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In This Volume

  • 1 In this Act:
  • “absolute certificate of title” means a certificate of title issued on the registration of an absolute fee and includes such a certificate issued before October 31, 1979;
  • “approving officer” means, as applicable,
  • (a) the municipal approving officer under section 77,
  • (b) the regional district approving officer under section 77.1,
  • (c) the islands trust approving officer under section 77.1,
  • (d) the Provincial approving officer under section 77.2,
  • (e) the Nisga’a approving officer under section 77.3, or
  • (f) the treaty first nation approving officer appointed under section 77.21;
  • “apt descriptive words” means a metes and bounds description and includes an abbreviated description;
  • “Board of Directors” means the board of directors of the Land Title and Survey Authority;
  • “book” includes a file, index and an electronic data bank;
  • “building scheme” means a scheme of development that comes into existence where defined land is laid out in parcels and intended to be sold to different purchasers or leased or subleased to different lessees, each of whom enters into a restrictive covenant with the common vendor or lessor agreeing that his or her particular parcel is subject to certain restrictions as to use, the restrictive covenants constituting a special local law applicable to the defined land and the benefit and burden of the covenants passing to, as the case may be, the purchaser, lessee or sublessee of the parcel and his or her successors in title;
  • “Category A Lands” has the same meaning as in the Nisga’a Final Agreement;
  • “Category B Lands” has the same meaning as in the Nisga’a Final Agreement;
  • “charge” means an estate or interest in land less than the fee simple and includes
  • (a) an estate or interest registered as a charge under section 179, and
  • (b) an encumbrance;
  • “chief executive officer” means the chief executive officer of the Land Title and Survey Authority;
  • “designated highways official” means an employee of the Ministry of Transportation designated, by name or by title, by the minister responsible for that ministry as a designated highways official for the purposes of the applicable provision of this Act;
  • “director” means the Director of Land Titles appointed under section 9 and a registrar instructed under section 10 to perform the duties and exercise the powers of the director;
  • “distinguishing letter” includes a distinguishing number;
  • “duplicate indefeasible title” means a certificate issued under section 176(1) or a duplicate certificate of indefeasible title issued before August 1, 1983;
  • “electronic” includes created, recorded, transmitted or stored in digital or other intangible form by electronic, magnetic or optical means or by other similar means;
  • “encumbrance” includes
  • (a) a judgment, mortgage, lien, Crown debt or other claim to or on land created or given for any purpose, whether by the act of the parties or any Act or law, and whether voluntary or involuntary,
  • (b) in respect of Nisga’a Lands, a judgment, mortgage, lien, debt owed to the Nisga’a Nation or a Nisga’a Village or other claim to or on Nisga’a Lands created or given for any purpose by any Nisga’a law, and whether voluntary or involuntary, and
  • (c) in respect of treaty lands, a judgment, mortgage, lien, debt owed to the treaty first nation or other claim to or on those treaty lands created or given for any purpose by a law of the treaty first nation, and whether voluntary or involuntary;
  • “endorse”, “enter” or “note” means to store information in the records, including information respecting a cancellation;
  • “enduring power of attorney” means an enduring power of attorney made under Part 2 of the Power of Attorney Act;
  • “explanatory plan” means a plan that
  • (a) is not based on a survey but on existing descriptions, plans or records of the land title office, and
  • (b) is certified correct in accordance with the records of the land title office by a British Columbia land surveyor or by
    • (i) a person designated under section 121(7) of the Forest Act for the purpose of that section, or
    • (ii) the minister charged with the administration of the Transportation Act;
  • “former Act” means the Land Registry Act, R.S.B.C. 1960, c. 208;
  • “highway” includes a public street, path, walkway, trail, lane, bridge, road, thoroughfare and any other public way;
  • “indefeasible title” means
  • (a) a certificate of indefeasible title issued by the registrar under this Act or the former Act, at any time before August 1, 1983, and
  • (b) that part of the information stored in the register respecting one title number, that is required under section 176(2) to be contained in a duplicate indefeasible title;
  • “instrument” means
  • (a) a Crown grant or other transfer of Crown land, and
  • (b) a document or plan relating to the transfer, charging or otherwise dealing with or affecting land, or evidencing title to it, and includes, without limitation
    • (i) a grant of probate or administration or other trust instrument, and
    • (ii) an Act;
  • “judgment” means a judgment as defined in the Court Order Enforcement Act or that is deemed to be or to be made registrable in the same manner as a judgment under that Act by any other Act;
  • “Land Title and Survey Authority” means the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia;
  • “land title district” includes a land registration district under the former Act;
  • “land title office” includes a land registry office under the former Act;
  • “lease or agreement for lease for a term not exceeding 3 years if there is actual occupation under the lease or agreement” means a lease or agreement for lease for a term that, at its beginning, does not exceed 3 years if there is actual occupation under the lease or agreement, and, if an option or covenant for renewal is included in the lease or agreement, the option or covenant must not extend the total lease periods beyond 3 years;
  • “Ministry of Transportation” means the ministry of the minister charged with the administration of the Transportation Act;
  • “Nisga’a certificate” means a certificate of the Nisga’a Lisims Government referred to in paragraph 7(b) of the Land Title Chapter of the Nisga’a Final Agreement;
  • “Nisga’a Corporation” has the same meaning as in the Nisga’a Final Agreement;
  • “Nisga’a road” has the same meaning as in the Nisga’a Final Agreement;
  • “Nisga’a Village Lands” has the same meaning as in the Nisga’a Final Agreement;
  • “owner” means a person registered in the records as owner of land or of a charge on land, whether entitled to it in the person’s own right or in a representative capacity or otherwise, and includes a registered owner;
  • “parcel” means a lot, block or other area in which land is held or into which land is subdivided;
  • “posting plan” means a plan filed as a posting plan under this or the former Act;
  • “record”, as a verb, means write or stamp manually or annotate electronically;
  • “records” includes the register, books, indices, drawings, plans, instruments and other documents or any part of them registered, deposited, filed or lodged in the land title office, and those recorded or stored by any means, whether graphic, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, in any location approved by the Board of Directors;
  • “register” means
  • (a) as a noun, that part of the records where information respecting registered indefeasible titles is stored or, if the context requires, the register of absolute fees, and
  • (b) as a verb, to register under this Act;
  • “registrar” means a registrar appointed under this Act and includes a deputy registrar or acting registrar;
  • “right to flood” means a right or power to flood or otherwise injuriously affect land for purposes related to the construction, maintenance or operation of a dam, reservoir or other plant used or to be used for or in connection with the generation, manufacture, distribution or supply of power;
  • “rural area” means an area outside a municipality;
  • “sketch plan” means an adequately dimensioned drawing of the area affected by a lease of all or part of a building located on land shown on a plan of survey deposited in the land title office;
  • “solicitor” includes a barrister;
  • “statutory right of way” means an easement without a designated dominant tenement registrable under section 218;
  • “statutory right of way plan” means a plan prepared by a British Columbia land surveyor and deposited under section 113;
  • “subdivision” means the division of land into 2 or more parcels, whether by plan, apt descriptive words or otherwise;
  • “transfer” includes a conveyance, a grant and an assignment;
  • “transferee” includes a grantee and an assignee;

