Living in Banff

Residential leases in Banff restrict occupancy to eligible residents as defined in national park regulations. The eligible residency provisions ensure that community residential lands are available exclusively for community use, rather than recreational or second home purposes.

Why have Eligible Residency?

To ensure that a broad supply of housing types are available for those who work and raise families in the community, all people living in national park communities must meet eligible residency requirements. This ensures that housing remains available for those whose primary objective is to live and work in the community.

Who is an Eligible Resident?

According to the National Parks Lease and License of Occupation Regulations an eligible resident is defined as:

(a) an individual whose primary employment is in the park,
(b) an individual who operates a business in the park and whose presence at the place of business is necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business,
(c) a retired individual who resides in the park and who, for five consecutive years immediately prior to retirement,
(i) was employed primarily in that park, or
(ii) operated a business in that park and whose presence at the place of business was necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business,
(d) a retired individual who resided in the park at the time of the individual's retirement and who resided in that park on July 30, 1981,
(e) an individual who is a student in full-time attendance at an educational institution that is located within the park and registered under the Income Tax Act or applicable provincial legislation relating to education,
(f) an individual who is a lessee of public lands in the park and who
(i) was the lessee of those public lands prior to May 19, 1911, or
(ii) is a descendant, by blood or adoption, of an individual who was the lessee of those public lands prior to May 19, 1911, or
(g) the spouse or common-law partner or a dependant of an individual referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (f).

Some facts about eligible residency
  • You do not need to be an eligible resident to lease property in Banff. However, you do need to be an eligible resident to reside here.
  • Operation of either a Home Occupation business or a Bed & Breakfast Home does not satisfy the requirements of eligible residency.
Enforcement

Eligible residency will be enforced by Parks Canada to ensure that those living in the community have an established need to reside here. Ultimately, lessee non-compliance with lease terms can result in lease cancellation.

It is a criminal offense to make a false statutory declaration of eligible residency.
Disclaimer

This document has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various codes and regulations currently in effect. It is meant solely to provide information that may be of general assistance to interested parties.

For more detailed information:

Banff National Park, Realty and Municipal Services Office

403.762.1500
banffparkrealty@canada.ca

Working in Banff

Any person or corporation doing in Banff National Park must obtain a business licence.

Business Licenses

A business licence is required for all businesses, companies, guides and/or vendors who are operating in Banff National Park. Each contractor and sub-contractor requires their own business licence to work in the park.

Parks Canada and the Town of Banff are the two governing bodies in Banff National Park that issue business licences. Parks Canada issues the following licences and permits: 

If you are proposing a new business in Banff or changing the location of an existing business you must email banffparkrealty@canada.ca with a narrative describing the proposal. For all non-resident business owners wanting to conduct business in the town of Banff please contact the Town of Banff.

Please note: if you are operating a business in both jurisdictions, you must obtain a business licence from Parks Canada as well as one from the Town of Banff.

Work passes

Work passes for park entry are provided by the Parks Canada administration office at the time a business licence is issued. Work passes shall be used for work purposes only.

Special Activity Permits for overweight vehicles are issued by the Banff Dispatch office. Please send your request by e-mail to banff.dispatch@pc.gc.ca after your business licence has been issued.

Film and photography

The Mountain National Parks boast unparalleled film, photographic and recreational possibilities. To care for these special places, all filming activities have guidelines to ensure that activities respect ecologically sensitive areas, wildlife, and the experience of all visitors.

If you wish to visit Parks Canada places and undertake a film or photo shoot, you may require a film permit, business license, or need to register your project. What you are required to do will depend on the scale and nature of your project.

Applications should be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to your intended dates of filming. Choose your project category below for more information.

Small-Scale Travel Media Film & Photo Projects
Do I need a film permit, business license, or small-scale project registration?

Many small-scale projects only require project registration, rather than a commercial film permit. This registration form is for small travel media crews that wish to film or take photos in Parks Canada locations. “Travel Media” includes journalists, freelancers, photographers, videographers, bloggers and social media influencers.

Your project is considered “small-scale” if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Project is intended to inform audiences about the work of Parks Canada and/or to promote visitation to Parks Canada places.
  • Crew size is six people or fewer (including models, guides and other talent).
  • Equipment is limited to cameras, tripods, microphones, or other hand-held equipment.
  • Activities remain in areas open to the public and during normal operating hours only.
  • The filming methods used and final product adheres to all laws and regulations.
  • No drones/UAV are used.

If you meet all of these criteria, complete the Small-Scale Travel Media Film and Photo Project Registration form (1.03 Mb) and return the form by email to the appropriate contact below. You will receive response that confirms or denies your registration and provides next steps.

If your project does not meet the criteria of a small-scale shoot, you must apply for a film/photo permit or business license by emailing your application to the appropriate contact listed. Parks Canada reserves the right to determine if projects are appropriate for a small-scale registration or if a commercial film permit application is required.

Tips for registering your small-scale travel media film and photo project.
  • We strongly recommend you register your shoot at least 15 business days in advance to avoid project delays. Please note that registering your project does not exempt it from standard visitors’ fees.
  • A Guide to Film/Photo Shoots in Banff National Park is available to assist you with conducting your film and photo activities.
  • Depending on the location of your shoot, additional permission may be required from business or property owners, or the Town of Banff.

We look forward to working with you! Travel media are key partners in showcasing the beauty of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Contact us for travel tips, best timing, and unique locations within these sites.

