Series S 68 - Saskatchewan Homestead Records Special Files series

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Saskatchewan Homestead Records Special Files series

General material designation

  • Cartographic material
  • Textual record

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Description type

Public

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Series

Reference code

S 68

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Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1884-1969 (predominant: 1900-1940) (Creation)
    Creator
    Canada. Dept of the Interior
  • 1884-1969 (predominant: 1900-1940) (Creation)
    Creator
    Canada. Lands Patent Branch
  • 1884-1969 (predominant: 1900-1940) (Creation)
    Creator
    Saskatchewan. Dept. of Natural Resources
  • 1884-1969 (predominant: 1900-1940) (Creation)
    Creator
    Saskatchewan. Lands Branch
  • 1884-1969 (predominant: 1900-1940) (Creation)
    Creator
    Saskatchewan. Dept. of Agriculture
  • 1884-1969 (Accumulation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.080m of textual records
51 maps

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1873-1936)

Biographical history

In 1869, the Government of Canada finalized an agreement with the Hudson’s Bay Company to acquire Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an area that incorporates all of the present-day provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, part of British Columbia and all of Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. To centralize the administration and promote the settlement and development of this newly-acquired territory, the Department of the Interior was established by the federal government in 1873. During its 63 years of existence, the Department established a multitude of branches and sub-agencies, with most focused on its core areas of operation related to land sales and survey, First Nations and Métis relations, natural resource development and immigration in western Canada. For periods of time, the Department also administered functions of government that involved operations in all areas of the country, such as immigration, museums, national parks, tourism and geological surveys. Several branches operated within the Department of the Interior evolved into separate agencies or departments of the federal government, including Indian Affairs, Immigration, the Geological Survey of Canada, Parks Canada, and the North-West Mounted Police.

In 1930, the federal government transferred all responsibility for crown land and natural resource administration to the provinces. In Saskatchewan, these functions were assumed by the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of the Interior ceased to exist on December 1, 1936. Its remaining functions were amalgamated with those of the Departments of Mines, Immigration and Indian Affairs to create the Department of Mines and Resources.

Name of creator

(1881-1930)

Biographical history

The Lands Patent Branch was originally established in 1881 to maintain the records produced in the land patenting process and to process land applications from institutions. It was originally administered from a central office in Ottawa, but an office was later opened in Winnipeg and local field staff assumed many of the lands patent duties. In 1883, the Lands Patent Branch took over the full functions of a land registry office in relation to federally-controlled western lands. Previously, many of these duties had been administered by the Office of the Registrar General of Canada, part of the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada. In 1928, the name of the agency was changed to Lands Patent Division. In 1930, the Lands Patent Division was dissolved when the provinces took over the responsibility for all unconveyed lands.

Name of creator

(1930-1944)

Biographical history

The Department of Natural Resources was established in 1930, when responsibility for natural resources was transferred from the federal Department of the Interior to the provincial government under The Natural Resources Transfer Agreement dated May 20, 1930.

The Department was originally administered by a Minister and Deputy Minister and consisted of four branches: Lands; Mines; Fisheries; and Forestry. The head office for the Department was in Regina, with a main Northern District office in Prince Albert and sub-district offices in Hudson Bay Junction and Spruce Lake.

The Lands Branch was overseen by a director. Between May 1, 1943, and April 30, 1944, four divisions were established within the branch: Sales; Cultivated Lease; Grazing; Patents and Homesteads. The Mines Branch, Fisheries Branch and Forestry Branch for the most part retained their administrative structure.

A Water Rights Branch was established between May 1931 and April 1932. In 1933 responsibility for provincial parks was transferred from the Forestry Branch, resulting in the establishment of the Water Rights and Parks Branch. Between May 1, 1936, and April 1937, the branch was split into the Water Rights Branch and Parks Branch.

A Surveys Division was established between May 1, 1932, and April 30, 1933. It became the Surveys Branch for a period between May 1, 1936, and April 1, 1937.

The Game Branch was established May 1, 1932, and operated until April 30, 1933, when the function was transferred to the department from the Bureau of Labour and Public Welfare. During 1938-1939, the Game and Fur Branch was established within the department.

Responsibility for the Provincial Museum was transferred to the department for the period from May 1, 1934, to April 30, 1935.

