Question 3

What is the title search period?


Documents that pre-date the founding of Alberta (1905), instruments going back as far as 1890's. Since the Torrens system was created.

Online is not available that far back, but search capability should be available for any documents that have not yet been put online.

In the process of creating electronic images of all old documents, should have all old instruments available on SPIN in a few years.

Current Alberta land title search only required. No historical search necessary.

British Columbia:

N/A.  A title search period is not necessary. Section 23(2) of the Land Title Act states:  An indefeasible title, as long as it remains in force and uncancelled, is conclusive evidence at law and in equity, as against the Crown and all other persons, that the person named in the title as registered owner is indefeasibly entitled to an estate in fee simple to the land described in the indefeasible title, subject to […]


On account of indefeasibility i.e. the “what you see is what you get” philosophy of the registry backed up by the Assurance Fund guarantee – (indefeasibility), this does not apply in BC.


For Registry Act lands, no time limitation (Manitoba does not have any "quieting of titles" legislation).

For lands under Real Property Act, nil (the concept is inapplicable to Manitoba titled lands).

New Brunswick:

For Registry Act lands - 40 years

For Land Title Act lands - from the date of conversion to Land Titles forward.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

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Northwest Territories: -

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Nova Scotia:

40 years

But, the 40 year search period  does not apply to tax deeds, land in respect of which a certificate of title has been issued under the Quieting Titles Act; land registered under the Land Titles Clarification Act or the Land Titles Act; or any interest in land that a registered owner may no longer recover by reason of the Real Property Limitation Act, and an adverse interest acknowledged or specifically referred to in the description of land in a deed forming part of the chain of title to the land.


Marketable Titles Act, 1995-96, c. 9:

s.4 (1) A person has a marketable title at common law or equity or otherwise to an interest in land if that person has a good and sufficient chain of title during a period greater than forty years immediately preceding the date the marketability is to be determined.

(2) A chain of title commences with the registered instrument, other than a will, that conveys or purports to convey that interest in the land and is dated most recently before the forty years immediately preceding the date the marketability is to be determined.

Exceptions to the Marketable Title Act include:

  1. any interest in land created or preserved by a statute;
  2. the interest of a municipal government in a public street, road, highway or road reserve;
  3. a right of way or easement in favour of a public utility or a municipal government;
  4. mineral rights; or (e) an easement or right of way that is being used and enjoyed.


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Registry Act lands - 40 years from the date of the signing of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.

Land Title Act lands - only documents outstanding or referred to on abstract.

Prince Edward Island:

Forty years (General rule)


Section 2 of Investigation of Title Act, R.S.P.E.I. (1988) I-10: 

2. (1) No person in dealing with land is required to show that he is lawfully entitled to the land as owner thereof through a good and sufficient chain of title, save and except during the period of forty years immediately preceding the date of such dealing as aforesaid, and no claim that has been in existence longer than the forty-year period affects the land, unless the claim has been acknowledged or specifically referred to or contained in an instrument registered against the land within the forty-year period or unless a notice is registered against the land as provided in sections 3, 4, 5 and 6.

There are some exceptions to the 40 year rule for searching a good root of title. It is, for instance, not necessary to search behind a Certificate of Title issued by the court pursuant to the Quieting Titles Act.


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Documents outstanding on the title or referred to in an abstract. However, there are certain statutory exceptions to indefeasibility of the title.

Yukon Territory:

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