Back on track thanks to intervention

Authority Ministry Of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Joyce contacted us because she was frustrated about her application to purchase Crown land. The Crown land was property her family had been leasing from the government for many years. It had great sentimental value because the family had a cabin on the land that they had used as their vacation property since Joyce was young. When lease prices for the land went up, she decided to apply to buy the land.

She explained that she started the application process almost five years ago. She said that after the initial two years of the process, no further progress had been made and she had only recently heard from the ministry that her application was not yet complete. Joyce told us that she believed the ministry neglected her application over the years. She said as a result she had suffered financial loss because she continued to pay lease fees when she could have been making payments on a piece of land that she wanted to purchase.

We investigated whether the ministry had unreasonably delayed her application to purchase the land. We requested and reviewed the ministry’s land application file and constructed a timeline. As Joyce had told us, her application sat inactive for a period of time. We contacted ministry staff to discuss what had occurred. We learned that the application had sat inactive because the person working on her file had retired and due to a ministry oversight her file was not reassigned to someone new until a year later. Once the ministry reassigned Joyce’s file, the new person contacted Joyce to apologize and acknowledge the error. However, this did not address her concern over her financial loss.

We consulted with the ministry to see how it could address Joyce’s concern about her financial loss due to the delay. As a result, the ministry agreed to compensate her by reducing the Crown fee to purchase the land by an appropriate value that would address its delay in processing the application. This took into account the impact of delay on the part of the ministry in processing Joyce’s application and Joyce’s application to purchase was back on track.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2012
Location The Lower Mainland