What is the Lands Protection Act and Why should I care if it’s gone?
PEI is unique among Canadian provinces in
that we have limits on the amount of land that any one individual or corporation can own. These limits (along with several other restrictions) are outlined in the Lands Protection Act.
This act was adopted in 1982 in response to large land grabs by potato processing corporations and the objection to this by farmers and non-farmers alike. Family farms, and the government of the day were forward-thinking enough to recognize that it was not in the best interest of islanders to have huge swaths of valuable land owned by for-profit corporations “from away”.
Over the years there have been a number of challenges to this act and several amendments, and now it is under attack once again. Both the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture and the P.E.I. Potato Board have asked for an independent review of the act. The limits afforded by this act are perhaps more important now than ever before, as large multi-national corporations are grabbing up land across Canada, and in many cases, leasing this land back to the very farmers they purchased it from. Islanders should certainly see this nothing more than a dangerous return back to the days of absentee landlords. Only this time the landlords are large, for-profit corporations.
The Lands Protection Act is unique in that its purpose is outlined right in the act itself as:
The purpose of this Act is to provide for the regulation of property rights in Prince Edward Island, especially the amount of land that may be held by a person or corporation. This Act has been enacted in the recognition that Prince Edward Island faces singular challenges with regard to property rights as a result of several circumstances, including:
(a) historical difficulties with absentee land owners, and the consequent problems faced by the inhabitants of Prince Edward Island in governing their own affairs, both public and private;
(b) the province’s small land area and comparatively high population density, unique among the provinces of Canada; and
(c) the fragile nature of the province’s ecology, environment, and lands and the resultant need for the exercise of prudent, balanced, and steadfast stewardship to ensure the protection of the province’s ecology, environment, and lands. 1998,c.79,s.20.
Former MLA Horace Carver, who helped draft and pass the Lands Protection Act more than 30 years ago, has been appointed its commissioner. Mr. Carver began work early in January and will travel across the province over the next several months to hear from the public. His final report will be presented to Government by June 30, 2013.
The Commissioner added that, “I have been encouraged by the interest and response of Islanders to date and look forward to hearing from many more at the public meetings.” The Commissioner also welcomes Islanders to provide their comments and suggestions, by email, letter or telephone at:
Lands Protection Act Commissioner
Lands Protection Act
Submissions - interesting reading from other Islanders and groups
Commission on the Lands Protection Act
3 Brighton Road, PO Box 2000
Charlottetown PE C1A 7N8
For more information and to view the terms of reference, please visit www.gov.pe.ca/lpa.