There will soon be some new rules and regulations regarding who can own farmland in Saskatchewan.
On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act. The amendments will define who can own farmland and will provide the Farm Land Security Board with more authority to enforce the act.
This summer, the province asked people to share their views about farmland ownership.
The amendments include:
- 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, either directly or indirectly, that is normally associated with ownership of the land.
- 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 to these changes, the Farm Land Security Board 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.
- Authorizing the FLSB to impose administrative penalties to a maximum of $10,000.
The province conducted consultations with more than 3,200 individuals, businesses, and organizations to formulate changes for The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act. The majority voiced support for making pensions and large investment trusts ineligible to purchase farmland, and limiting farmland ownership to Canadian residents and Canadian-owned corporations.
The legislation still has to be passed but the new rules are expected to come into effect by the new year.