Alberta Courts Consider Foreign Ownership of Farm Land Regulations

May 28, 2013 | Brian P. Kaliel

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all restrict the ability of foreigners to own farm land.  The legislation in each province is different.

Alberta’s Foreign Ownership Regulations allow up to 49% of foreign ownership through Canadian corporations and partnerships.

In three Alberta cases, Canadian citizens who had entered into agreements to hold Alberta land for foreigners, in potential contravention of the Alberta Regulations, tried to escape their obligations under these agreements by arguing that the agreements were illegal and therefore unenforceable.  In each case Alberta courts have ruled that the possibility the agreements may be illegal for breach of these Regulations does not render them unenforceable.

However, this potential contravention could give Alberta’s Attorney General grounds to seek judicial sale of the land and confiscation of any profits.

You can read more about this issue in the March 8, 2012 and the April 18, 2013 editions of the Agricultural Law NetLetter.

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