Commercial Film & Photography Permits

Commercial filming & photography activities require a permit. These activities include feature and short films, documentaries, television series, marketing (including styled photoshoots), and other projects with a commercial intent that do not qualify as a travel media small-scale registration. Parks Canada reserves the right to determine if projects are appropriate for a small-scale registration or if a commercial film permit application is required.

What works well?
  • Productions involving minimal equipment, smaller crew sizes and no impact on the environment and visitors;
  • Productions contributing to public awareness, appreciation and understanding of Canada’s national parks and Parks Canada;
  • Productions requesting off-season and/or weekday shooting dates.
Applying

Submit an application by email, a minimum of 15 business days prior to intended film/photography start date. Applications are assessed in relation to Canada's National Parks Act, national park regulations and based on their contribution to awareness, appreciation and education about national parks, as well as safety considerations. If approved, a Commercial Film/Photography permit is issued.

Parks Canada reserves the right to refuse applications that are not in the best interest of the Agency’s mandate or to revoke permission at any time if the terms and conditions of the permit are violated.

Film permit application form (0.35 Mb)
Please complete the form with the most detail possible to help us assess your application, including specific locations, dates, and times for filming, and detailed descriptions of the project and intent. Incomplete applications may result in processing delays.

Park regulations

Full compliance with the Canada National Parks Act and Park Regulations is required. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. No open firearms, use of firearms (includes discharging of blank ammunition or explosives), or hunting;
  2. No damaging, destruction or removal of natural or cultural resources;
  3. No feeding, enticing (e.g. baiting, calling), touching, harassing, or disturbing park wildlife;
  4. No littering or leaving food or garbage where wildlife can access it (all food and garbage must be stored or disposed of in bear-proof containers and/or packed out);
  5. No off-roading anywhere in the park; no ATVs, skidoos, or jet-boats; no boats with any kind of motor in park waters (except on Lake Minnewanka);
  6. No fires outside of designated fire rings or stoves supplied at park campgrounds and day use areas (cigar/cigarette butts and matches are litter and must be fully extinguished and disposed of appropriately);
  7. No camping outside of designated campgrounds and campsites;
  8. No entering of closed areas
  9. An ACMG accredited guide is required to accompany any film crews capturing footage of backcountry, glacier travel, mountaineering and/or ski touring activities (outside of ski area leaseholds) at all times.
  10. All aerial filming must comply with Canadian Air Regulations; the use of recreational UAV/Drones is not allowed and requires a Restricted Activity Permit in all other circumstances – see UAV section for details.
Fees associated with Film Permits
Production Crew Size 2022 Application Fee (per project) 2022 Location fee (per day)
1 to 6 $153.50 $511.25
7 to 15 $383.50 $1022.75
16 to 30 $767 $1533.75
31to 99 $2,556.25 $2,045.25
100 + $3,067.75 $2,556.25
Other fees may be applicable.
Professional Photography & Videography (including Weddings)

Photographers or videographers capturing images and footage during their visit to Banff National Park, with the intent to sell, require a business licence. Filming and photography covered within this licence must not impede park use and enjoyment by other visitors, damage cultural or natural resources, or disturb wildlife.

Business licenses apply to the following activities:
  • Wedding photography and videography
  • Wildlife, nature, and landscape photography
  • Stock photo or video capture
  • If you are hired to take, or plan to sell photos taken in the park

Visitors taking photos for personal use or as a hobby that are not for sale do not require a permit or license. Parks Canada rules and regulations apply to all film/photography activities, including respecting wildlife, closed areas, and cultural resources.

Please note that Parks Canada business licence service standards are 15 business days to review and process fully completed business licence applications. Please contact the appropriate Business Licensing department for additional information:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

UAVs (including micro-drones <250g), are highly regulated in the National Parks to protect wildlife and preserve the experience of visitors, among other considerations. Regardless of drone size, UAV use in a National Park requires both a Commercial Film Permit, and a Restricted Activity Permit.

The use of UAV’s for commercial filming purposes will only be authorized for the purposes of:

  • Natural and cultural resource management
  • Public safety
  • Law enforcement
  • Park/site management purposes, including selective filming for outreach, education and promotional purposes

Projects must fit on of the above purposes to be considered for approval at the discretion of the Field Unit Superintendent. Anyone caught operating a drone within park boundaries without an approved permit may result in law enforcement action and a fine of up to $25,000. Recreational use of drones at all Parks Canada places is prohibited.

Learn more


Filming / photography permit contacts – Mountain Parks

Banff: filmbanff-banfffilm@pc.gc.ca
Planning to film in the Town of Banff? Additional film permits may be required, further information.

Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay: llykfilm@pc.gc.ca

Jasper: filmjasper-jasperfilm@pc.gc.ca
Planning to film in the Town of Jasper? Additional film permits may be required, further information.

Waterton Lakes: waterton.communications@pc.gc.ca

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier: filmmrg@pc.gc.ca

Special event application

Pam Doyle


Thinking about holding a special event in Banff National Park? This section of the website will give you the information you need before hosting an event in the park, and outlines the steps for applying for a Special Event Licence.

Banff National Park offers a stunning setting for events that are aligned with the national park mandate of conservation, education and enjoyment. Events held within Banff National Park promote the park as a year-round destination while highlighting the history and significance of the park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Special Event Applications are evaluated to ensure events meet all legal, regulatory and policy obligations; are safe; and facilitate opportunities for understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the park.