The poor economic performance and drought of the 1930s resulted in less forest and mineral revenue for the Department and an active role in the provision of relief measures. These included the cancellation of debt owed on School lands and the distribution of coal, timber, hay and grazing areas to farmers.

The Coal Administration Branch was established in 1935 to centralize the control, regulation and administration of coal mining. Administration of The Coal Mines Safety and Welfare Act was transferred from the Bureau of Labour and Public Welfare while the coal regulations under The Mineral Resources Act formerly administered by Mines Branch moved to the new branch.

By 1940, the initial four branches had expanded to ten: Forestry, Mines, Fisheries, Game and Fur, Water Rights, Surveys, Museum, Coal, Lands, and Parks.

During the Second World War, the Department assisted federal initiatives such as the Dominion Wartime Price and Trade Board in monitoring the price and distribution of basic commodities and resources to ensure use in both the domestic market and the war effort.

On November 10, 1944, the Department of Natural Resources was reorganized into the Department of Natural Resources and Industrial Development.

Name of creator

(1931-)

Biographical history

From 1930 to 1947 the Lands Branch, and grant and lease functions, were part of the Department of Natural Resources (later the Department of Natural Resources and Industrial Development.) The initial legislation (The Provincial Lands Act, 1931 and The Land Utilization Act, 1935) and the legacy of the Federal Department of the Interior, which previously held jurisdiction over these responsibilities, provided the framework for Crown Land lease and sale accounting and administration. While the Lands Branch was part of the Department of Natural Resources, the Provincial Lands Division and then (in 1932) the Lands Patent Division carried out the grants and transfer of land. This included handling enquiries, application forms, payments, agreements and recording the disposition of land.

In 1948, control of the Lands Branch was transferred to the Department of Agriculture, which subsequently changed the responsibility for many of the functions from the Land Utilization Division to the Inspection Services Division. During the 1960s, The Agriculture Rehabilitation and Development Act resulted in many of the grants and leases only being permitted for projects related to the development and conservation of water supplies, soil improvement, and /or agricultural efficiency.

In 1975, the Lands Disposition and Records Division of the Lands Branch became responsible for land grants and transfers - by advertising land for lease/sale, by preparing land transfers, and by maintaining the records of lands. In 1984-1985, a reorganization of the Lands Branch saw many of these functions split between the Field Operations and Support Services divisions.

The transfer of the Lands Branch back to the Department of Agriculture and Food in 1993 resulted in another reorganization, splitting the control of leases and sales amongst geographically oriented divisions (i.e. northwest, south). In 1993-1994 the Branch operated under the Financial Support and Program Management Division as part of the Lands and Regulatory Management Branch. This Branch had a broader mandate, including livestock health and operations. With the abolishment of the Crow's Nest Pass annual railways subsidy in February 1995, Lands Branch assumed responsibility for management of the provincial share of the federal payout and amended rental rates on Crown agricultural leases.

In 1996, the splitting of the Lands and Regulatory Management Branch into three branches (Livestock and Veterinary Operations, Pasture, and Lands) resulted in Lands Branch becoming part of the Program and Services Division, where it remained until April 2005. This change marked the first time that the Lands Branch did not hold responsibility for the administration of provincial pastures and the Community Pastures Program. The responsibility was returned to the Branch in 2001 with the amalgamation of Pastures and Lands Branches.

In 2000, the stated mandate of Lands Branch was "to promote the sustainable and integrated use of Crown land while providing opportunities for diversification and economic growth." Between April 2002 and May 2004 the Department operated as the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization. Currently (2011) Lands Branch resides in the Ministry of Agriculture. While the Branch has experienced changes in its structure and in policy and program development, the basic function regarding the administration, sale and lease of Crown lands has not substantially altered throughout its history.

Name of creator

(1905-1989)

Biographical history

The Department of Agriculture was one of the original departments created upon the formation of the Executive Council of the North-West Territories in 1897. The department was headed by a Commissioner and a Deputy Commissioner. With the transfer to a provincial government in 1905, the department (still under a Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner) was organized into: the Fairs and Institutes Branch; Weeds and Seeds Branch; Dairying; Bacteriologist; Public Health Officer; and Brand Recorder. A Bureau of Information and Statistics was also added.

