Cross Jurisdictional Scan of Options for Access to Crown Land for Agriculture in Canada with Implications for the Ontario Clay Belt
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of Canadian and U.S. policies governing access to government owned land for agricultural use and to identify potential obstacles and opportunities for access to Crown land for beef production in the Clay Belt. We identify a number of information challenges associated with the application for agricultural land use permits on Crown land in the Clay Belt. These challenges include information on the appropriate application process for agricultural land use permits. The costliness of this information is likely to constrain agricultural use in general and may constrain livestock farming in particular. The extent to which livestock farming is diminished depends on the advantages of livestock farming in the area versus other agricultural uses of the land and associated issues such as available plot size etc. In this regard, this report provides the necessary institutional background to support future research on both the agricultural sector and specific types of farming.
Our research proceeded in several stages. First, we identified initial contacts in Canadian Provinces. We followed these contacts’ recommendations in terms of key literature or other contacts that may be appropriate. Next, we interviewed contacts and summarized the interview results. This was followed by an overview of the history of agriculture in the Clay Belt and lessons learned, and an assessment of the importance of the competing land uses for the expansion of agriculture in the Clay Belt. The central theme of the report is the identification and assessment of the current land tenure arrangements in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. We summarized relevant statistics on the agricultural use of Crown land, described the process for accessing Crown land in different provinces, outlined the terms of access, listed the rental rates, and developed a framework for comparative assessment of tenure arrangements (Table 6). The comparison categories include: (1) Ministry Administering Disposition of Crown Land, (2) Typical Tenure Option for Grazing on Crown Land, (3) Initial Lease/Land Use Permit (LUP) Allocation Mechanisms, (4) Lease (LUP)-to-Buy Option, (5) Direct Purchase Option, (6) Grazing Lease Length, (7) Rental Rate Determination Process, (8) Crown Rental Rates, (9) Market Rental Rates, (10) Lease Transfer Mechanism. The comparative assessment showed that Ontario might consider adopting some of the land access options that are currently available in other Canadian provinces.
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