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Legislation for Saskatchewan Farmland Ownership to be Introduced


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 20, 2015
Released on October 20, 2015
Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.  The legislative amendments will clarify who can own farmland and will provide the Farm Land Security Board (FLSB) with more authority to enforce the Act.

“This summer, we asked the people of Saskatchewan to share their views to help us inform our decision on farmland ownership,” Stewart said.  “They did, and as a result we are making changes that will keep farmland accessible to Saskatchewan’s farmers and ranchers.  I am pleased to announce that we are clarifying the rules around farmland ownership in the province.”

Legislative amendments to The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act will enshrine the regulations introduced in April as law.

Amendments including:
  • Making pension plans, administrators of pension fund assets and trusts not eligible to buy farmland;
  • Defining “having an interest in farmland” to include any type of interest or benefit (i.e. capital appreciation), either directly or indirectly, that is normally associated with ownership of the land; and
  • When financing a purchase of farmland, all financing must be through a financial institution registered to do business in Canada, or a Canadian resident.
In addition, the FLSB will receive new and expanded authority to enforce the legislation, including:
  • At the discretion of the FLSB, any person purchasing farmland must complete a statutory declaration;
  • Placing the onus to prove compliance with the legislation onto the person purchasing the land;
  • Increasing fines for being in contravention of the legislation from $10,000 to $50,000 for individuals and from $100,000 to $500,000 for corporations; and
  • Authorizing the FLSB to impose administrative penalties to a maximum of $10,000.
“Our government understands that to many in the province, farmland is not just an asset,” Stewart said.  “It is a connection to our history and who we are as people.  Farmers and ranchers want the opportunity to own the land they farm.”

Through the consultations, the views of more than 3,200 individuals, businesses and organizations were heard.  Overwhelmingly, the majority voiced support for making pensions and large investment trusts ineligible to purchase farmland, and limiting the ownership of farmland to Canadian residents and 100 per cent Canadian-owned corporations.

The complete results of the consultation are available at www.saskatchewan.ca/farmland.

Following passage of the legislation and regulations, the new rules are expected to come into effect by the new year.

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Hein
Agriculture
Regina
Phone: 306-787-5389
Email: sarah.hein@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-527-9102
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SK Farmland Ownership survey raps up


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 13, 2015

With public consultations on farmland ownership rules wrapped this week, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart is keeping an open mind about what legislative changes, if any, are needed to the Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.

While admitting “he hadn’t a clue” what kind of changes respondents wanted, Stewart said the government would be “informed” by the results of the survey. “Depending on the results of the survey, we may deem that no change is required. So in that case, there would be no legislation,” Stewart told reporters at the Legislative Building Wednesday.

But Stewart added: “There’s a fairly strong likelihood that we’ll find from the results of the survey that the respondents would like some kind of change. That being the case, we’ll have some legislation prepared to go in the fall session.”

During the three-month consultation period, the government received nearly 3,200 responses to its survey on the issue, with 62 per cent of coming from farmers. Only six per cent of respondents were non-residents.

Stewart conceded there will likely be some disagreement between farmers and business over the issue of farmland ownership by pension funds and other institutional investors.

Full story at Regina Leader Post

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SK FARMLAND OWNERSHIP CONSULTATIONS OPEN FOR TWO MORE WEEKS


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 27, 2015

The Government of Saskatchewan released today ......

There are two weeks left to participate in the farmland ownership survey. Consultations run until Monday, August 10. 

As of July 24, 2015, more than 1,700 surveys have been received.  The information collected will help the Government of Saskatchewan determine who should be allowed to own farmland in Saskatchewan. 

“We are pleased with the amount of participation to date,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said.  “That being said, there is still time left to take part, and I encourage everyone interested to have their say.  The more people who participate, the fuller our understanding will be of public opinion regarding farmland ownership in our province. It will help ensure that we make the best decisions for the people of Saskatchewan.”

Once consultations end, survey results and comments will be posted online in the fall of 2015.  Names, addresses and all other identifying information will be removed before results are published.  After the results have been analyzed, decisions will be made regarding next steps. 

The survey can be completed online at www.Saskatchewan.ca/farmland.  Paper copies are available at Ministry of Agriculture Regional Offices and can be requested by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.  An education document accompanies the survey to give participants information regarding the existing legislation surrounding farmland ownership in the province.

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