Saskatchewan

Survey shows overwhelming opposition to foreign, investor ownership of Sask. farmland

Saskatchewan people have told the provincial government they do not want foreigners or pension plans to own farmland in the province.

3,200 people gave input; 75% say pension funds shouldn't own Saskatchewan farmlamd

Provincial cabinet minister Lyle Stewart. (CBC)

Saskatchewan people have told the provincial government they do not want foreigners or pension plans to own farmland in the province.

That's the result of feedback solicited by the Ministry of Agriculture from more than 3,200 people, a process it called farmland ownership consultations, held from May until August of this year. 

"The purpose of the consultations was to inform government on how best to approach farmland ownership, and the results are clear," said Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart in an emailed release.

"The vast majority of respondents do not support pension plans or foreign investors purchasing farmland in Saskatchewan. They do, however, support our government in taking a stronger role in enforcing farmland ownership rules," he said.

The original call for feedback came after concerns were raised about the Canada Pension Plan buying more than 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) of land. 

Of the 3,200 people who gave input, 87 per cent said they don't support foreign ownership of farmland.

Other numbers from the results include:

  • 75 per cent oppose investors like Canadian pension funds purchasing farmland in Saskatchewan
  • 69 per cent oppose foreign financing of Saskatchewan farmland
  • 85 per cent support giving the Farm Land Security Board a greater role in enforcing farmland ownership rules
  • 95 per cent of respondents were Saskatchewan residents
  • 62 per cent of respondents were farmers. 
  • 38 per cent of respondents were farmland owners and interested Saskatchewan residents

The opposition NDP is already calling on the government to change the law to prevent foreign and corporate ownership. That government said it will announce what it will do with the results later this fall.

"These results will ensure that we make decisions which help guarantee the long-term success and sustainability of our province's agriculture industry," Stewart said.

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