New ruling freezes even Canada Pension Plan investments out of provincial farms, but private investors can still get in
March 22, 2016
Saskatchewan has passed amendments to its Farm Security Act to clarify who can own – and not own - farmland.
The amendments make pension plans, administrators of pension fund assets and trusts ineligible to buy farmland in the province. Also, all financing will have to be through a financial institution registered to do business in Canada, or a Canadian resident.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which touched off debate in 2014 when it purchased 115,000 acres for $128 million, will be allowed to retain that land because the purchase was deemed legal at the time.
The amendments give more power to the Farm Land Security Board to enforce the legislation. They include: requiring potential purchasers to complete a statutory declaration, placing the onus to prove compliance with the law on the potential purchaser, increasing fines for those contravening the law from $10,000 to $50,000 for individuals and from $100,000 to $500,000 for corporations, and authorizing the board to impose administrative penalties up to $10,000.
The new act, however, does not restrict private investors from outside the province from investing in Saskatchewan farmland. “ Entities (corporations or membership-based organizations) which are 100 per cent Canadian-owned and are not publicly traded” are exempt from the act.
Non-Canadian citizens can still own up to 10 acres of Saskatchewan farmland, as they could previously.
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