Foreign Ownership of Saskatchewan Farmland

By Benedict Feist|January 17, 2018|Uncategorized|

In Saskatchewan, foreign individuals and corporations are restricted from owning over 10 acres of farmland.

The relevant legislation is outlined in The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.

A few years ago, there was some discussion about these restrictions on foreign ownership by the Saskatchewan government. They were considering removing the restriction, but did not (see, for interest.)

Under s. 76 of the Act:

(d) “farm land” means real property in Saskatchewan that is situated outside a city, town, village, hamlet or resort village or the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District as defined in The Northern Municipalities Act and that is used or is capable of being used for the purposes of farming, but does not include:

(i) minerals contained in, on or under that real property;

(ii) land used primarily for the purpose of extracting, processing, storing or transporting minerals; and

(iii) land used primarily for sand and gravel extraction;

Under s. 2 of the act “farming” is defined as follows:

(g) “farming” includes livestock raising, poultry raising, dairying, tillage of the soil, bee-keeping, fur farming or any other activity undertaken to produce primary agricultural produce and animals;

Many jurisdictions across Canada continue to restrict foreign ownership of agricultural land. Although Saskatchewan toyed with the idea of weakening these restrictions, the government continued to protect farmland due to public opposition. (Source – Government of Saskatchewan, 2015).

So the majority of rural property in Saskatchewan would be considered as falling under the foreign ownership restriction – as long as it is outside a townsite or urban area, and can be used for bee-keeping, etc. Both foreign corporations and individuals are restricted from owning over 10 acres. The Saskatchewan government has also released a guide to outline these restrictions in more detail.

A process exists where individuals or corporations may apply to the Farm Security Board for an exemption. The legislation additionally provides for certain special exemptions for land owned by a foreigner as the result of an inheritance. Under s. 82 of the Act, if a person comes to inherit more than the 10 acres allowed, they have five years to become a resident of Saskatchewan or sell the land. There are also some complex exemptions for relatives under s. 83 of the Act.

 

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