The Department of Agriculture's original responsibilities included dealing with brands, stray animals, pounds, stock and hide inspection, control of predatory animals, noxious weeds, prairie fires and protection of game, as well as encouraging development and providing assistance to farmers. The department also compiled production statistics and meteorological data. In addition, under the 1906 Department of Agriculture Act, the department was responsible for matters relating to immigration, vital statistics and public health, including hospitals.

The titles of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner were superseded by Minister and Deputy Minister respectively, in 1909.

Other functions held by the Department of Agriculture in its early years included: a Bureau of Labour to look after the inspection of factories, ensure fair wages and work safety, and coordinate harvest help; responsibility for museums; and responsibility for debt assistance.

During its existence, the Department of Agriculture experienced numerous re-organizations and continual name changes to its branches and divisions. However, with a few important additions and deletions of responsibilities, most of the department's functions continued throughout its life span.

In 1910, the public health and hospitals function was transferred out of the Department of Agriculture. Also in 1910, members from the Department of Agriculture were appointed to the newly-organized Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan. The function of the Fairs and Institute Branch was transferred to the university level, under the supervision of the Department of (Agricultural) Extension. The Director of Agricultural Extension, appointed to the College of Agriculture, reported to the Deputy Minister on the work of agricultural societies.

A major function was added to the department with the creation of the Co-operative Organization Branch in 1913. The branch, developed out of the Office of the Registrar of Co-operative Associations, was established to assist farmers with marketing. It was renamed Co-operation and Markets Branch in 1920 and eventually formed as a separate Department of Co-operation and Co-operative Development in 1945.

The Vital Statistics function was transferred out of the department in 1914. However, added that year was the appointment of Agricultural Representatives. These Representatives provided advice and assistance to producers in various districts within the province. Initially, the Representatives acted as administrative support for the College of Agriculture, but later carried out their own programming. The Agricultural Representative Service became a branch in 1945 and was renamed Agricultural Extension Branch in 1969 to better reflect its function.

Another change to the department in 1914 was the inclusion of a Debtors Relief organization. This function was complemented in 1923 by the addition of the Debt Adjustment Bureau. This function of debt management was removed in 1935. The responsibility for museums was added in 1915, but was transferred to the Department of Railways, Labour and Industries in early 1928.

Early in its existence, the Department of Agriculture included a Bureau of Labour to look after the inspection of factories, ensure fair wages and work safety, and coordinate harvest help. This function continued until 1920 when the Bureau, then named the Bureau of Labour and Industries, no longer reported through the department.

By 1930, the department consisted of: the Debt Adjustment Bureau; Statistics Branch; Field Crop Branch; Dairy Branch; Livestock Branch; Bee Division (added in 1928 and later known as Apiary Branch); Co-operation and Markets Branch; and the Agricultural Representative Service.

As a result of drought and soil drifting in the early 1930s, the Land Utilization Branch was established in 1936 to carry out the work of the Land Utilization Board (1936-1964). The Board was responsible for establishing community pastures, irrigable land areas under the federal Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act (PFRA), and for relocation of settlers.

By 1940, the duties of the Department of Agriculture were solely related to agriculture. The department was responsible for: the administration of all acts relating to agriculture; the promotion of agricultural interests in the province; encouraging production and facilitating the marketing of field and garden crops, livestock and livestock products; promoting and encouraging co-operation among agriculturalists; instituting inquiries and collecting facts and statistics relating to agriculture or other interests of Saskatchewan; and, issuing agricultural information through reports, statistics, circulars or other publications.

The Lands Utilization Board was transferred to the Department of Natural Resources and Industrial Development in 1945, but this responsibility came back to the Department of Agriculture in 1947. At this time, the Lands Utilization division was placed under the Lands Branch which was responsible for the administration of Crown lands in the province. Lands Branch had also been transferred from Natural Resources to Agriculture in legislation assented to on March 5, 1947. In 1964, the Land Utilization Board was replaced by the Agricultural Development Advisory Board.

The Conservation and Development Branch was established in 1949 to encourage and assist with better land use practices. The branch consisted of three main divisions: Operations; Water Development; and Water Rights.

