Buying Crown Land from the Province of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has a limited amount of Crown land. Only 35% of the Nova Scotia landmass is owned and administered by the province, compared to 50–90% in other provinces and territories in Canada. The land administered by the Department of Natural Resources is called Crown land (about 29% of the land in Nova Scotia). Because of the limited amount of Crown land and existing commitments on Crown land—such as forestry licenses, parks, trails, and leases—we rarely offer Crown land for sale. However, requests to buy Crown land may be authorized by the Minister or Cabinet under the Crown Lands Act and under other acts such as the Beaches and Foreshores Act.

Nova Scotia’s Sale of Crown Land Policy sets out the circumstances in which Crown land may be sold. For example, Crown land may be sold:

  • to a municipality, agency, non-profit group, or community organization when a public benefit can be demonstrated
  • to support or promote economic activity when all other reasonable alternatives have been canvassed by the applicant
  • to alleviate undue hardship or in extenuating circumstances, when in the best interests of the province.

How to apply to buy crown land

You can apply online or download an application form from our website.

Our process

As with other activities on Crown land, applications to buy Crown land are reviewed to evaluate possible impacts on programs and values (integrated resource management review). We also consult with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia to determine if the sale could impact Aboriginal and treaty rights. Sales must also be approved by the Minister or Cabinet.


The time required to complete a Crown land purchase depends on the nature and complexity of the request. Factors include the time it takes to complete aboriginal consultation, the appraisal, and the land survey. An additional factor is whether or not the parcel is registered in the land registration system before the sale.


The sale price is usually the market value as determined by an appraiser certified by the Appraisal Institute of Canada. The purchaser must also pay:

  • the legal fees and costs for migrating the land into the land registration system
  • the cost of having the land appraised
  • any costs associated with aboriginal consultation
  • the cost of hiring a land surveyor, if required.

pdf icon Download the brochure on Buying Crown Land