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The Religious Societies' Lands Act
This is an unofficial version.
If you need an official copy, use the bilingual (PDF) version.

This version is current as of August 15, 2017.
It has been in effect since December 10, 1988.

Note: Earlier consolidated versions are not available online.


 

C.C.S.M. c. R70

The Religious Societies' Lands Act

(Assented to or sanctioned in

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

Definitions

1(1)        In this Act,

"annual or special meeting" means any annual or special meeting duly called according to the constitution of, or the practice of, the church with which the religious society is connected or, if the society is not connected with any church, according to the constitution or practice of the society, and in either case, in the absence of other provisions in that behalf in any such constitution or practice, an annual or special meeting of the society called by notice thereof read by the minister or other presiding officer once each week at a meeting of the religious society and before it is dismissed for two weeks prior to the day of the proposed meeting; (« assemblée annuelle ou spéciale »)

"cemetery" has the same meaning as in The Cemeteries Act; (« cimetière »)

"minister" means the member of the Executive Council charged by the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the administration of this Act; (« ministre »)

"religious society" means a church, congregation, or other religious society of persons professing or adhering to a religion or religious faith. (« communauté religieuse »)

1(2)        Not yet proclaimed but amended by S.M. 1988-89, c. 11, s. 21.

S.M. 1988-89, c. 11, s. 21.

Resolution, when considered adopted

2           A resolution shall be considered to be adopted for the purpose of this Act when it is adopted by the votes of the majority of those persons who are members of the religious society, and are entitled to vote in respect of the business of the society, present at an annual or special meeting of the society.

Holding of lands for church or religious purposes

3(1)        A religious society may, in the name of trustees subject to this Act, hold

(a) land not exceeding 300 acres to be used for the site of a church, chapel, meeting house, residence of a minister, or for the support of public worship and the propagation of Christian knowledge or for other like religious or congregational purposes;

(b) lands not exceeding 20 acres to be used, subject to subsection (2), for a cemetery.

Municipal consent to cemetery

3(2)        No land shall be held for the use of a cemetery unless the consent of the municipality in which the land is situated has first been obtained.

Mode of appointment of trustees

4           A religious society may at any annual or special meeting thereof adopt a resolution appointing, from its members, trustees to hold lands for any of the purposes of this Act.

Trustees of cemetery need not be same as trustees holding other land

5           The trustees of the land held for cemetery purposes for any religious society need not be the same persons who hold other land as trustees under this Act.

Trustees becoming corporation

6(1)        A religious society may at an annual or special meeting thereof adopt a resolution constituting the trustees then appointed or trustees previously appointed and their successors in office a body politic and corporate under the name: "Trustees of (giving distinguishing name and adding immediately thereafter the following words), a religious society, in the (city, town, village, or rural municipality) of (name of municipality), in the Province of Manitoba".

Filing of resolution with minister

6(2)        A copy of the resolution, signed by the chairman and secretary of the meeting at which it was adopted, and by the trustees, duly verified as to the execution thereof by statutory declaration, shall, within six months after the date of such meeting, be filed in the office of the minister, and it is conclusive evidence of the incorporation.

Certified copy as proof

6(3)        A copy of the resolution certified by the minister shall be received in all cases as prima facie proof of the facts and matters therein stated.

Resolution for change of corporate name

7(1)        A religious society whose trustees have, under this Act, been constituted a body politic and corporate, may by a majority vote of the members present at an annual or special meeting adopt a resolution changing its name.

Filing of resolution

7(2)        A copy of the resolution signed by the chairman and secretary of the meeting at which it was adopted, and by the trustees, duly verified as to the execution thereof by statutory declaration, shall, within six months after the date of the meeting, be filed in the office of the minister, and is conclusive evidence of the change of name.

Proof of matters stated in resolution

7(3)        A copy of the resolution, certified by the minister, shall be received in all cases as prima facie proof of the facts and matters therein stated.

Trustee's term of office

8           Each of the trustees shall hold office until he dies or resigns or ceases to be a member of the religious society, or until he is removed in the manner hereinafter provided, and no longer.

Effect of vacancy

9           Where a trustee ceases to hold office as such, the remaining trustees have all the estate and powers originally vested in the whole number, until another trustee is appointed in the manner hereinafter provided.

Removal and appointment of trustee

10(1)       A religious society may, by resolution adopted at an annual or special meeting thereof, remove any trustee and appoint another in his stead.

Effect of appointment

10(2)       Where the trustees have not been incorporated, a trustee so appointed, with the trustees originally named in the conveyance, transfer, or certificate of title, of land, or subsequently appointed, and who are still trustees have all the estate and powers vested in the original trustees.

Signature and entry of resolution in book

11(1)       A copy of a resolution adopted under section 4, 6, 10, 13, 16, 19, 26, or 27, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, and shall be signed by the chairman and secretary of the meeting.

