African Nova Scotian Land Titles Initiative

Land Titles Initiative

For generations, many residents in African Nova Scotian communities have faced barriers to getting clear title to the land they live on.

In September 2017, the Government of Nova Scotia made a commitment to help residents in five African Nova Scotian communities get clear title:

  • Lincolnville
  • Sunnyville, Guysborough County
  • East Preston
  • Lake Loon/Cherry Brook
  • North Preston, Halifax Regional Municipality

Residents will have different paths to get clear title to their land, because everyone’s situation will be a bit different. Government funding will pay for fees required to get land title and salaries for the Legal Aid lawyers and staff delivering this program.

Here is an update on our progress

Community Navigators

The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs is hiring two people who will work one-on-one with residents through the process.

What residents can expect

Community navigators will respect your confidentiality. They will talk with you to understand your situation and help put you in touch with a lawyer and other appropriate contacts. They will track the progress of your case to ensure it is  moving along smoothly.


The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs is hiring someone to oversee all aspects of the program.

Survey Work

The Department of Natural Resources is hiring a surveyor and two survey technicians. Many residents will need their land surveyed. There is no cost to residents for surveys completed by this team. The department can move ahead with some survey work now for applications it already has.

What residents can expect

If survey work is planned for your property, you will be called before a survey team arrives on site. Usually a team of two conducts the  survey.

Legal Services

Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission will handle the legal work in all five communities. Work will be done at no cost to residents. Legal Aid is hiring two lawyers from African Nova Scotian communities and two administrative support staff to help them. Legal Aid lawyers are independent from government. They will work with the community navigators as necessary.

What residents can expect

Nova Scotia Legal Aid is ready to take your questions and applications now. A lawyer will be assigned to you once they are in place. The lawyer will learn about your situation and take steps to get a certificate of title, migrate your land to the land registration system, or work through the probate process, as required. There is no cost to you for these services.

What if I have a lawyer?

Residents who already have a lawyer working on their land titles may continue to use them under this program if the lawyer agrees to work on a legal aid certificate. Applications for legal aid certificates can be made now.

What if I have already spent money?

Residents who have already paid for legal work to clear their title will be able to apply to have some of these costs reimbursed from the province. Refunds will be provided for work, back to August 20, 2015, for up to 12 hours of legal services at Nova Scotia Legal Aid rates. A process will be created for how to apply.

What if there is a conflict with one of the lawyers?

If both Legal Aid lawyers have a conflict and cannot represent you, then you would hire a lawyer who agrees to be paid with a legal aid certificate.

What's next

Government wants to hear from each of the five communities as this program moves ahead. We  are creating an approach for gathering community input. Once the community navigators are in place, an approach will be finalized. More information will be shared at that time.

This is the first of ongoing updates. We will keep you updated as information becomes  available.

Resources and contacts

Office of African Nova Scotian  Affairs

Wayn Hamilton


Land Titles Clarification Act

Nova Scotia Land Registry


Nova Scotia Legal Aid

Barry Whynot

Phone: 902-420-6571

Apply online: