Emergency & Operations Planning Section (EOPS) : Operational Planning Unit | Emergency Planning Unit | Traffic Authority Program

Operational Planning Unit

The Operational Planning Unit provides services to special event organizers in the community by assisting in planning, security, staffing deployment, and traffic control for special events. The Unit:

  • provides information on how to apply to hold a special event in the city of Vancouver
  • informs the community of procedures and permits that apply to events
  • facilitates communication and feedback with the community in regards to special events planning

Please use the links on the left for more information on the application process for non-profit events, Late Night Dance Events, filming in Vancouver and Special Occasion Licences.

What is a Special Event?

Special Events include:

  • marches, parades, walks, runs
  • demonstrations, protests
  • festivals, concerts
  • ceremonial and fund raising events
  • sporting events
  • late night dance events
  • filming
  • other occasions that may require police presence

The Planning Process

Organizations wishing to hold an event should start by submitting an application to hold an event to City Hall. The application is then assigned to an event planner, where the event is logged, assessed, and the involved agencies are notified. The Vancouver Police Department's Operational Planning Unit also logs the event, assesses and assigns a police planner in cooperation with City Hall.

The police planner contacts the person / organizer listed on the application and checks any previous history of the event.

Once event applications are reviewed, an organization may be required to attend a meeting with the Festival Expediting Staff Team (FEST) Committee to discuss the requirements and impact of the event on the city. The FEST Committee includes representatives of the Engineering Department (as chairperson), police department, Park Board, and Coast Mountain Bus Company. Staff from other civic departments and external agencies are invited to FEST Committee meetings as required (e.g. fire department, health department, Social Planning, Risk and Emergency Management, B.C. Ambulance), particularly in those instances where jurisdictions overlap.

The committee acts as a source of information on City regulations and bylaws, and coordinates input from all appropriate departments and agencies. The committee's goal is to support events and help organizers minimize the impact events have on the community, and to establish conditions of approval. Approval of most events is given directly by the FEST Committee although larger events may need approval of the appropriate City of Vancouver Committee of Council.

Once the event has been approved, the police planner will arrange the necessary police resources and create a policing plan for the event.

$500 Grant to Offset Policing Costs

The VPD may offer a $500 grant to non-profit organizations and events to offset policing costs incurred during a special event.

Event organizers must go through the application process and meet with the FEST Committee to qualify for the grant.

VPD Booking Requests

The City of Vancouver manages 600 booking requests a year, many of which require VPD resources.

These guidelines will help you if you are requesting the VPD for your event.

Special Occasion Licences

For a Public Special Occasion Licences, please read the guidelines and contact EOPS at (604) 717-3076 for any inquiries.

Special Occasion Licences are required for every private (family) or public event at which liquor is served, if held at a location (other than private residences) that does not have a liquor permit.

Apply online

All licences will be approved by police online.

Protests and Demonstrations in Vancouver

The Vancouver Police Department supports people exercising their democratic rights and freedoms through lawful protest.

Learn more here.

Filming in Vancouver – Police Involvement / Requirements

See Filming in Vancouver for information on police requirements for and involvement in filming in Vancouver.

Apply for a Late Night Dance Event Permit

A "Late Night Dance Event" (LNDE) is a liquor-free event involving dancing and music. See Late Night Dance Events for more information.