First Nations approvals for Surveys on Canada Lands

Download the sample form for the Request for First Nation Approval

Any survey plans used to create new parcels, including easements, rights-of-way and permit areas, within Reserve Lands must be approved by the First Nation Council prior to being submitted to the Surveyor General Branch (SGB) for recording. This approval is required under section 9 of the Interdepartmental Agreement for the creation of the new parcels shown on the plan; that the plan is suitable for the intended transaction, and that the plan meets with any planning or land use requirements of the First Nation.

The surveyor will be responsible for obtaining approval prior to submitting it with his or her survey returns to SGB even when the surveyor is hired by another party such as a CP holder or corporate entity.

SGB Requirements for First Nation Approvals of Surveys

For surveys conducted under Section 31 of the Canada Lands Surveys Act, the surveyor shall include a First Nation’s approval of the plan of survey in the initial submission to SGB. Requests to the First Nation for plan approval are to include a signed copy of the plan as intended for submission for recording in the Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR).

The approval can be in any format and SGB requires only a copy of the approval (scan, fax or email).

Items to include in the First Nation Approvals of Surveys

Items to include in the approvals:

  1. unambiguous reference to the plan submitted for recording (by quoting the plan title, project number, and date of surveyor certification for example);
  2. the name of the person providing approval, and their position within the First Nation governance;
  3. the First Nation and Reserve name;
  4. the approval date is later than the completion of the survey and may be in the form of:
    • Band Council Resolution (BCR);
    • Letter;
    • Endorsement sheet;
    • Email

Approvals older than 1 year should be used with caution and when necessary new approval must be sought.

Critical issues during plan review

Critical issues, may include (but are not limited to):

  • Changes to the plan title block;
  • Changes to the size or shape of the parcel(s);
  • Where additional field work has taken place

These are considered significant changes and require re-approval by the First Nation or a communication from the First Nation stating that they are accepting of the changes and no further approval is needed.

In the event of critical issues being identified and dealt with by a new plan submission, the First Nations should always be apprised of the fact that the plan as originally approved has been changed and should received a copy of the amended plan as submitted for recording.

The surveyor should always confirm with the SGB reviewer that the First Nation has been notified of any changes.