Conservation Easements for Agricultural Land in Canada


Conservation easements have existed in Canada for almost two decades, and have been actively used by land trusts and local governments across the country. Recently, both Ontario and Alberta have amended their conservation easement legislation to allow for a new purpose - the conservation of agricultural land. These modifications are very subtle. Neither jurisdiction created a new tool, both simply modified the existing legislation. The legal structure and foundation of conservation easements did not change in either jurisdiction.

This has raised questions about what is the exact intent is of this new twist on an old tool, what the intent should be, who is likely to use it, how it might be used, and how it would dovetail with existing agri-business and agri-environmental policies.

At the request of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Alberta Land Trust Alliance, Miistakis undertook an analysis to:
• Outline the current situation with regard to conservation easements for agriculture in Canada, and compares that to the situation in the United States.
• Create a resource for any jurisdiction in Canada that either has, or is seeking to create, a legal and policy environment supportive of using conservation easements for agriculture, and
• Provide direction specifically for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as to the information valuable to this agency, and the role they might play in promoting the successful use of the CE tool for agriculture.

Miistakis Institute works on many different types of projects which have been organized into eight research areas. By expanding on the symbols below you may view projects in that research area, as well as one that identifies projects initiated by Miistakis.

Transportation Ecology

GIS for Conservation

Ecosystem Services

Sustainable Landscapes and Communities

Private Land Conservation

Citizen Science for Conservation

Wildlife Management

Market-Based Instruments

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