By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
In April, the provincial government announced it would be seeking public input as part of its review of The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act. As a result of input from more than 3,200 individuals, businesses and organizations, changes will clarify who can own farmland and will provide the Farm Land Security Board (FLSB) with more authority to enforce the Act. Legislative amendments will enshrine the regulations introduced in April as law and are expected to come into effect by the new year.
- 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.