Crown Land Occupational Authority (Land Use Permits & Leases)
Crown Land Occupational Authority
Occupational authority refers to the legal permission from the Province of Ontario for an individual or commercial entity (generally referred to as a tenant) to occupy and/or use a specific parcel of land. Legal documents associated with this occupational authority generally outline:
- who can use the land
- the length of time associated with the use of land
- whether any rents and/or fees apply and
- any associated conditions with the use of the land.
When Crown land is occupied and/or used for activities such as resource based tourism (RBT), specific occupational authority is generally required if the RBT operator is:
- placing structures on the land or in the water
- the land is being used for commercial tourism related purposes and
- exclusive use of the land is desired.
Different combinations of rights and privileges are granted by various types of occupational authority. The type of occupational authority made available by the Ministry depends on several factors including:
- the length of time the land will be occupied or used
- the intended use of the land
- the need to use the land and any improvements as collateral to secure a loan
- the extent and value of the improvements that will be made to the land (e.g., buildings)
- whether the lands have regulated as a provincial park or conservation and
- relevant policies that may specify the preferred form of occupational authority for specific land uses.
The two most common types of occupational authority instruments issued to the RBT industry are a Land Use Permit and a Lease.
What is a Land Use Permit?
A Land Use Permit allows for a specified activity to be conducted on the land for up to 10 years, but the Permit is not a form of legal tenure and as such, the Permit does not provide ownership or interest in the land.
A Land Use Permit is generally issued where:
- extensive and/or valuable improvements and structures are not intended to be placed on the land or in the water
- there is no expectation that the occupational authority will be relied up as loan security or collateral
- no future financial or environmental liability is anticipated as a result of the intended land use and there is an understanding that the Land Use Permit is not transferable and there is no guaranteed right of renewal.
What is a Lease?
A Lease is a far more secure form of occupational authority, although it does not include the outright ownership of the land by the tenant. Because a Lease conveys a more secure bundle of rights and privileges, a Lease is generally more expensive than a Land Use Permit and requires that the lease pay for the cost of a legal survey.
Key characteristics of a Lease include:
- the term of occupational authority is more lengthy – usually 20 years, but may be longer and subject to negotiation
- best used when extensive and/or valuable improvements and structures are to be placed on the land or in the water
- the ability to use the Lease for purposes of loan security or collateral
- used where there is some anticipation of potential financial or environmental liability as a result of the intended land use
- the Lease and its associated rights may be transferred to another party, with provincial ministry consent, and a right of renewal may be negotiated between the tenant and the relevant provincial ministry and a survey of the Lease area is required at the expense of the tenant, so that the Lease may be registered in local Land Registry Office.
Renewing a Crown Land Use Permit:
To renew a Land Use Permit on Crown lands administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) under authority of the Public Lands Act, the local MNRF District Office should be contacted. These MNRF offices will conduct the review of all documents for issuance and re-issuance of Land Use Permits. The vast majority of Land Use Permits are administered by local MNRF District Offices.
The MNRF Lands and Business Services Section in Peterborough has an administrative role with a small number of multi-site Land Use Permits, where an RBT operator has been issued Land Use Permits located across multiple MNRF administrative districts. In these cases, the MNRF District Offices are still the first point of contact for an RBT operator and these offices are responsible for the review for re-issuance of Land Use Permits. The Land Use Permits are issued directly to the RBT operator.
The MNRF Lands and Business Services Section also plays a role in preparing the Lease documents and registering them in the appropriate Land Registry Office, although the decision to issue the Lease is made by the local MNRF District Office.
RBT operators can seek a Land Use Permit or a Lease for single locations, or can seek to have multiple Land Use Permits consolidated into a multi-site Land Use Permit, which may offer some administrative efficiencies. Local MNRF District Offices should be the first point of contact for these matters.
