Sales of backfilled parcels

The Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change is authorized to sell parcels of land in the domain of the State that have been backfilled, subject to conditions.

Coverage

A backfilled parcel of land creates an occupation without a deed. As such, the most efficient way of strengthening a property deed is through purchase. This permits ownership of the parcel and legal occupation. As well, it can facilitate the process of securing municipal authorizations when putting a property up for sale.

If the purchaser is a municipality, the Minister is authorized to sell a parcel of the water property in the domain of the State at a preferential rate and, for specific defined cases, require an authorized municipal council resolution. The parcel sold must be used for non-profit public purposes that involve a concrete, viable and achievable short-term project.

If the purchaser is not the owner of the river parcel adjacent to the water property in the domain of the State, the Observations of the owner(s) of adjacent riparian land in the context of a request to grant rights formulated by a third party (PDF 207 Kb) (French) form must be forwarded to the Minister. The observations must relate to the potential impact of the purchase on riparian rights. The Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques will consider the observations in rendering its decision.

The Ministère will also require receipt of a Notice to the municipality concerning an application for alienation (sale-transfer) (PDF 322 Kb) (French), fully executed by the municipality.

Submitting an application

Fill out the Application to grant or modify rights (PDF 380 Kb) (French) form online. In case of problems, send an email to domaine.hydrique@environnement.gouv.qc.ca or call 418 521-3818, ext. 7500. An acknowledgment of receipt will be provided once the application has been submitted.

Applications are reviewed on a preliminary basis, free of charge.

If the review concludes that the structures are not located on water property in the domain of the State, written notification will be sent and the file will be closed.

If the review concludes that the structures are located on water property in the domain of the State and the type of right applied for is confirmed, processing of the file will continue. This is when payment of the administrative fees and applicable taxes is required. Additional information may be requested.

Applicants are authorized to hire a land surveyor to identify the parcel to be purchased, at their own expense. The information needed to produce the survey documents will be provided to the mandated surveyor by the Ministère.

Following approval of the land survey documents by the Ministère, the mandated surveyor is required to forward the documents to the Bureau de l’arpenteur général du Québec (BAGQ) for final approval.

Only after all of the above steps have been successfully concluded will the Ministère forward an offer to sell. Applicants will then have 90 days to accept the offer and hire a notary at their own expense to complete the mutual transfer of rights.

The hired notary will need to contact the Ministère by email at the following address: domaine.hydrique@environnement.gouv.qc.ca to receive closing instructions and which model of deed to use. There will also be back-and-forth communication between the notary and the Ministère to ensure that the final version of the deed meets all requirements.

The deed will be signed by the representative of the Ministère before a notary delegate. The original will be forwarded to the hired notary for deed closing, with the applicant present.

Validity period

The sale of a backfilled parcel becomes effective on the date of closing and publication by the mandated notary in the Land Register.

Fees

Administrative fees This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French) and applicable taxes are payable when the purchase application is filed, and are not refundable since they cover the cost of file review.

In the event that the backfilled parcel is deemed eligible for sale, any paid administrative fees and rent (excluding taxes) will be deducted from the sale price. Rent paid by the previous owner or a corporation is not deducted from the sale price. The balance of the sale price is subject to applicable taxes.

Generally speaking, the sale price is 50% of the municipal assessment of the river parcel adjacent to the water property in the domain of the State. However: 

  • The sale price for post-1993 backfilled parcels is set at 100% of their value. A certificate of authorization issued by the regional office of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques is required.
  • Where a backfilled parcel is no longer bounded by water, the sale price is set at 25% of the value of the water property in the domain of the State.
  • The balance of the sale price cannot be less than the minimum sale price stipulated in the Regulation respecting the water property in the domain of the State once administrative fees and rent are deducted.

If the purchaser of a parcel of the water property in the domain of the State is a municipality, the Minister is authorized to sell the parcel for one dollar ($1) plus applicable taxes, as long as the municipality provides an authorized council resolution confirming that it will maintain the property for public, non-profit purposes. The payment of additional fees based on shoreline linear metrics and administrative fees will be required in this case.

The final sale price will be determined by the Ministère on the basis of conditions in effect at the time the right is issued.

The following information is needed for calculating the approximate sale price:

  • The value of the river parcel, excluding buildings
  • The size of the land, per the municipal tax roll
  • The comparative factor
  • The size of the property to be purchased

Most of the above information can be found on the municipal tax bill.

1 - Determine the standardized unit rate per square metre

Divide the municipal property tax assessment by the area of the property, then multiply by the comparative factor. The result is the standardized unit rate per square metre.

2 - Determine the approximate sale price

The final sale price will be determined by the Ministère on the basis of conditions in effect when the right is authorized. The following formulas apply here:

  • Post-1993 backfill
    The standardized unit rate per square metre (x) the approximate size of the purchase = 100% of the value of the water property in the domain of the State.
  • Pre-1994 backfill
    The standardized unit rate per square metre (x) the approximate size of the purchase = 100% of the value of the water property in the domain of the State (÷) 2.
  • Backfill no longer bounded by water
    The standardized unit rate per square metre (x) the approximate size of the purchase = 100% of the value of the water property in the domain of the State (÷) 4.

Last update: June 30, 2022

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