The ownership of land, and the registration of any interests relating to land, is governed by the Land Titles Act (the “Act”). The Act establishes a public registry of land ownership and the registration of other interests in land at a central registry, the Land Titles register, which interests are then guaranteed by the Province of Alberta. The registration of an interest in land at the Land Titles Office is proof of the validity of the interest, absent any evidence to the contrary.
The basis of the land titles system in Alberta is a systematic survey of all parcels of land in the province. Initial surveys were completed in the late 1800’s, and are updated and further surveyed and sub-divided as land is developed. All parcels of land in Alberta can be traced back to the original surveys, and a continuous chain of title can be established to the date of the original survey.
All interests in land must be registered in order for them to be valid. Original titles and original instruments (such as mortgages, or other caveats) are retained at the Land Titles Office as proof of their validity. This registration is mandatory, if one wishes to assert their claim against land, and if one wishes to assert their claim against any other party. Any instruments that are registered on any title, as well as the titles themselves, are public record, and anyone dealing with the land is deemed to have knowledge of any registrations on title.
Alberta has two Land Titles Offices, one located in each of Edmonton and Calgary. Instruments can be registered at either office, and are equally valid notwithstanding the Office they are registered in.
The Land Titles register is a public registry; any person can search any title registered in the Province of Alberta, and can also retrieve the particulars of any transaction relating to that title.