The land title office is committed to providing current reference material for land title office staff and conveyancing practitioners. As an expression of this commitment, the land title office has authorized publication of the Land Title Practice Manual and the Land Title Electronic Forms Guidebook. The purposes of these materials are to explain the practice which has been adopted by the Land Title Division; to illustrate, with examples, the documents and instruments acceptable to the registrar; and to provide summaries of the case law and cross references to other publications of general interest to both staff and practitioners.
Volume 1 of the Manual contains the complete text of the Land Title Act, the Land Title Act Regulation, B.C. Reg. 334/79, the Land Title Act (Board of Directors) Regulation, B.C. Reg. 332/2010, and land title forms. Volumes 2 and 3 include a compendium of other statutes relevant to land title practice and supplementary material on selected topics, including additional requirements, practice bulletins, and practice notes issued by the Director of Land Titles.
Where a section of an Act has been interpreted, the Manual includes a summary of the case law, practice notes issued by the Director of Land Titles, the text of circular letters issued by the Surveyor General, comments from the approving officer, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and other commentary from various public agencies whose policies and procedures affect land title practice.
The third edition of the Manual has been updated to reflect the law and practice to September 1, 2020, except where otherwise expressly noted (such as September 30, 2020 effective date for E-Filing Directions v. 1.2, as well as September 4, 2020 and September 30, 2020 amendments to the Agricultural Land Commission Act and associated regulations) with the assistance of the following sources:
- Provincial statutes and regulations in the B.C. Regulations Bulletin No. 326 (September 8, 2020), up to and including B.C. Reg. 226/2020.
- Federal statutes and regulations in Canada, Consolidated Acts, up to and including September 1, 2020.
- Case law in the Supreme Court of Canada and British Columbia Superior Courts Judgments Databases, up to and including September 1, 2020.
In addition to the Manual, the land title office has authorized publication of the Land Title Electronic Forms Guidebook, 6th ed. (the “Green Book”). The Green Book contains selected provisions from the Land Title Act, the directions of the Director of Land Titles for electronic forms, completion instructions, and related materials.
The Manual and the Green Book comprise the land title practice materials. Each publication is updated as required to reflect significant changes in legislation, case law, or practice. The Manual and the Green Book are available in hardcopy and electronic form.
At the time of the 2020 Update to the Manual, portions of the Land Owner Transparency Act, S.B.C. 2019, c. 23 (Bill 23—2019) had been brought into force. In addition, the Land Title and Survey Authority was implementing its Web Filing initiative under Project ACE (Advanced Customer Enhancements). Web Filing is an update to the LTSA’s Electronic Filing System (EFS) that reflects the evolution of policy, technology, and LTSA customers’ business. The introduction of Web Filing forms is one of several steps towards streamlining land title submissions, increasing efficiency and accuracy, and maintaining a secure and reliable registry. For more information on Web Filing, see https://ltsa.ca/web-filing-now-available. All relevant developments will be incorporated into the next Update to the Manual.
THE TORRENS SYSTEM
The Torrens land title registration system provides a sure method for determining and assuring title to land. It was devised by Sir Robert Torrens and first introduced in 1858 in Australia. The system was modified and adopted in the colony of Vancouver Island in 1861 with the enactment of the Vancouver Island Land Registry Act. The system was extended to the combined colony of British Columbia by the Land Registry Ordinance of 1870.
Under a Torrens system, security of title is based on the principles of indefeasibility, registration, abolition of notice and assurance.
A title that is indefeasible cannot be defeated, revoked, or made void. The person who has title has a right, good against the world, to the land. Under the British Columbia Torrens system, evidence of the right to land is constituted by a registered indefeasible title which includes the name of the owner and the names of any others who have interests in the property. Other interests include, for example, mortgages, agreements for sale, leases, easements, covenants, rights of way, and judgments.
There are a limited number of exceptions to the principle of indefeasibility. These are enumerated in s. 23 of the Land Title Act.
To establish an indefeasible title, the documents that transfer legal ownership or create an interest in land must be filed and registered in the land title office. Registration has the effect of passing the estate or interest in land. While registration is not mandatory in British Columbia, failure to register means that the estate or interest claimed by an owner cannot be enforced against a third party.
With the adoption of the Torrens system, the principle of notice has been abolished. It is not necessary, in British Columbia, to make an exhaustive inquiry into the validity of a title or an interest. Rather, a person who deals with land is entitled to rely on the register. A limited number of exceptions to this principle are set out in s. 29 of the Act.
The Land Title Act establishes assurance funds to compensate individuals who are deprived of title or an interest in land through the operation of the Torrens system. The circumstances under which an application for compensation can be made are set out in ss. 294.2 and 296 of the Act.
