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Provincial Government Seeking Public Input on Lands Act Amendments

The Provincial Government is seeking public and stakeholder input on amendments to section 36 of the Lands Act. This section focuses on adverse possession of Crown lands – commonly referred to as “squatters’ rights.”

Three changes are being considered to clarify adverse possession and protect the land interests of the people of the province, including:

  • Changing the possessory period of land from the current 20 continuous years immediately prior to January 1, 1977, to 10 continuous years immediately prior to January 1, 1977. No other period of possession would count in acquiring an interest in Crown lands;
  • Setting a definitive time period within which persons making claims to Crown lands based on adverse possession have to make those claims; and
  • Allowing the Crown to issue a document that declares the Crown claims no interest where the conditions of adverse possession have been met, without granting title or transferring any interest.

An online questionnaire regarding the proposed changes, as well as details on submitting written feedback and other submission alternatives can be found at engageNL.

In addition, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture is contacting stakeholder groups directly to request their input during virtual engagement sessions to be held later this month.

The Provincial Government has a legal duty to administer Crown lands in a responsible manner. While adverse possession against the Crown was abolished on January 1, 1977, this type of land claim is common due to the nature of early settlement in Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposed amendments aim to help address challenges related to Crown title, and I encourage anyone with an interest to share their thoughts by participating in this consultation.”
Honourable Derrick Bragg, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture

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Media contact
Linda Skinner
Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture
709-637-2284, 632-8167