Question 2

Can title to property be obtained by adverse possession over a period of time?




Limitations Act, Chapter L-12 RSA 2000, 10 years (but case law and changes in legislation should be reviewed).

Law of Property Act s.69, after 10 years.

See also Alberta Law Reform Institute report Limitations Act Adverse Possession and Lasting Improvements Final Report No. 89 May 2003,

No adverse possession on sunlight. [Note: Debate in Alberta over Limitation of Actions Act potential conflict with Law of Property Act.]

British Columbia:


Adverse Possession is outlawed under section 23 of Land Title Act. Section 23(3) of Land Title Act (“after an indefeasible title is registered, a title adverse to or in derogation of the title of the registered owner is not acquired by length of possession”).


Yes, for land under the Registry Act. After 20 years (subject to certain requirements).

No, for land under the Real Property Act. Although if at the time the land is moved from the Registry Act to the Real Property Act, someone had already established a claim for ownership by adverse possession, that ownership claim could be used to challenge the Real Property Act title holder's ownership.

Most land in the province (especially in cities, towns, etc.) is under the Real Property Act.

New Brunswick:

Yes. Under Registry Act after 20 years, 60 years against the Crown.

No. Under Land Titles Act, potential claimant can seek relief from the Court.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

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Northwest Territories:  

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Nova Scotia:

Yes, if the required period of adverse possession or prescription was completed before the parcel was first registered under the Land Registration Act.

Real Property Limitations Act – generally 20 years.


However, any interest in a parcel acquired by adverse possession or prescription before the date the parcel is first registered pursuant to the Land Registration Act is absolutely void against the registered owner of the parcel in which the interest is claimed ten years after the parcel is first registered pursuant to the Land Registration Act, unless:

  • an order of the court confirming the interest;
  • a certificate of lis pendens certifying that an action has been commenced to confirm the interest;
  • an affidavit confirming that the interest has been claimed pursuant to Section 37 of the Crown Lands Act; or
  • the agreement of the registered owner confirming the interest, has been registered or recorded before that time.


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Yes. Under Registry Act after 10 years.

No. Under Land Titles Act, subject to matured rights prior to conversion. Most of the titles in the province are now within Land Titles Act.

Prince Edward Island:

Time required is 20 years of continuous possession (60 years if the claim is against the Crown).


In PEI, possession necessary to extinguish title of true owner must be open, visible, continuous, notorious and to the exclusion of the legal owner for a period of 20 years. The 20 year period is established by statute - the other requirements have been established and interpreted by case law.

In PEI, a party claiming adverse possession to land can extinguish title of legal owner through operation of sections 16 and 46 of the Statute of Limitations, R.S.P.E.I. 1988 Cap. S-7. The relevant sections read as follows:

16. No person shall take proceedings to recover any land except within twenty years next after the time of which the right to do so first accrued to some person through whom he claims (hereinafter called “predecessor”) or if the right did not accrue to a predecessor then within twenty years next after the time at which such right first accrued to the person taking the proceedings (hereinafter called the “claimant”)

46. At the determination of the period limited by this Act to any person for the taking of proceedings to recover any land, rent, charge or money charged on the land, the right and title of such person to the land, or rent, charge or the recovery of the money out of the land shall be extinguished.

A person claiming title based on 20 years adverse possession, in accordance with section 16 of the Statute of Limitations, can apply to the PEI Supreme Court for a certificate of title under the Quieting Titles Act.


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Once a title has issued, it cannot be obtained by adverse possession. Where the party in adverse possession is in possession of the lands prior to the issue of the Crown grant creating the first title to the lands, that party may have a right to the title.

See Section 21 of Lands Titles Act, 2000.

Yukon Territory:   

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