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Province introduces Crown land sales legislation

Government says the goal is a streamlined and transparent system

The Manitoba government is introducing new legislation that would streamline and improve government oversight for Crown land sales.

The announcement came in a Dec. 3 media release on behalf of Central Services Minister Reg Helwer.

Helwer touted the Crown Land Dispositions Act as the path to a system that would be “… more efficient, effective and transparent.”

Reg Helwer.
photo: Province of Manitoba

“Manitobans who want to purchase surplus Crown land for economic or recreational purposes would see shorter wait times and quicker response times from the province on routine real estate transactions,” Helwer said in the release.

A detailed review in 2018 concluded Manitoba’s land sales process was overly complex and costly, Helwer noted. The new proposed legislation would help “… reorganize the system, establish new processes and develop a more efficient governance model.”

The proposed changes would delegate more authority to ministers to make land sales decisions. Currently, all sales above $25,000 require cabinet approval (along with one statute of $500). Under the new structure:

  • A department minister could sell Crown land and property valued up to $200,000;
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  • The minister of finance could authorize sales between $200,000 and $1 million; and
  • Cabinet approval would be required on sales valued at $1 million and over.

“This will reduce the number of transactions that require cabinet approval and speed up the process for land sales,” said Helwer. “Safeguards would be in place to ensure all land sales are open and transparent, and free of inside influence.”

Ministers would review sales to employees perceived to have any influence on the decision, while cabinet would approve sales to ministers and senior public servants.

To increase transparency, the province has launched an interactive online mapping tool where Manitobans can find information on land sales or acquisitions.

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