Note that some Land Use Permits and Leases for the RBT sector are situated within provincial parks or conservation reserves. Versus general Crown lands administered by MNRF under authority of the Public Lands Act, provincial parks or conservation reserves are administered by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP Ontario Parks) under authority the Provincial Park and Conservation Reserves Act. Occupational authority in provincial parks or conservation reserves may be subject to different rules, conditions and fees than occupational authority outside of these areas. MECP staff should be contacted in these cases. Contact info at bottom of the page.
What types of administrative fees are applied to these documents?
All administrative fees for Crown land areas administered by MNRF under authority of the Public Lands Act are based on the Administrative fees for public land transactions policy which is updated annually by Ontario Consumer Price Index (OCPI). There is no annual administrative fee, but a one-time administrative fee for document preparation. These fees vary depending upon whether a Land Use Permit or Lease is involved and whether the transaction is for a first issuance or a re-issuance. Short term “Type B” Commercial Outpost Camp permits are charged a flat rate and are not subject to an administrative fee.
For information on rents and administrative fees associated with Land Use Permits and Leases issued by MECP (Ontario Parks) for occupations located within provincial parks and conservation reserves, RBT operators should contact MECP.
If an LUP holder wishes to apply to upgrade to a lease, who do they approach in MNRF?
For areas of Crown land administered by MNRF, the RBT operator should approach the local MNRF District Office where the Land Use Permit is located.
If the Land Use Permit is located within a provincial park or conservation reserve, the RBT operator should approach the appropriate Ontario Parks Zone office (NEW*)
What types of information are required from LUP holders when their long term LUP’s are being renewed (e.g. business profiles), or if upgrading to a Lease?
For Land Use Permits on Crown lands administered by MNRF, NOTO has been advised that since 2015, Land Use Permits can only be issued to a single legal entity or corporation. As Land Use Permits expire, new Permits are issued by MNRF to only one individual or a corporation. Limited partnerships, agents and operating names are not considered by MNRF to be legal entities.
A Corporation Profile Report is required by MNRF from the RBT operator prior to MNRF issuing or re-issuing a Land Use Permit.
How can Corporate Profile Reports be obtained?
- a Corporate Profile Report can be obtained from Service Ontario online here:
- Companies incorporated in the jurisdiction of Canada can obtain a Corporate Profile Report at no cost online at:
- an extra-provincial licence under the Extra-Provincial Corporations Act can be obtained from Service Ontario online at:
- Canada Revenue Agency Business Number (CRA BN)
- The CRA BN is a unique 9 digit number the CRA assigns a business as a tax ID.
If an RBT operator is uncertain if they have a number or where to find it, they can check with their accountant or bookkeeper, look for it on CRA documents or contact the CRA inquiry line at 1-800-959-5525 or through the CRA online business account at https://www.canada.ca/en.html.
In the event that a Land Use Permittee wishes to upgrade to a Lease, upon approval, the MNRF District Office will provide survey instructions to the Permittee and the Permittee is required to hire an Ontario land surveyor to complete a survey.
For Land Use Permits located within provincial parks and conservation reserves, RBT operators should contact the appropriate Ontario Parks Zone office (NEW*)
If LUP holders have 5 year LUP’s, can they switch to 10 year LUP’s?
While the majority of Land Use Permits issued by MNRF for Crown lands are 10 years in length, RBT operators with 5 year land Use Permits can apply to local MNRF District Offices for 10 year Permits. There may be site specific circumstances such as the negotiation of a land claim where a shorter term has been applied.
Note that Land Use Permits issued by MECP Ontario Parks for RBT operations within provincial parks and conservation reserves may also have different terms than Permits issued on Crown lands outside of provincial parks and conservation reserves. Please contact MECP for more information (contact information below).
What is the advantage of a multi-site Land Use Permit?
Bundling your multiple sites on one Land Use Permit has the following advantages:
- Only charged one administrative fee for bundling sites on one permit.
- Can transfer or add locations mid-term
Ministry of Finance/ Ontario Shared Services
|Issuing MNRF District Office
|District office that issued the permit
Choose Region then Work Centre (previously District)
|Lands Business Unit
|Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP)
|Park Zone Office
|City of Thunder Bay
|Lands Business Unit- Tenant Tax