Bill Buholzer

Bill Buholzer
Leaders in Local Government Law and Labour Relations

Bill's Biography

Bill graduated from UBC Law School in 1990 and joined the firm as an associate lawyer in 1991. He has been a partner in the firm since 1996. Bill has an M.A. in Community and Regional Planning from UBC and worked in rural, city and regional planning in Alberta and BC before attending law school.

Bill is a member of the College of Fellows of the Canadian Institute of Planners and is a member of the Planning Institute of BC.  He has been extensively involved in professional development activities for planners, including frequent seminars sponsored by the Simon Fraser University City Program, where he is an Associate Member of Continuing Studies, and by PIBC's regional chapters. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches the required course in planning law. He is the author of the 'Planning and Zoning' title in Halsbury’s Laws of Canada, published in 2008 and British Columbia Planning Law and Practice, a legal practice manual for planners published by Butterworths in 2001 and updated frequently. Bill is also the author of Local Government: A British Columbia Legal Handbook, published by the BC Continuing Legal Education Society in 2015, and is frequently invited to speak at CLE courses on local government law. His practice focuses on land use and planning law, building regulation, aboriginal law matters and opinions on a broad range of local government issues. He is a past chair of the Municipal Law Section of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, and is on the executive of the CBA’s National Municipal Law Section.

In 2011 Bill was awarded the Local Government Management Association's Distinguished Partnership Award for his ongoing contribution to the work of LGMA's Approving Officers Committee.

Recent Presentations

  • Legal Update Seminar (Planning Institute of B.C. North Island Chapter, Courtenay, October 13, 2016)
  • Section 5 of the Building Act – Building a Better BC (Canadian Bar Association Webinar, Vancouver, September 21, 2016)
  • Land Use Regulation in Vancouver (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, UBC, August 4, 2016)
  • Exotic Subdivisions (Local Government Management Association Approving Officers Seminar, Nanaimo, June 21, 2016)
  • Epic Planning Blunders: Navigating the Legal Minefield (Planning Institute of B.C. Conference, Kelowna, May 12, 2016)
  • Staying Within the Lines: Professionalism and Ethics for Planners (Planning Institute of B.C. Conference, Kelowna, May 11, 2016)
  • Board of Variance Seminar (Local Government Management Association, Richmond, May 4, 2016)
  • Big Ideas in BC Planning Law (MATI Municipal Law Course, Capilano University, North Vancouver, April 2, 2016)
  • Building Act: Local Building Requirements (Canadian Bar Association Municipal Law Section, Vancouver, February 19, 2016)
  • Legal Seminar (Planning Institute of BC Sunshine Coast Chapter, Gibsons, January 22, 2016)
  • Legal Seminar: Planning and Zoning (Planning Institute of BC Yukon Chapter, Whitehorse, September 28, 2015)
  • Working with the Auditor General for Local Government (Local Government Management Association, Prince George. June 17, 2015) 
  • Phased Strata Plan Considerations (Local Government Management Association Approving Officers Seminar, Prince George, June 16, 2015)
  • Legal Perspectives on Aboriginal Consulation (Planning Institute of BC Webinar, May 12, 2015)
  • Ethics and Professionalism in Planning (Planning Institute of BC Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, April 16, 2015)
  • Local Government Law - Recent Developments and Hot Topics (with Alyssa Bradley) (Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, Vancouver, October 17, 2014)
  • Access and Public Interest Issues for Approving Officers (Local Government Management Association Approving Officers Seminar, Vancouver, June 10, 2014)
  • Development Cost Charges and Latecomer Agreements (Government Finance Officers Association, Nanaimo, May 28, 2014)
  • Community Amenity Contributions (B.C. Land Summit, Vancouver, May 15, 2014)
  • Medical Marihuana: A Local Legal Perspective (B.C. Land Summit, Vancouver, May 15, 2014)
  • Controlling Councillor Conduct ( North Central Local Government Association, Fort St. John, May 9, 2014)
  • Legal Update (UBCM Regional District CAO Forum, Victoria, March 26, 2014)
  • A Legal Perspective on the Office of Mayor (B.C. Mayors’ Caucus, Vancouver, September 16, 2013)
  • Land Use Law in the Supreme Court of Canada (Canadian Institute  of Planners Annual Conference, Vancouver, July 7, 2013)
  • Developing a Subdivision Works and Services Bylaw (Local Government Management Association Approving Officers Seminar, Kelowna, June 11, 2013)
  • Conflict of Interest (North Central and Lower Mainland Local Government Associations, Quesnel and Harrison Hot Springs, May 3, 2013 and May 10, 2013) 
  • Legal Update (Planning Institute of B.C. South Island Chapter, March 6, 2013)


  • Local Government: A British Columbia Legal Handbook, Continuing Legal Education Society, July 2015.  This book can be purchased at:
  • 'Transient Voices of Reason: Reading Canadian Planners', Plan Canada, Fall 2012, Volume 52 No.3
  • 'British Columbia Local Governments and Climate Change', Digest of Municipal and Planning Law, November 2008.
  • 'Planning and Zoning', Halsbury’s Laws of Canada (First Edition), LexisNexis Canada, 2008. More information:
  • ‘Phased Development Agreements in British Columbia: The Return of Contract Zoning’, Digest of Municipal and Planning Law, October 2007, Vol. 12 Issue 10.
  • ‘Canadian Pacific Railway Co. v. Vancouver – A Very High Bar for Regulatory Takings?’, Municipal Lawyer, November/December 2006, Volume 47 No. 6.
  • ‘The Islands Trust: 30 Years of Protecting B.C.’s Gulf Islands’, Digest of Municipal and Planning Law, March 2005, Vol. 10 Issue 3.
  • British Columbia Planning Law and Practice, Butterworths, 2001 (updated semi-annually). More information:
  • 'Renovating Local Government Enabling Legislation: B.C.'s Community Charter', Digest of Municipal and Planning Law, November 2003, Vol. 8 Issue 11.
  • 'Musings on Metalclad, NAFTA and Land Use Planning', Digest of Municipal and Planning Law, August 2001, Vol. 6 Issue 8.
  • Real Estate Development Practice Manual, Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. (contributing author).

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Contact Information

Bill Buholzer

Young Anderson
Barristers and Solicitors
1616-808 Nelson Street
Box 12147 – Nelson Square
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H2
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