Copy as proof

11(2)       The copy so entered and signed is prima facie proof of the facts and matters therein stated.

Effect of failure to enter or sign book

11(3)       The omission or neglect to enter or sign the copy does not invalidate the resolution or anything done pursuant thereto.

Certified copy as proof

11(4)       A copy of the resolution so entered and signed, certified as such by the secretary of the religious society or other officer in whose custody the book is kept, is prima facie proof, and shall be accepted by the district registrar of any land titles district as conclusive proof, of the facts and matters therein stated.

Form of conveyances, etc., to trustees

12(1)       A conveyance, or transfer, or certificate of title under The Real Property Act of or to any land for the purposes of this Act, may be taken to the trustees of the religious society (otherwise than to trustees incorporated under section 6) in the appropriate form in Schedule A.

Powers of unincorporated trustees

12(2)       The trustees by the name expressed in the deed, transfer, or certificate of title, may take, hold, and possess, the lands therein described, and maintain and defend actions and suits for the protection thereof and their property therein.

Deeds to trustees heretofore made, valid

13(1)       Any conveyance of lands made before July 1, 1883 to any persons described as trustees for any religious society, and purporting to be made to these persons and their successors, shall be deemed to have the same effect as if it had been a conveyance of the lands described therein under this Act.

Where several names are used

13(2)       Where more than one of such conveyances have been made for the benefit of any such religious society, under different names, the society may at an annual or special meeting adopt a resolution adopting one of such names as the name whereby the trustees for the society shall hold the lands; and thereupon the name so adopted is the name whereby the trustees shall hold in perpetual succession as aforesaid.

Time within which conveyance or transfer to trustees must be registered

14(1)       Subject to subsection (2), unless within 12 months after the execution of a deed of conveyance or transfer of land to the trustees of a religious society, the trustees cause it to be registered in the land titles office of the district in which the lands are situated, the deed or transfer is void and the district registrar shall not register it.

Idem

14(2)       Upon application by the trustees, showing the reason for failure to register the deed or transfer, and if in his absolute discretion he deems it in the best interests of all persons concerned, the Registrar-General may endorse his approval thereon and the deed or transfer may then be registered within such time as the Registrar-General may direct and until the expiry of that time has full effect.

Trustees may mortgage land

15          Where a debt is contracted for the building, repairing, extending, or improving, of a church, meeting house, or chapel, or a manse, parsonage, or residence of the minister, on land held by the trustees for the benefit of any religious society, or for the purchase of the lands on which it has been, or is intended to be, erected, the trustees or a majority of them, may secure the debt or any part thereof by a mortgage upon all or any of the land, church, meeting house, chapel, manse, parsonage, or minister's residence, held for the benefit of the society, or may borrow money to pay the debt or part thereof, and may secure the repayment of the loan and interest by a like mortgage, upon such terms as may be agreed upon.

Power of trustees to release equity of redemption

16          Where the trustees have executed a mortgage upon lands held by them for the benefit of any religious society,

(a) if the mortgage is in arrear as to principal or interest at the time of the execution of the release, transfer, or conveyance; and

(b) if the trustees are authorized to give the release, transfer, or conveyance, by a resolution adopted at an annual or special meeting of the religious society;

the trustees for the time being, or a majority of them, may release, transfer, or convey, to the mortgagee or his assigns the equity of redemption in the lands so mortgaged or any part thereof in satisfaction of the whole or any part of the mortgage debt.

May lease land for term not exceeding 21 years

17          The grantees in trust, named in any letters patent from the Crown, or the survivor or survivors of them, or the trustees for the time being appointed in manner prescribed in the letters patent, whereby lands are granted for the use of a religious society, and any other trustees for the time being entitled by law to hold lands in trust for a religious society, and any other trustees, may lease, for any term not exceeding 21 years, lands so held by them, for the use of a religious society, at such rent and upon such terms as the trustees or a majority of them deem reasonable.

Renewal of lease

18(1)       In any lease, the trustees may covenant or agree for the renewal thereof, at the expiration of any or every term of 21 years, for a further term of 21 years or a less period, at such rent and on such terms as may then, by the trustees for the time being, be agreed upon with the lessee, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns; or the trustees may covenant or agree for the payment to the lessee, his executors, administrators, or assigns, of the value of any buildings or other improvements that may, at the expiration of any term, be on the demised premises.

Specification of mode of ascertaining rent or value of improvements

18(2)       The mode of ascertaining the amount of the rent or the value of the improvements may also be specified in the original or any subsequent lease.

Consent to lease required

19(1)       The trustees shall not lease any lands without the consent of the religious society for whose use or benefit they hold the lands signified by a resolution adopted at an annual or special meeting of the society.

