Government responds to input from Yukoners with progress on the Land Titles Modernization Project

Brad Cathers
As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, November 20, 2015

by Brad Cathers, Minister of Justice

This week, the Yukon Legislative Assembly passed a new modernized Land Titles Act, part of a project which we began by listening to Yukoners.

The goals of the Land Titles Modernization Project are to make land transactions simpler, to provide citizens with better access to land titles information, and to work with Yukon First Nations to expand opportunities for their settlement land.

As part of this project, we reached out to the public and stakeholders and asked them to share their views. They talked about the importance of modernizing the Land Titles Act, which had changed very little in the last century.

We listened, and now we’re delivering. The new Land Titles Act and its regulations – which will be developed next – allow the Land Titles Office to move from a paper-based system to an electronic system. An electronic registry will enable anyone with an internet connection to search through land titles and documents filed with the Land Titles Office.

In a first for Canada, the new legislation will allow for registration of First Nation Settlement Land in the Yukon Land Titles Office while safeguarding aboriginal title. We were very pleased to work in partnership with First Nations to achieve this ground-breaking legislation.

Under the new legislation, the land titles registrar will have clear authority to make rules and to establish checklists for examining documents and survey plans. Forms used to register plans and instruments will be established by regulation. This means that it will be easier to amend forms to meet current legal and financial requirements.

Yukon will now join other jurisdictions in requiring that certificates of title be issued for all lots shown on a survey plan that is being registered. This will ensure consistency between the records of the Land Titles Office and those of the Surveyor-General of Canada.

Provisions for accepting and rejecting submissions will be clearly outlined under the new Act and regulations. If any instrument or survey plan is rejected, the applicant will be provided with a clear written explanation. The applicant can challenge that finding, with the registrar making a final decision, subject only to an appeal to the courts.

New offences for fraud, false representation or tampering with records are also introduced under the Act. And finally, the Act contains modernized language so that it is clearer and easier to follow.

All of these changes add up to a modern, streamlined and more efficient land titles system which will benefit all Yukoners.

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