THE LEGAL DESCRIPTION OF LAND
Documents submitted for registration to the land title office must include an accurate, legally acceptable description of the land. Over the years, a number of survey systems have evolved.
One of the earliest, the Dominion Township system, is based on the meridians of longitude numbered westward from the principal meridian near Winnipeg. The fifth meridian is just east of the southeastern corner of the province, the sixth is just east of Revelstoke, the seventh runs through Cultus Lake, and the coast meridian falls near the junction of the Fraser and Pitt Rivers.
The area between the meridians is divided into six-mile squares called townships which are arranged in north/south rows called ranges. Ranges are numbered west from the meridians. Townships are numbered north from the border with the United States. Each township is divided into blocks of 36 one square mile sections. The sections are further subdivided into quarter sections and legal subdivisions.
The Provincial Township system is similar to the Dominion system except that it is not linked to the meridians of latitude. It adopts the terminology of the Dominion system but was used to survey only specific areas where settlement was anticipated.
The District Lot system has also been used in many areas of the province. In contrast to the lengthy legal description of parcels of land under the Dominion or Provincial systems, the legal description of an original parcel under the District Lot system contains only the lot number and the district name.
The further division of original lots is accomplished through subdivision plans, strata plans and air space plans, each of which must be prepared by a British Columbia land surveyor. The plans are deposited in the land title office and assigned a lot and plan number.
The British Columbia Torrens system does not guarantee the accuracy of property boundaries. However, the Land Title Act provides for the deposit of a reference plan where boundaries are re-surveyed (s. 100) and gives the minister authority to order a special survey (Part 23). Section 36 of the Property Law Act provides for boundary adjustments and compensation where a building encroaches on an adjoining lot.
THE LAND TITLE AND SURVEY AUTHORITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (the “authority”) is established as a corporation under the Land Title and Survey Authority Act, S.B.C. 2004, c. 66. The purposes of the authority are to manage the land title and survey systems in British Columbia, to facilitate the execution of Crown grants and to carry out other necessary or advisable activities. A copy of the Act is included in chapter 46 (Land Title and Survey Authority Act, S.B.C. 2004, c. 66) of the Manual.
The land title division is part of the authority. The Director of Land Titles is responsible for the overall operation of the land title division. The director approves policy, issues practice directives to land title offices, and provides advice on matters affecting the land title system. In addition, the director has authority to approve forms, to approve the manner in which certain documents are executed or completed and to require certain kinds of information in relation to registration applications.
The province is divided into seven land title districts. Responsibility for the administration of the land title system rests with the registrar in each district.
Included as part of this Introduction are a list of senior officials and staff in the authority and the land title offices, a map of the land title districts, and a list of the places within each land title district.
LEGAL DOCUMENTS, POLICIES, AND PRACTICES
The Land Title Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 250, is the primary source of legislative authority governing land title practice. Its provisions are the subject of Volume One in this Manual. Following the establishment of the Land Title and Survey Authority and delegation of responsibility to the Director of Land Titles, instruments subordinate to the Land Title Act include the following materials:
- Regulations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council
Land Title Act Regulation, B.C. Reg. 334/79
(reproduced in chapter 32 (Land Title Act—Regulations and Director’s Directions) of the Manual)
Other regulations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council enacted under the authority of the Land Title Act are reproduced in chapter 32 of this Manual. Regulations under other statutes considered in Volume Two or Three of this Manual are cross-referenced under those statutes.
- Regulations of the Board of Directors of the Land Title and Survey Authority
The board of directors of the Land Title and Survey Authority may make regulations under a number of sections of the Act, including ss. 4, 158, 227, and 232. The following regulation has been made by the board.
Land Title Act (Board of Directors) Regulation, B.C. Reg. 332/2010
(reproduced in chapter 32 of the Manual)
(1) Section 2 deals with exemptions from s. 158 of the Act and replaces s. 13 of B.C. Reg. 334/79
(2) Section 3 and Schedule A deal with land title district boundaries and replace s. 32 and Schedule C of B.C. Reg. 334/79
(3) Section 4 and Schedule B deal with prescribed mortgage terms and replace s. 32 and Schedule C of B.C. Reg. 334/79
(4) Section 5 deals with exclusions under Division 6 of Part 14 of the Act and replaces s. 9 of B.C. Reg. 53/90
- Practice Requirements Issued by the Director of Land Titles
The director is authorized under s. 9(2) of the Land Title Act to approve documents and forms that may be registered, deposited, or filed under the Act and to establish other procedures and requirements. In exercising this authority, the director has issued the following requirements.
