The Surveyor General and by extension the Surveyor General Branch (SGB) are authorized by both federal and territorial acts and regulations to manage all surveys on Canada Lands and to maintain all the original plans, journals, field notes and other documents connected with those surveys. Through the survey registry program the Branch manages surveys on Canada Lands by: 1) establishing survey standards, 2) administering a regulatory process, 3) maintaining the Canada Lands Survey Records and 4) creating and disseminating digital cadastral data.
The National Standards for the Survey of Canada Lands provide general instructions for Canada Lands Surveyors and ensure a high level of quality for legal surveys and survey products on Canada Lands. Historical general instructions are also available for reference.
Surveys of Canada Lands are regulated in two different ways. First, all surveys are required to be carried out by licensed Canada Lands Surveyors. The Association of Canada Lands Surveyors (ACLS) is responsible for licensing and ensuring professional competency of its members. Second, the Surveyor General ensures the quality of the completed surveys before approving and entering them in the Canada Lands Survey Records. This two-pronged regulatory approach has been streamlined in the SGB-ACLS collaborative web site, MyCLSS.
Canada Lands Survey Records
The Canada Lands Survey Records is a registry of legal survey documents and contains survey plans, field notes, diaries, reports and other documents to support property rights on Canada Lands.
Surveys establish official boundaries defining the extent of ownership, or other rights in land. A legal survey generally consists of two parts:
- a demarcation on the ground of the boundaries (field survey);
- and a legally authorized document (the plan) depicting the location of the boundaries.
Digital Cadastral Data
The Branch creates and maintains three types of cadastral data designed and suited for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications. They are available to any parties with an interest in Canada Lands. They include the Canada Lands Digital Cadastral Data, Administrative Boundaries for Canada Lands and a KMZ Dataset for use with Google Earth.