Lease prohibited if land required by society

19(2)       The trustees shall not lease any lands that, at the time of the making of the lease, are necessary for the purpose of erecting any building thereon for the use of the society or for a cemetery for the society.

Power of trustees

20          The trustees for the time being entitled by law to hold land in trust for a religious society may, in their own names, or by any name by which they hold the land, sue or distrain for rent or arrears of rent, and may take all such means for the recovery thereof as landlords in ordinary cases are entitled to take.

Resolution for sale of land

21          Where land held by the trustees for the use of a religious society, or any part thereof, is no longer necessary for that use and the trustees deem it to be to the advantage of the religious society to sell it, if the religious society, by resolution adopted at a regular annual meeting thereof or a special meeting thereof duly called in accordance with the rules and practice of the religious society, authorizes the trustees to do so, they may sell the land, or the part thereof, by private sale, subject to compliance also with any rules and practice of the religious society relative to such sales.

Sanction of judge to sale required

22(1)       No sale of land made pursuant to section 21 is valid unless, before any transfer, deed, or other conveyance, or any agreement for sale, relating to the sale is executed, the sanction of a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench to the execution thereof is obtained; and after that sanction the transfer, deed, conveyance, or agreement shall be deemed sufficient for every purpose.

Second sanction not required

22(2)       Where the sanction of a judge is obtained under subsection (1) to the execution of an agreement for sale, it is not necessary to obtain a further sanction to the execution of a transfer, deed, or other conveyance upon the agreement being carried out, completed, and performed according to its terms.

Confirmation of irregular sales

23          The Registrar-General may confirm, upon such terms as he orders, any sale of land made by trustees hereunder not less than ten years prior to the time application is made to him for such confirmation, though the sanction of a judge was not obtained as required by section 22; and the sale when so confirmed is as fully valid as if such sanction had been obtained.

Power of trustees to convey lands

24          The trustees of any religious society may transfer or convey the land and property belonging to the society to any incorporated board of the denomination of which the society forms part; but no such transfer or conveyance shall be made unless the assent thereto of the society has been first obtained, or the transfer or conveyance is sanctioned in the manner hereinafter provided in section 26.

Trustees may transfer property on society uniting with another

25          Where land is held by trustees for the use of a religious society, and the society desires to unite with another society of the same denomination, the trustees for the time being may transfer or convey any land and property held by them to the trustees of the last mentioned society; but no such transfer or conveyance shall be made unless and until it is assented to or sanctioned in the manner provided in section 26.

Assent to transfer

26(1)       Before any transfer or conveyance is executed in pursuance of section 24 or 25, the society for whose use the land is held shall be duly notified thereof and its assent obtained to the execution of the transfer or conveyance by a resolution adopted at an annual or special meeting of the society.

Transfer may be sanctioned by judge

26(2)       Instead of such an assent, it is sufficient for the validity of any such transfer or conveyance that it is sanctioned and approved of by a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench.

Transfer of cemetery to a company for the purpose

27(1)       Any religious society may,

(a) lease, sell, convey, and hand over, to any company incorporated under The Corporations Act for the purpose of, or with objects and powers which include, the operation of one or more cemeteries; or

(b) lease, sell, or give, and convey to any municipality;

any land used by it for cemetery purposes, or any other land held by it, under such terms, conditions, and stipulations, as may be signified by a resolution adopted at any annual or special meeting of the society directing the trustees of the society so to sell, lease, or give, and convey and hand over, the land.

Society may be shareholder in cemetery company

27(2)       The society may become a shareholder in the company and accept all or any part of the consideration for the leasing or selling of such lands in paid up shares of the company; and the stock or shares shall be deemed to stand in the name of the trustees, and the trustees have the same rights as any individual shareholder in the company in proportion to the number of shares so held in their names.

Detailed statement to be shown to society

28          Trustees selling or leasing lands under the authority of this Act shall, on the first Monday in July in every year, have ready and open for the inspection of the religious society which they represent, or of any member thereof, a detailed statement, showing all rents that accrued during the preceding year, and all sums of money whatever in their hands for the use and benefit of the society, that were in any manner derived from the lands under their control or subject to their management, and also showing the application of any portion of the money that has been expended on behalf of the society.

Power of judge to call trustees to account

29(1)       Any judge of the Court of Queen's Bench may, in a summary manner, on complaint upon oath of three members of a religious society of any misfeasance or misconduct on the part of the trustees in the performance of their duties under this Act, call upon the trustees to give in an account, and may enforce the rendering of such an account, the discharge of any duties and the payment of any money, so that the society may have the benefit thereof, according to the true intent and meaning of this Act.

Costs of application

29(2)       The judge may compel the trustees, in case of any misconduct, to pay the expense of the application or, if it is made on grounds which he considers insufficient, frivolous, or vexatious, he may order the applicants to pay the costs.