Crown Land Programs

The section works closely with various government departments and branches, as well as federal and municipal staff and officials.  General responsibilities of the section include preparation of new or revised Crown land policies and procedures for consideration by departmental executive as well as the review and initiation of proposals for changes to Crown land regulations/fees. 

Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Program

The branch is responsible for the timely review and transfer to Canada of Crown lands selected by Entitlement First Nations to fulfill obligations under the Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement. 

The Treaty Land Entitlement Unit utilizes ArcView GIS to identify land selection locations, produce shapefiles for distribution to other departments and agencies for review, calculate acreages, display previous dispositions and produce reports for Manitoba, Canada and First Nations.  The detailed record keeping, tracking and issue resolution processes carried out by the unit is much admired and utilized by the parties involved.

The branch also participates in an all party committee to develop agreed forms for the transfer of lands between Canada and Manitoba and works with other branches and regions within the department to develop methods and procedures for the delivery of programs to ensure compliance with the terms of the Framework Agreement.

Over 969,705 acres of Crown land have been selected by entitlement First Nations and reviewed by the branch. Approximately 850,210 acres have been deemed eligible for transfer to Canada upon completion of surveys and environmental assessments by Canada, To date, nearly 565,309 acres have been transferred to Canada, of which 552,051 acres have been designated as Reserve.

Crown lands are transferred according to the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, including mines and minerals and other interests normally reserved to the province under The Crown Lands Act or any other statute.  

Cottage Lot Program/First Nation Partnerships

This section is responsible for the provincial Cottage Lot Program as well as other recreational Crown land development proposals. The Provincial Cottage Initiative provides land opportunities for the cottage development on Crown land and carries out consultation on proposed cottage developments with the local communities as per The Planning Act and consultation with First Nations regarding any adverse effects on treaty or Aboriginal rights.

In regards to developing First Nation Partnerships, the section works towards developing agreements to address matters such as planning and design, construction, sales and marketing, economic opportunities for the First Nation communities, sharing of costs and benefits.

To date, the Cottage Lot Program is estimated to have produced around $100 million in economic activity, through lot sales, construction, purchasing of goods and services and recreational spending. These developments create opportunities for local employment and new business start-ups which helps to grow the local economy.

Crown Land and Federal Land Programs

Through the Branch’s Land Application Review Committee (LARC) the Section is responsible for the review and consideration to approve, conditionally approve or disapprove applications for Crown Land permits, leases, sales, licences of occupation, easements, etc., and to provide instructions to the Crown Lands and Property Agency regarding the dispositions.  The process verifies that the land use classification of all Crown land and the recommendation of parcels for specific designation or sale has been thoroughly reviewed, taking into account the needs of all relevant government departments and Crown agencies

The Government of Manitoba recognizes it has a duty to consult in a meaningful way with Indigenous communities when any proposed provincial law, regulation, decision or action may infringe upon or adversely affect the exercise of treaty or Aboriginal rights of that Indigenous community.  The LARC ensures Crown consultation activities with Indigenous peoples related to Crown land proposals under administration of the Branch is undertaken in accordance with the provincial policies and guidelines where there is known potential for an adverse affect on treaty or Aboriginal rights.

In regards to Federal Land Programs, the jurisdiction over land at Churchill between federal, provincial, and railway interests has historically been unclear.  Canada, in the late 1980’s indicated they wished to dispose of a large number of lands at Churchill to Manitoba, which are under federal control.  The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Small Craft Harbours continues to update their needs in respect of lands and waterlots required from Manitoba necessary to carry out harbor operations.  Other federal land requests involve lands for the Department of National Defense and Parks Canada.

Other Land Settlement Programs

The branch is also involved in negotiation and administration of non Treaty Land Entitlement agreements such as those arising from flooding claims and land exchanges. These agreements involve approximately 500,000 acres.  Individual implementation agreements are executed in several instances while others are achieved through consensus building and agreement of terms.  The branch is involved in all levels of discussion and is responsible for successful execution of associated documents.

Successful delivery of the program areas is accomplished through a concerted effort of numerous Manitoba Departments lead by Sustainable Development and Indigenous and Northern Relations, the Federal Departments of Indigenous Services Canada and Natural Resources Canada, First Nations’ Chief and Councils and their representatives and numerous affected stakeholders.  Ability to resolve multi-jurisdictional issues and span regulatory gaps is of key concern.

Wild Rice Program

Weather events in recent years have negatively impacted the Wild Rice production in the province.  However, the Branch continues to work towards policy and procedures that will address concerns raised by Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other resource managers along with the needs of the industry.