weeks (10 working days) after the film coordinator closes your file of permits, the City's Accounts Payable team will invoice you for the total cost of using City services, including: Streets, Traffic, and Electrical Operations; Parking Operations; Vancouver Police Department; Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services; Vancouver Park Board; and so on.

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 allow productions whose offices are outside City of Vancouver boundaries to apply for filming permits in the City of Vancouver.

Submit a completed temporary filming business licence form for each production with a fee of $95.00 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.

Find out more about fire hydrant use permits​

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 Creative BC
  • 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.

Contact the Film & Special Events Office

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

Phone: 604-257-8840

Fax: 604-257-8859

film.office@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

ContactsFilming feesLocationsOther requirementsStunts, special effects, and gunfirePhotography and student filming