Legislation Will Accelerate Land Title Claims in Historic African Nova Scotian Communities

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****JUSTICE/COMMUNITIES/CULTURE/HERITAGE Release

Legislation Will Accelerate Land Title Claims in Historic African Nova Scotian Communities
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The Rankin government is introducing legislation that will help speed up the settling of land claims and address land ownership inequities in five historic African Nova Scotian communities.

Today, March 23, Randy Delorey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, introduced the Land Titles Initiative Acceleration Act, which proposes amendments to the Land Titles Clarification Act, the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

The Land Titles Initiative was launched in 2017 to help residents get clear title to land in East Preston, North Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville.

“Enshrining the Land Titles Initiative in legislation, investing more resources and clearing the way to settle claims more quickly demonstrates our commitment to addressing systemic racism and righting the wrongs of the past,” said Mr. Delorey. “This bill will create a foundation for positive and lasting change.”

Amendments to the Land Titles Clarification Act outline the initiative and its scope, create an expanded role for commissioners that allow for negotiation, mediation and voluntary arbitration of claims, and create broader authority to administer the initiative.

The amendments also formally establish the new $3 million compensation fund to support negotiated, mediated and arbitrated resolutions of claims involving parties with competing interests, announced on March 5. A dedicated executive director and two commissioners were also named to help accelerate this work.

With the proposed amendments to the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter, properties for which a certificate of title is issued under the Land Titles Clarification Act may be exempted from seeking subdivision approval, which can be a barrier. This will help save time and money under the often-lengthy legal processes to resolve land title claims.

Quotes:
“We have learned from the work done in these communities over the past two years. My government colleagues and I will continue to work with residents in these communities to identify solutions that remove barriers and support residents to achieve title to their families’ lands.”
​ ​ ​ ​ ​ – Tony Ince, Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives and Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs

“With this announcement, the land claims requiring more time and attention will hopefully end up with clear title. Our main goal is to see residents gain a sense of knowing what they own.”
​ ​ ​ ​ ​ – Sabrina Skinner, Community Liaison Committee member, Sunnyville

“These amendments to the Land Titles Clarification Act will provide greater clarity, solidify processes and bridge gaps that will allow us to better serve the needs of our clients and communities. Revising the municipal subdivision requirements will help address many of our clients’ unique circumstances. I am confident that this amendment will accelerate the work and help to clear many land titles in our historical African Nova Scotian communities.”
​ ​ ​ ​ ​ – Lauren Grant, manager, Land Titles Initiative

Quick Facts:
— under the Land Titles Initiative all legal and surveyor fees are covered at no cost to the applicant
— to date, the Land Titles Initiative has been successful in clearing about 200 parcels from more than 527 applications received, and more than 850 eligible parcels
— a community liaison committee comprised of residents from the five Land Titles Initiative communities has been formed to ensure the province receives input from affected citizens and ensure government accountability
— lawyer and community leader Angela Simmonds is the executive director and The Honourable Corrine Sparks and The Honourable Valerie Miller (retired) have been named as commissioners to help resolve disputes

Additional Resources:
To learn more about the Land Titles initiative visit: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/landtitles

Investments in Land Titles Initiative to Speed Up Claims March 5 news release: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210305001

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