New Land Titles and Regulations Implemented

Brad Cathers
As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, July 8, 2016

by Brad Cathers, Minister of Justice

This week, the Yukon government was pleased to jointly announce with Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) that the new Land Titles Act, 2015 and accompanying regulations have now come into force.

This new legislation modernizes the system by bringing clarity and certainty to the existing market and in turn creates a better platform for responding to the increased volume and complexity of land transactions today.

The new regulations will streamline policies, process and procedures and will allow for a smooth transition to a new electronic system. These changes will accommodate new circumstances, provide Yukoners with more accessible information, and create a framework that better protects the interests of property owners. The legislative framework will also help support Yukon’s real estate market and open avenues to provide more options for economic development.

Under the new act and regulations, Yukon First Nation Category A and Category B Settlement Land can be registered at the Land Titles Office in a manner that preserves aboriginal title. For the first time in Canada, settlement land can be registered without impacting aboriginal rights. This will offer new economic opportunities to participating First Nations for residential, commercial, and agricultural development, and the opportunity for increased home ownership by individual First Nations citizens will be facilitated as a result of better access to mortgage financing for homes on settlement land.

While First Nations across the territory have been updated on the progress and given the opportunity to provide input, Kwanlin Dün First Nation in particular has been a key partner in developing this historic piece of legislation. The KDFN lands branch and legal counsel worked with Yukon Government staff on the aboriginal title of land parcels while allowing First Nations to access a stable registry system in which financial institutions, lenders and investors have confidence. It also provides a strong framework to protect the legal rights of residential, commercial, and agricultural interests.

The development of the updated act is part of the Land Titles Modernization Project, which was launched to keep pace with the ever-changing environment in modern land dealings.

Since 2012, the project has engaged numerous stakeholders through advisory committees, public comment, and consultation to identify the key issues and outline the direction the government should take moving forward. The new legislation was passed this past fall, and the government has been hard at work developing the regulations with technical input from stakeholders.

This partnership and collaboration has made the potential economic growth through land registry and development achievable for the citizens and government of Kwanlin Dün, and all settled Yukon First Nations, should they choose to implement this system under their Final and Self-Government agreements. There is no obligation to do so, and the choice to register land parcels will remain in the hands of the respective First Nation.

The Land Titles Act, 2015 as a whole creates our territory’s first fully modern title system that ensures the interests of property owners, investors, and all Yukoners when it comes to modern land transactions.