Requirements for a Claim to Crown Land Under Section 37 of the Crown Lands Act

The conditions which must be fulfilled to perfect a possessory claim to land are actual, open and notorious, continuous and exclusive possession and enjoyment of the land in a fashion which is adverse to the title of the owner. The onus is on the claimant to prove valid possession of the property by meeting all the above conditions, that is, reliance is placed on the strength of the claim, not the weakness of the owner's possession. Against the Crown, the period is 40 years.

The materials needed to support a claim of adverse possession (click here for definition of Adverse Possession) can be assembled in the following four categories:

  1. The factual basis of the claim must be presented in detail by way of a statutory declaration from the claimant and a supporting declaration from an independent third party stating their means or sources of knowledge of the alleged facts;
  2. Evidence must be provided as to when the land under claim was first occupied; by whom the occupation was made and the circumstances; the location and nature of fences, buildings or other structures defining the limits of occupation; the conditions of these structures from time to time and the maintenance carried out and by whom; the means of access to the land; the improvements that have been made to land and buildings with appropriate dates and names of individuals and the purpose for which the applicant uses the land.
  3. If the applicant claims through predecessors in title, verification of previous occupation by way of statutory declaration.
  4. A plan is an essential part of the application. The plan must show limits of the occupation on which the claim is based; the relation of these limits to the original boundaries of the parcel, roads, lands, paths, or other means of entry to the land; the location and description of all buildings; the actual land use such as pasture, cultivated field, garden etc., and any apparent easements, rights of way, or encroachments.

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