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How ISC works to prevent title fraud

August 08, 2012


Title fraud is the illegal act of obtaining another person’s land title through duplicity and deceit. Thankfully, title fraud rarely happens in Saskatchewan. There have only been two reported cases of it in the last 30 years. 

Part of the reason why it happens so rarely in Saskatchewan has to do with measures ISC takes to reduce the likelihood of fraud occurring and the regulatory powers ISC can exercise to right the wrongs that could result from title fraud. 

ISC protects against title fraud by: 

Requiring proper authorization
To prevent fraudsters from impersonating the registered owner in a land transaction, ISC requires the person who is trying to transfer their title to sign an authorization to that effect; their signature must be witnessed and the witness must either be a registered Saskatchewan lawyer who is in good standing or must swear an oath in front of a notary public or a commissioner for oaths.

Performing thorough examinations
ISC registration examiners verify that the transfer application complies with The Land Titles Act, 2000 and its supporting regulations; they also check to see if the proper authorizations are in place to support the application.

Requiring authorization signatures
ISC also requires signatures for address or method of delivery changes (regular mail, fax and email). ISC encourages the use of email so customers get more timely notifications related to their titles.

Compensating for losses
ISC maintains an Assurance Fund to compensate title owners who suffer a loss because of an error when a title is being transferred or who lose their title because of fraud.

Initiating regulation changes
The Registrar of Titles can give the title back to the original owner without the owner making a court application. ISC looked at case law in other Canadian provinces and saw a need to improve the regulatory system here to prevent undesired consequences of title fraud in which the rightful owner was sometimes forced to go to court to get their title back and keep mortgages obtained by fraudsters from appearing on the title. New regulatory amendments now provide title owners and interest holders with more certainty.

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