Boundary Law in Ontario

Contents Boundary law in Ontario Benefits of a Mathematical Co-Ordinate based Cadastre Characteristics of Boundary Law in Other Jurisdictions References

Boundary law in Ontario

The word boundary means a line that cannot be crossed. This line could be a tangible one or a non-tangible one. Our world is all about boundaries. Boundaries are what keep the human race civilized and organized. (Kaufmann & Steudler, 1998) There are quite a few boundaries set by the law – discussed and adopted by the citizens or the representative of the people. The boundaries for land reservation are set for various reasons. It could be to protect people from damage during disasters or it could be to avert certain areas to be left construction free. The problem arises when the definition of a boundary varies because of the kind or the principle of the boundary it really is and refer to. The boundary law of Ontario has quite a few aspects that need to be considered before it follows the trend of a mathematical coordinate based cadaster. One of the issues, that needs reflection on is that whether it is technically plausible. Can a coordinates – only structure really be put in place? The control monuments, datum adjustments,technical capacity, stability of the earth’s crust and the accuracy[PS1]standards can be put under one umbrella. According to a report written by Dr. Brian Ballantyneon the technical, social and legal implications of using coordinates-only to define boundaries the[PS2] earlier traditional survey practices used to entail dense monumentation. Trying to reduce the chances[PS3] of errors and keeping in sight the technical limitations what happened was that there were[PS4] monuments being founded in every 200 to 800[PS5] meters in urban areas[PS6] . The hindsight of this decision was that there were severalvast provincial networks encompassing tens of thousands of points of varying degrees of accuracy[PS7]. Now with the GPS receivers in use – it would seem that there would be more[PS8] clarity and better results however the it is only possible to accurately survey baselines up to 20-30[PS9] kilometers. If the distance goes above 30 kilometers, several factors are still to consider like the satellite geometry, which must be ideal. (Four Point Learning, 2014) The report furthergoes on to say that[PS10]“a co-ordinate based cadastre, referenced to NAD83 (CSRS), could be initiated under the present configuration. Unfortunately, if there is no further densification of control monuments based in NAD83 (CSRS), the distance between monuments may preclude or limit the use of traditional survey methods[PS11].” It is common knowledge that Canada is given in to horizontal displacement of the crust. The rate at which this displacement happens varies throughout the country. If there areboundaries marked with monuments – there will be a[PS12]constantdeformation over time[PS13]. There have been many studies in New Zealand on the same and most of themconclude that coordinates cannot be definitive without modeling the dynamics of both the[PS14]cadasterand the coordinate system[PS15]. (Four Point Learning, 2014)

Benefits of a Mathematical Co-Ordinate based Cadastre

There are a few benefits of the mathematical co-ordinate based cadaster as well. All these well- integrated surveys do represent an intermediate conceptual step[PS16] which is present between the use of monuments and the use of coordinates-only[PS17], indeed as monumented boundaries are integrated to close tolerances within a spatial reference system[PS18]. The best part here is that the coordinates, which are derived for the locations of the monuments, can then be used as[PS19] further evidence in re-establishing the monuments[PS20]. It is also evident that integrated surveys are already the norm in many parts of many provinces, and serve to provide properly geo-referenced data for use in cadastral mapping and[PS21] prominent in land information systems[PS22]. (Elfick, 2006) It is eveident that boundaries have typically, but not always, followed a three-part process[PS23] with subsets of coming into being – they are[PS24] in fact actually defined by the party[PS25] (which means Crown in earlier age and landowner in recent time) who has legal rights in the land; they are demarcated on the ground by a surveyor[PS26](which can be posts, pins, bars, mounds, pits); they are described on plans and maps.The use of coordinates is predicated on[PS27]removing demarcation or divisionfrom the process[PS28]– which meansthe boundary is[PS29]firstdefined and then[PS30]described. To be clear and appropriate:defining boundaries using only coordinates means that monuments are not placed in the ground to mark the boundaries[PS31]. One should accept thataccess to cadastral coordinates which are linked to an accurate, distortion-free reference frame such as NAD83 (Canada Spatial Reference System[PS32]). This system compelledto employ adjustment and measuring methodology[PS33]by surveyors. (Elfick, 2006) It is not to reduce[PS34] or lesser the importance of environmental, social or economic data in a statewide land information system, but to suggest that from a practical point of view, the development of a broad land information system will be more politically and economically justified if designed around a juridical cadastre in the early stages. There are some[PS35]evidentcases,however, when this[PS36]areaparcel is not suitable and it must be divided into smaller units[PS37]which too forthe benefits of[PS38]public interests.This is usually for valuation, assessment, or rating (fiscal) purposes or for land use classification[PS39]. It also limits the boundary of public to certain area or parcel which ultimately create hindrances in their life. One of theprime importance is that the basis of the cadastre is land parcels; not buildings, people or any other criteria[PS40]which indeed a very goos sign and methodology. In this cadastre, every parcel of land in the state or jurisdiction must be displayed[PS41] and presented on the maps and included in the respective registers. Ideally, this would include all state owned parcels including reserves, parks, roads, and unalienated land, if applicable[PS42]. All these are dynamic in nature and are continually updated and the contents of the registers should be public, within reasonable limits. It must be available to all government authorities[PS43]. One well-known fact is Fiscal cadastres were developed[PS44] and established to raise revenue through taxation of land, whereas juridical cadastres were developed to record ownership and all other legal interests in land[PS45].