    “transferor” includes a grantor and an assignor;

    “transmission” means a change of ownership

  • (a) effected by the operation of an Act or law,
  • (b) under an order of a court, or
  • (c) consequent on any change in the office of a personal representative or trustee,
  • but does not include
  • (d) an amalgamation of 2 or more corporations, however effected, whether or not the amalgamation is in respect of a beneficial or a trust estate or interest in land, or
  • (e) an amalgamation under the Strata Property Act;
  • “true copy” means
  • (a) in relation to a paper document, an exact copy of the document, and
  • (b) in relation to an electronic document,
    • (i) an exact copy of the document, or
    • (ii) a legible paper copy of the document containing every material provision and particular contained in the original.

1979-219-1; 1982-60-1, proclaimed effective August 1, 1983; 1987-23-87, effective December 24, 1987 (B.C. Reg. 451/87); 1992-32-8, effective February 1, 1993 (B.C. Reg. 18/93); 1997-25-31, effective March 26, 1998 (B.C. Reg. 85/98); 1999-2-44, effective May 11, 2000 (B.C. Reg. 146/00); 1998-43-304, effective July 1, 2000 (B.C. Reg. 43/2000); 2003-66-33, 34, 35; 2004-12-9; 2004-44-121, effective December 31, 2004 (B.C. Reg. 547/2004); 2004-66-66, effective January 20, 2005 (B.C. Reg. 16/2005); 2006-24-23, effective July 21, 2006 (B.C. Reg. 229/2006); 2007-36-107, effective April 3, 2009 (B.C. Reg. 55/2009); 2007-34-85, effective September 1, 2011 (B.C. Reg. 14/2011); 2014-32-36; 2018-37-11, effective November 15, 2019 (B.C. Reg. 171/2019).

CROSS REFERENCES AND OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Interpreting Words and Phrases in the Land Title Act and Regulations

Definitions

The definitions of the words in this section apply generally to the Act and to regulations made under it. Other sections of the Act or regulations specify different definitions of the same words for interpretation of specific parts or sections. For example, s. 41 defines “transferor”, for the purposes of Part 5 only, to include a grantor and assignor and any other transferring or charging party. Other sections of the Act and regulations define words not interpreted in s. 1. For example, s. 10 defines “acting director” or “acting registrar” as a registrar performing the duties of the director or a registrar of another land title district during the illness or absence of the director or registrar or during a vacancy in the applicable office.

“Mean” and “Include”

Note that s. 1 defines words either to “mean” or to “include”. Where s. 1 defines a word to “mean” something, that indicates that the definition is exhaustive. Where s. 1 defines a word to “include” something, that indicates that the definition is not exhaustive and that the word may have other applicable definitions.

Other Sources of Definitions

There are sources of definitions outside this Act. Section 1 does not repeat matters defined in the Interpretation Act, which is included at (Interpretation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 238) in this Manual. Where neither the Land Title Act nor the Interpretation Act defines a word or term, check legal dictionaries and case law.