E-filing Directions v. 1.2
(available at ltsa.ca under “Practice Info”, “E-filing User Guides and Publications” and reproduced in chapter 69 (Director’s Directions) of this Manual)
This document establishes the e-filing directions made by the Director under Part 10.1 of the Land Title Act. These directions replace the Director’s Requirements related to e-filing and reflect amendments to the Act. The document sets out specific directions related to:
(1) directions for electronic forms
(2) electronic signatures and certification by a designate
(3) certification Authority and Subscribers
(4) the Authorized Subscriber Register; and
(5) required e-filing
Hardcopy Land Title Forms (DR 04-11) (available at ltsa.ca and referenced in chapter 69 (Director’s Directions) of this Manual)
Sets out the approved hardcopy forms for an application under the Land Title Act and the requirements for completing those forms.
Valid and Retired Versions of Electronic Forms (available at https://ltsa.ca/sites/default/files/Valid_and_Retired_Versions_of_Electronic_Forms.pdf)
This document establishes the valid and retired form templates for use by the electronic filing system. An updated version will be available on September 28, 2020; see https://ltsa.ca/news/updates-forms-coming-september-28-2020.
Electronic Land Title Plan and Plan Application Requirements (available at https://ltsa.ca/sites/default/files/Electronic_Land_Title_Plan_and_Plan…)
This document establishes the electronic filing plan requirements. These requirements are established by the director and generally support existing Survey and Plan Rules. An updated version will be available on September 28, 2020; see https://ltsa.ca/news/updates-forms-coming-september-28-2020.
Electronic Form 17 Help Guide (available at https://ltsa.ca/sites/default/files/Form-17-Help-Guide.pdf)
This document contains a list of natures of interest and the applicable supporting documents. An updated version will be available on September 28, 2020; see https://ltsa.ca/news/updates-forms-coming-september-28-2020.
- Practice Bulletins and Practice Notes Issued by the Director of Land Titles
The director may issue periodic practice bulletins or practice notes to address practice points or clarify specific issues for conveyancing practitioners. The more commonly referenced bulletins and notes are reproduced in chapter 70 of this Manual. All of the bulletins and notes are available at ltsa.ca.
USING THE LAND TITLE PRACTICE MANUAL
Volume 1 of the Manual adopts the numbering system of the Land Title Act. The Act is divided into Parts 1 through 25. In the Manual, each Part is set out sequentially by chapter. The commentary in each Part begins with a list of the sections, their marginal headings, and an overview of the Part. This material is followed by the Land Title Act regulations, fees, and forms and by practice notes and other relevant material. Volumes 2 and 3 contain an alphabetical listing of other relevant statutes also set out sequentially by chapter.
Under each section of an Act, the Manual includes the text of the Act, reference to relevant regulations, fees and forms, practice material approved by the Director of Land Titles, cross references and other sources of information, and summaries of the case law. The headings under each section are omitted where there is no further commentary relevant to land title practice under that section. In a few instances, where the editorial board determined that practice material should be brought clearly to the attention of the reader, the material is highlighted at the beginning of the practice section under the heading “Practice Alert”.
In some Parts, additional material may be relevant but is not directly related to the substantive provisions of a particular section. For example, Part 11, under s. 182, includes a summary of the law of easements. In addition, in chapters 64 to 68, the Manual includes supplementary material on:
- powers and restrictions on the acquisition and disposition of land;
- specific requirements that apply to various transferors and transferees;
- the registration of instruments;
- government liens, charges, and administrative penalties; and
- legal notations and charges.
Chapter 69 of the Manual includes references to relevant Director’s Directions and the complete E-filing Directions, and chapter 70 includes relevant practice bulletins and practice notes issued by the Director of Land Titles.
Finally, a case table, statutes and related material table, and an index are found at the end of the Manual, designed as navigation tools.
Before 1982, the Land Title Act referred to the issuance of a certificate of title. With the enactment of the Land Title Amendment Act, 1982, a certificate of title is no longer issued. It is now correct to refer to the registration of an indefeasible title. For the sake of clarity and consistency with current practice, all references in the Manual to the issuance of certificates of title have been changed to the registration of an indefeasible title, except where the use of the historical term is significant.
For similar reasons, references to the land registry office have been changed to the land title office, references to a land registration district have been changed to land title district, references to lis pendens or certificate of lis pendens have generally been changed to certificate of pending litigation, and references to municipal clerk have been changed to designated municipal officer.
Historical notes in the Manual have been carried forward from information on enactments prior to the Revised Statutes of British Columbia, 1996, as a convenience for readers of the Manual, except where a particular section has been repealed and replaced. Effective dates are noted where a provision has been brought into force by regulation.
The text of amendments not in force has been omitted.
