Nova Scotia Improves Land Registry

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

March 23, 2001 10:37 AM

Nova Scotia’s land registry system is getting a major overhaul,
under a new Land Registration Act introduced today in the
legislature. The act would modernize the property-registry system
to make it easier to use and more efficient.

"The current registry system is outdated, cumbersome and prone to
error," said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and
Municipal Relations. "The changes we are proposing today will
bring our registry system into the 21st century and ensure that
we keep pace with other Canadian jurisdictions."

Mr. MacIsaac said his department is acting on requests from the
business and legal communities, and property owners.

Under the proposed Land Registration Act, the government would
guarantee ownership for any property registered in the new
system. This is not possible under the present system. Property
records would be converted to an electronic format that would be
accessible through any Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations office or eventually over the Internet. Title searching
would be faster and more convenient, and the information would be
more reliable.

Nova Scotia’s land-registry system currently depends largely on
paper records stored at 18 Registry of Deeds offices across the
province. Paper records can be easily misfiled and they
deteriorate over time. The land assets recorded in this fragile
system have an estimated worth of $46 billion.

Documents now register properties under the owner’s name. The
bill proposes that each parcel of land would be linked to a
Property Identification number, called a PID, and registration
would be keyed to the parcel of land.

If passed, a one-county pilot project would be operational by the
fall of 2002, with the entire province moving to the new system
by the end of 2003. Properties would migrate from the old system
to the new as they are sold, mortgaged or subdivided into three
or more lots.

Title searching is now a cumbersome process and presently can
only be done in the county where the property exists.

"On average, we estimate that the time needed for an average
title search will be cut in half," said Mr. MacIsaac. "Plus,
there would be no need to travel to a specific county; a search
could be initiated at any registry office."

Catherine S. Walker, president of the Real Estate Lawyers
Association of Nova Scotia, was part of the review team that
helped the government develop the legislation. "Nova Scotians
deserve a property system that provides a process for achieving
certainty of title, and the new Land Registration Act will do
that,” she said. “This legislation is forward-thinking,
incorporating historical principles of land ownership in Nova
Scotia with the efficiencies of both cost and process inherent in
a modern system. We applaud it."

FAST FACTS:

-- Today’s registry contains more than 19 million pieces of
paper, and each county’s records are stored at the Registry of
Deeds office in the county.

-- There are approximately 103,000 registry transactions every
year.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Nova Scotia’s land-registry system is getting a major

overhaul, under a new Land Registration Act introduced today in

the legislature.

     Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia, says that

updating the aging, paper-based registry, where properties are

recorded by the owner’s name, is long overdue. Moving to an

electronic, property-based registry will make title searching

faster and more accurate.

The new system will offer a better way to manage Nova

Scotia’s property assets, worth an estimated forty-six billion

dollars.

     Mr. MacIsaac says the changes come at the request of the

legal and business community, and all property owners will

benefit.

– 30 –

Contact: Kevin Finch
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
         902-424-2733
         E-mail: finchkh@gov.ns.ca

kjd         March 23, 2001      10:35 A.M.