Squatters Rights/Adverse Possession
Maybe, but squatter’s rights (otherwise known as adverse possession) claims are getting harder and harder to make in Ontario. The recent case of Anthony v.McKenzie, demonstrates this. Mr. Anthony owned 10 acres of land in Aurora since 1997. The McKenzies owned the neighbouring 36 acres of land. The McKenzie’s land was converted by the Province of Ontario in to the Land Titles system in 1999. Under Land Titles, the ownership of land is certified by the Province. Mr.Anthony claimed that because he had been occupying about 6 of the acres of the land owned by the McKenzies he had obtained legal adverse possession of it. The Ontario SuperiorCourt of Justice disagreed.Mr.Anthony’s claim was dismissed because the court ruled that Mr. Anthony could not demonstrate that he,or his predecessors in title, had occupied the disputed land for at least 10 years prior when the Province converted it into Land Titles in 1999, or back to at least 1989.
The conversion of the McKenzie’s land to Land Titles by the Province in 1999 saved the day. By converting Ontario titles to the Land Titles Act the Province has made land ownership more stable and property boundary disputes more difficult to make. You may not be aware of it but if you own land, your property is likely governed by the Land Titles Act too. Most of the province is. Because of this, as time passes, it will continue to be harder to make valid adverse possession claims because the evidence needed to prove an adverse possession will be more difficult to obtain as people age.