Secondary Sources

See Di Castri, Registration of Title to Land, vol. 1, paras. 39 and 47, and vol. 2, para. 692.

CASE LAW

“Approving Officer”

There is no prohibition against the appointment of more than one approving officer (Genevieve Holdings Ltd. v. Kamloops (City), [1988] B.C.J. No. 84 (QL) (S.C.) (Chambers)).

“Charge”, “Encumbrance”

The words “registered owner of charge” appearing below “possibility of reverter” on a certificate of title cannot be seen as conclusive evidence that the possibility of reverter constitutes a “charge” within the meaning of s. 207(1). Their purpose is solely to provide notice, indicating that a fee simple has been converted into a determinable fee. They cannot semantically create what a possibility of reverter is not—”an estate or interest in land less than a fee simple”. A possibility of reverter is a limitation on the extent of a determinable fee and hence, a limitation on the grant. It is not a charge. Nor is it an encumbrance within the broadest meaning of the word because it does not diminish the value of the land and because it is inconsistent with the passing of the fee simple by conveyance (Westsea Construction Ltd. v. British Columbia (Registrar, Land Title Office), 1995 CanLII 1087 (BC SC); see also the annotations for this decision under s. 231 of this Act and ss. 8 and 10 of the Property Law Act in this Manual).

A certificate of grant filed in the land title office in accordance with the Home Purchase Assistance Act is a “charge” because the debt owed to the Crown, which it represents, is an “encumbrance” (First City Trust Co. v. Thomas 1979 CanLII 660 (BC SC)).

“Encumbrance”

A direction to pay from proceeds of the sale of land is not an “encumbrance” because it conveys no interest in the funds or land. Consequently, a judgment dated subsequent to a direction to pay and registered against title ranks in priority (Miller v. Miller, 1984 CanLII 591 (BC SC)).

Where a contract of purchase and sale requires the vendor to convey the property “free and clear of all encumbrances” save those contained in the original grant from the Crown, or restrictive covenants and rights of way in favour of utilities and public authorities, a registered right of way reserving to the grantor, and his or her heirs and assigns “the right at any time to lay down water pipes … and to keep and maintain the same” is an “encumbrance” as defined in the Land Title Act. A vendor’s refusal to remove the encumbrance relieves a purchaser of its obligation to complete the transaction (Roland Construction Ltd. v. Williamson Pacific Developments Inc., 1992 CanLII 1365 (BC SC)).

An Indian band appealed from a decision of the registrar refusing to register a certificate of pending litigation and a caveat against privately owned lands over which the band was seeking to assert an aboriginal land claim. The purpose of the Act is to establish a means to certify the ownership of indefeasible titles and to simplify transfers thereof. The definition of encumbrance in the Act indicates that only encumbrances emanating from the indefeasible fee or those specifically authorized by legislation are included. Like licences, short-term leases, and zoning bylaws, aboriginal rights do not fit into that category (Skeetchestn Indian Band v. British Columbia (Registrar of Land Titles), 2000 BCSC 118, affirmed 2000 BCCA 525); see also the annotations for this decision under ss. 23(2)(a), 197, and 282 of the Act).

An encumbrance is defined in s. 1 of the Act as including “a judgment, mortgage, lien, Crown debt or other claim to or on land …”. The owner of a quarter share in a strata lot held its interest in the quarter share as a tenant in common. The court found that this interest was not an encumbrance within the meaning of s. 1 of the Act but rather simply the manner in which the title was held (British Columbia (Assessor of Area No. 6–Courtenay) v. Crown Isle Development Corp., 2008 BCSC 100).

“Instrument”

Foreign letters patent amalgamating companies and vesting all property of the former company constitute an “instrument” (Re Quieting Titles Act; Re a Certain Lot, New Westminster District, 1962 CanLII 538 (BC SC)).

“Subdivision”

Section 1 defines “subdivision” as “the division of land into 2 or more parcels, whether by plan, apt descriptive words or otherwise”. The words “plan” and “apt descriptive words” indicate that subdivision is to be effected by legal documents. Consequently, the words “or otherwise” cannot be read so broadly as to encompass physical severance of a parcel by means such as the expropriation of strips of land by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. A “subdivision” is a legal concept first, and the physical consequences flow from the legal declaration that a subdivision is to occur. The reverse is not true (Elsom v. Delta (Approving Officer), 1993 CanLII 921 (BC SC), affirmed 1995 CanLII 742 (BC CA); see also the annotations for this decision under ss. 75, 86, 89, 99, and 219 of this Act).

“Transfer” and “Transmission”

The sale of strata property in foreclosure proceedings made under a court order is a “transmission” of ownership as defined in s. 1 of the Land Title Act. It is not a “transfer” and therefore not a conveyance. Accordingly, s. 256 of the Strata Property Act is inapplicable and no Form F is required (Peoples Trust Co. v. Meadowlark Estates Ltd., 2003 BCSC 1321 (Master), applications allowed 2005 BCSC 51, citing CIBC Mortgage Corp. v. Spreeuw, 2001 BCSC 1729 (Master); see also the annotations for these decisions under ss. 1 and 34 of the Land Title Act and ss. 116 and 256 of the Strata Property Act).