Saskatchewan’s new Provincial Lands Act, 2016 and its associated regulations have been proclaimed and are now in effect.
Jointly administered by the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, The Provincial Lands Act was originally drafted to accommodate the settlement of the west and has been largely unchanged since its introduction in the 1930s.
“Keeping our legislation modern and in touch with the needs of Saskatchewan people is a priority,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said. “These updates will help facilitate economic growth and reduce administration processes to improve client service.”
More than 98 million acres of Crown lands are administered between the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment under the Act.
“This revised legislation is part of a government-wide effort to modernize the legislative framework, provide better environmental protection and keep our province and processes current and forward-looking,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said.
The amendments include:
Better protection for Crown land by providing government with the ability to respond and take action when land is being misused, such as issuing immediate stop work orders;
Creating the framework for Ministry of Agriculture Crown leases to be used as security; Increasing the time period of certain long-term leases where significant investments are possible, such as wind power development; and
Modernization of wording contained in the Act.
The amendments also put into law regulations for the Ministry of Agriculture that include:
The ability to work with lessees during extenuating circumstances where previously lease cancellation was the only option;
Clarifying the ability of leaseholders to control access on their land;
A clear annual deadline by which leases must be surrendered to avoid rental charges; and
Lease cancellation authority upon municipal tax arrears of one year.
These updates to the legislation and regulations reflect what was heard during an in-depth consultation process with lessees, stakeholders and First Nations and Métis communities in 2013 and 2016.