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REGISTRATION OF DOCUMENTS - Registrars - Duties - Register instruments

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 10:16 AM  


Appeal by the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure (Minister) from a decision of the Registrar of the Victoria Land Title Office declining to register a plan filed by the Minister. The plan related to common property transferred by the owners of a strata property to the Minister for a highway stabilization slope. The Registrar declined to register the plan on the basis the plan did not include the signatures of all owners holding interest in the common property, as required by Part 7 of the Land Title Act (LTA). The owners agreed to dedicate the land to the public as a highway, for valuable consideration, following a general meeting at which a 3/4 vote approved the execution of the application to deposit the plan. The Minister submitted the required electronic documents and a true copy of the certificate regarding the 3/4 vote to the Land Title Office. The Minister submitted that the subject disposition was not a transfer of freehold estate under s. 253(1)(a) of the Strata Property Act (SPA), and the dedication of land for highway purposes under s. 107 of the LTA was not specifically addressed by s. 253 of the SPA, therefore s. 80(1) of the SPA did not apply, and the signatures were not required.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The Minster’s position improperly focused on the characterization of what it obtained, namely, a dedication, rather than whether the disposition of common property from the strata corporation was a transfer of freehold estate. The Minister applied to deposit the reference plan under s. 107 of the LTA. The dedication sought was a statutory highway dedication, not a dedication based on the common law. The statutory dedication provided the Crown with a property interest, vesting the Crown with the title to the highway under s. 107(d) of the LTA. Vesting the Crown with title to the highway depended on eliminating the freehold title formerly held by the strata property owners. It followed that a freehold estate was transferred and therefore the deposit of the plan under s. 107 required compliance with Part 7 of the LTA. As such, signatures were required. The depositing of a reference plan did not change this, as s. 103 of the LTA required the same signatures on a reference plan. The Minister’s argument that the transfer of the common property could not be a “transfer” because the “prescribed form of transfer for transfers of a freehold estate” did not apply to s. 107 dedications was not persuasive, as s. 185(2)(b) made it clear the Registrar could accept another form of transfer outside of the prescribed form. As the Crown was not vested with indefeasible title by virtue of s. 107(3) of the LTA, reference to taxation statutes was not helpful to the analysis. The Registrar’s determination clearly fell within the zone of reasonableness.

British Columbia (Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure) v. Victoria Land Title Office, [2017] B.C.J. No. 2229, British Columbia Supreme Court, D.M. Masuhara J., November 6, 2017. Digest No. TLD-December42017005