forests_land.jpg

The Lands Branch is accountable for the management of thousands of square kilometres of Crown lands. This includes establishing policy, planning, setting fees, reviewing and approving or denying applications, and specifying conditions for sale, lease, permit, or other dispositions.  The Lands Branch provides advice and information on matters related to provincial Crown land administration, legislation, policies, procedures and guidelines to the public and provincial, federal, and local governments.

Responsibilities also include fulfilling land transfer requirements associated with 700,000 hectares in provincial land obligations to Indigenous people under treaty land entitlement and flood compensation agreements, assisting in the development of traditional and management plans on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, and geographical (commemorative) naming.

The Branch operates under The Crown Lands Act, The Wild Rice Act and The East Side Traditional Lands and Special Protected Areas Act

The Lands Branch of Sustainable Development has offices in Neepawa and Winnipeg.

Crown Land and Federal Land Programs

The Lands Branch's Land Application Review Committee (LARC) reviews applications for Crown land permits, leases, sales, licenses of occupation, easements, etc. and recommends approval, conditional approval, or disapproval of the application.  The process verifies that the land use classification of Crown land and proposed use of the land have been thoroughly reviewed, taking into account the needs of all relevant government departments and Crown agencies.  Oversight and instruction are provided to the Real Estate Services Division (Department of Finance) who provide the administrative services associated with Crown land dispositions.

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 a treaty or aboriginal right of that Indigenous community. The LARC ensures Crown consultation with Indigenous peoples related to Crown land proposals is undertaken in accordance with the provincial policies and guidelines where there is known potential for an adverse affect on treaty and aboriginal rights.

Since the federal government formally transferred natural resources to Manitoba in 1930 under the Natural Resources Transfer Act, the transfer of administration and control of land between the Crowns has continued.  Manitoba’s Federal Land Programs include transactions with the Department of National Defense, Fisheries and Oceans, Small Craft Harbours, Transport Canada, Public Works, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Agency and Parks Canada.

Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE)

The TLE unit is responsible for the Crown land clearance and transfer processes of land in accordance with the Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement.  ArcView GIS is used to identify land selection locations, produce shape files for distribution to other departments and agencies for review, calculate acreages, display previous dispositions, and produce reports for Manitoba, Canada, and First Nations. The branch maintains detailed and effective record keeping, status tracking and issue resolution systems and procedures.

The unit is also responsible for various non-TLE agreements and programs involving First Nations and Indigenous Communities. These include the Northern Flood Agreement, Grand Rapids Forebay Agreements, land exchanges and other requests from Canada and legal counsel. Currently these requests total 500,000 acres. Program staff ensure implementation is carried out in accordance with the respective land settlement agreements and relevant policies and legislation.

Operational Crown Land Plans

The on-going development and maintenance of the Operational land use codes and Crown Land Plans incorporate a GIS based platform/database for maintenance, inventory and management of Provincial Crown lands in Southern Manitoba.

East Side Traditional Lands Planning

The Lands Branch administers planning area designations and land management plans proposed by First Nations for approval by the Government Manitoba under The East Side Traditional Lands Planning and Special Protected Areas Act. The section currently works in partnership with four First Nations on the east side of Lake Winnipeg to realize strategic land use direction for more than 2 million hectares (5 million acres) of provincial Crown land.

The Lands Branch coordinates the interdepartmental review of proposed planning area designations and plan approvals, participates in the department's review of Crown land and resource use applications on the east side of Lake Winnipeg and represents the department on planning councils, management boards and the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation.

Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site

In 2006, the governments of Manitoba, Ontario, Canada and Anishinaabe First Nations formed the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, a not-for-profit charitable organization, to nominate Pimachiowin Aki for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  Capacity was established within the Lands Branch to lead the initiative on behalf of the Government of Manitoba.

Pimachiowin Aki (Pim–MATCH–cho–win Ahh–KAY) means “The Land That Gives life” in Ojibwe.  Pimachiowin Aki was initiated in 2002 by Anishinaabe First Nations in Manitoba and Ontario as a way to conserve and raise awareness of the boreal shield ecozone and the cultural tradition of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan, “Keeping the Land”.

Pimachiowin Aki was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 1, 2018 on the basis of both cultural and natural criteria, and in accordance with the World Heritage concept of an Indigenous cultural landscape.  The World Heritage Site includes two adjoining wilderness parks (Atikaki and Woodland Caribou) and ancestral lands of four First Nations in Manitoba - Bloodvein, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi, and Poplar River.  The Site covers 29,040 square kilometres or 2.9 million hectares, and is the largest conserved area of the North American boreal shield.  Pimachiowin Aki is the first World Heritage Site in Manitoba, the first mixed (cultural and natural) site in Canada, and is rare in the world - less than 1% of all World Heritage sites are in the mixed site - cultural landscape category.

The Lands Branch continues to work with the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation in support of the governance, operations and programming of the World Heritage Site, including monitoring and managing the Site and reporting on management plan implementation, communications, grant-making, business planning, destination marketing, and the campaign to raise awareness of the site and donations to the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Fund.