Characteristics of Boundary Law in Other Jurisdictions

There are in fact characteristics of boundary law in other jurisdictions as well that do define legal boundaries by co-ordinates there and assist in receiving the required and effective responses just like boundary and survey law. In addition, yes, to certain extend all these are similar. (Ballantyne, Khan, & Conyers, 1999)

  1. The cadastral surveys[PS46] or structure, which supports these activities, is often controlled by land registry personnel who either have a legal or clerical background[PS47]. Such people in facttend to have[PS48]lessknowledgeable interest in cadastral surveying and mappIng[PS49].
  2. In some jurisdictions[PS50]we have witnessed thatthere has been a sense of mistrust and[PS51]evennon-cooperation between the government departments administering the conveyancing and subdivision process and the personnel responsible for maintaining the cadastral survey system[PS52].
  3. The cadastral surveying system is primarily concerned with supporting a secure land registration system, which is[PS53] definitely not a cadastral mapping system. Most of the emphasis[PS54] here is concerned with maintaining a high standard for each individual[PS55], which is “isolated” survey. Due to the high professional and technical standards of the surveyors and lawyers in most common law jurisdictions, secure conveyancing and land registration systems have developed[PS56]. (Williamson)
  4. Whereas most land registration systems, in common law countries result in a reasonably secure system for registering and[PS57] focusing interests in land, in their present form those systems usually are not designed to support an efficient land administration system integrated between a number of departments[PS58]. In general, all these systems are concerned only with an individual dealings on individual parcels, treated in isolation from other parcels in the system[PS59]. In addition, the central theme of[PS60] all these systems is to support a land market based on the[PS61] user pays principle. It is not designed to support the broader needs of government nor the land administration system[PS62]. (Ballantyne, Khan, & Conyers, 1999)

To name a few, Utility authorities, local government[PS63], and other departments responsible for valuation all have a need for a cadastral base map with the associated property records. Due to the non-existence of such a system at a central government level[PS64] at first hand, the individual authorities have tended to develop their own systems. Since many of these authorities are statutory and[PS65] self-funding,they have often been in a better position to introduce modern systems, albeit designed solely for their own purposes, than central government. This has particularly been the case for many utility and local government authorities who have consequently introduced[PS66] state-of-the-art computer systems. In a sense, each authority establishes its own small cadastral system[PS67]. One distinction between most European and common law jurisdictions is that in the latter the[PS68] legislative systems to support the alienation of land, and the transferring and recording of proprietary interests in land, came before the establishment of any fiscal systems. These quasi-legal systems have always been central to land administration in common law countries. Fiscal systems have been a more recent development. They usually have a secondary role in the land administration system and often have little or no links with the legal system. They have often developed their own mapping system and their own form of parcel[PS69]. (Williamson)


Ballantyne, B., Khan, K., & Conyers, T. (1999). COORDINATES IN CONTEXT:TECHNICAL, SOCIAL &LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF USING COORDINATES-ONLY TO DEFINE BOUNDARIES . Ontario: Canadian Council on Geomatics . Elfick, M. (2006). Cadastaral Surveyors Time To Go Forward Digitally And Coordinate Accurately. Geodata Information Systems , 4-7. Four Point Learning. (2014). Property Records- Land Registration- Conventional Boundries. Ontario: Four Point Learning. Kaufmann, J., & Steudler, D. (1998). Cadastre 2014 – A Vision for a Future Cadastral System. Switzerland: Rüdlingen and Bern. Williamson, I. CADASTRES AND LAND INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN . New South Wales: University of New South Wales .

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