LAND TITLE AND SURVEY AUTHORITY OFFICES AND STAFF
Land Title and Survey Authority
- Address: Suite 200-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 9J3
- Telephone: 250-387-7280
- Officers: Chair, Board of Directors: Diane E. Friedman; President and Chief Executive Officer: Connie Fair; Vice President, Business Innovation; and Chief Information Officer: Al-Karim Kara
Director of Land Titles
- Address: Suite 200–1321 Blanshard Street Victoria, BC V8W 9J3
- Telephone: 250-387-7280
- Officers: Director of Land Titles: Carlos MacDonald
New Westminster Land Title Office (serving Vancouver and New Westminster Land Title Districts)
- Address: Suite 500—11 Eighth Street New Westminster, BC V3M 3N7
- Telephone: 604-660-0380 or 1-877-577-5872
- Officers: Registrar: Larry S. Blaschuk; Senior Policy Analyst and Deputy Registrar: Tim Jowett; Deputy Registrar: Dustin Meyer Manager; Customer Service Centre: Sherry Ann Nejmeldeen Manager; Customer Operations and Assistant Deputy Registrar: Sandy Soo
Kamloops Land Title Office (serving Kamloops and Nelson Land Title Districts)
- Address: #114–455 Columbia Street Kamloops, BC V2C 6K4
- Telephone: 1-877-577-5872 or 604-660-0380
- Officers: Registrar: Larry S. Blaschuk; Deputy Registrar: David Whittet Manager; Customer Operations and Assistant Deputy Registrar: Lindsay Bealle
Victoria Land Title Office (serving Victoria, Prince George, and Prince Rupert Land Title Districts)
- Location Address: Suite 110–1321 Blanshard Street Victoria, BC V8W 9J3
- Telephone: 1-877-577-5872 or 604-660-0380
- Officers: Registrar: Larry S. Blaschuk; Deputy Registrar: Valerie Cole Manager; Customer Operations and Assistant Deputy Registrar: Kim Graham
LAND TITLE OFFICES AND DISTRICTS
|Location||Land Title Office||Land Title District|
|Abbotsford||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Aldergrove||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Alexis Creek||Victoria||Prince George|
|Belcarra||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Burnaby||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Burns Lake||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Cariboo District||Victoria||Prince George|
|Cassiar District||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Chilliwack||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Clearbrook||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Coast District Range 1||Victoria||Victoria|
|Coast District Range 2||Victoria||Victoria|
|Coast District Range 2||Kamloops||Kamloops|
|Coast District Range 3||Victoria||Victoria|
|Coast District Range 3||Victoria||Prince George|
|Coast District Range 4||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Coast District Range 5||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Coquitlam||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Cowichan Lake District||Victoria||Victoria|
|Dawson Creek||Victoria||Prince George|
|Delta||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Fort St. James||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Fort St. John||Victoria||Prince George|
|Fraser Lake||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Harrison Hot Springs||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Hudsons Hope||Victoria||Prince George|
|KDYD (Kamloops Div. Yale Dist.)||Kamloops||Nelson|
|KDYD (Kamloops Div. Yale Dist.)||Kamloops||Kamloops|
|Kent||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Langley||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Lions Bay||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|Maple Ridge||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Matsqui||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Mission||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|New Hazelton||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|New Westminster||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|New Westminster District||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|New Westminster District||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|North Cowichan District||Victoria||Victoria|
|North Saanich District||Victoria||Victoria|
|North Vancouver||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|ODYD (Osoyoos Div. Yale Dist.)||Kamloops||Kamloops|
|One Hundred Mile House||Kamloops||Kamloops|
|Peace River District||Victoria||Prince George|
|Pitt Meadows||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Port Coquitlam||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Port Moody||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Pouce Coupe||Victoria||Prince George|
|Powell River||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|Prince George||Victoria||Prince George|
|Prince Rupert||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Queen Charlotte District||Victoria||Prince Rupert|
|Richmond||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Savary Island||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|SDYD (Similkameen Div. Yale Dist.)||Kamloops||Nelson|
|SDYD (Similkameen Div. Yale Dist.)||Kamloops||Kamloops|
|South Saanich District||Victoria||Victoria|
|South Salt Spring Island District||Victoria||Victoria|
|Surrey||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Texada District||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|Texada Island||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|Tumbler Ridge||Victoria||Prince George|
|University Land||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|Valdes Island||New Westminster||Victoria|
|West Vancouver||New Westminster||Vancouver|
|White Rock||New Westminster||New Westminster|
|Williams Lake||Victoria||Prince George|
|YDYD (Yale Div. Yale Dist.)||Kamloops||Kamloops|
|YDYD (Yale Div. Yale Dist.)||New Westminster||New Westminster|
MAP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA LAND TITLE DISTRICTS
The following map shows the British Columbia Land Title Districts under s. 4 of the Land Title Act. The boundaries are prescribed by s. 3 and set out in Schedule A of the Land Title Act (Board of Directors) Regulation, B.C. Reg. 332/2010.