A reorganization of the Department of Agriculture into five main branches was completed in 1951: Animal Industry; Agricultural Representative Service; Conservation and Development; Lands; and Plant Industry. The divisions of Statistics, Information and Radio, Records and General Office reported directly to the Deputy Minister and were sometimes referred to as the Administration Branch.

In 1958, the Agricultural Machinery Administration was added to the department to do the work of the Agricultural Machinery Board, established that same year. Its functions included investigation of complaints, testing machinery and publishing reports on farm machinery and test results.

The Family Farm Improvement Branch was created in 1960 to assist with the installation of farm water and sewage systems, and to assist with the relocation of farmsteads through grants.

The year 1973 witnessed another major restructuring of the department. The various branches, boards and agencies were organized under four major divisions: Extension and Rural Development Division; Farm Resources Development Division; Production and Marketing Division; and a Planning and Research Secretariat. This structure remained in place until 1980, when only the Extension and Rural Development Division and a Marketing and Economics Division were maintained.

Beginning in the late 1970's, the number of boards, commissions and agencies reporting through the department increased. The following are the agencies listed on the Department of Agriculture's organizational charts in annual reports for the period 1977 to 1989: Saskatchewan FarmStart Corporation (1973-1984); Saskatchewan Farm Ownership Board (1974-1992); Saskatchewan Land Bank Commission (1972-1981?); Agricultural Implements Board (1973-1984?); Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Board (1960-1984); Milk Control Board (1977?- ); Saskatchewan Hog Marketing Commission (1977?-1982?); Saskatchewan Sheep and Wool Marketing Commission (1973- ); Agricultural Development Corporation (1974-1990); Lands Appeal Board (1978?-1979); Saskatchewan Lands Allocation Appeal Board (1979?- ); Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (1978?- ); Natural Products Marketing Council (1979?- ); Saskatchewan Vegetable Marketing Commission (1981?- ); Agricultural Credit Corporation (1984-1993); Saskatchewan Beef Stabilization Board (1982-1990); Saskatchewan Horse Racing Commission (1983-1994); Saskatchewan Pork Producers' Marketing Board (1983?- ); Farm Land Security Board (1984? - 1987 Transferred to the Dept. of Justice).

Beginning in 1978, the Department of Agriculture began using the name Saskatchewan Agriculture, although both forms of the name appear in the department's annual reports in this period. Lands Branch was transferred to Saskatchewan Rural Development effective August 1, 1988.

In 1989, the Department of Agriculture was renamed the Department of Agriculture and Food to reflect the addition of new functions relating to diversification and value-added opportunities in the agri-foods industry. From March 2002 to May 2004, the department was known as the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization, after which it reverted to the Department of Agriculture and Food. As part of a government-wide rebranding strategy, the department was renamed the Ministry of Agriculture on November 21, 2007 [The Government Organization Act (S.S. 2007 c.6)]. It continues (2011) to be known as the Ministry of Agriculture.

Custodial history

The Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture, Lands Branch transferred these records to the Saskatoon office, Saskatchewan Archives in two accessions between 1954 and 1965. The textual records were transferred to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession: R2004-220 (June 3, 2004).

Scope and content

This series consists records created, accumulated and used by the federal Department of the Interior, Dominion Lands Administration (1871-1931), the Saskatchewan Department of Natural Resources, Lands Branch (1930-1944) and Department of Agriculture, Lands Branch (after 1944). Each file pertains to a specific parcel or parcels of land available for settlement after being allocated for disposition under the provisions of the Dominion Lands Act, 1872 (S.C. 1872, c. 23) and The Provincial Lands Act (S.S. 1931, c. 14). These include lands in townsites, school lands surrendered in lieu of other lands selected to reimburse the School Land Endowment, homestead lands converted to grazing leases, and lands held by specific corporate bodies or for specific purposes. A file usually covers period from date of entry until grant of patent, but may include correspondence after patent was granted. Files contain information pertaining to various types of land grants, including homesteads, pre-emptions, time sale purchases, and land reservations.

The types of records included are: applications for entry and for patent; land condition and valuation reports; correspondence; sale deeds and receipts; schedules of land disposition; and maps and township plans.

No sub-series have been identified in this series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Records are in good physical condition.

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

The factors determining the arrangement of these records were not documented in the original description process.
The order of the records was maintained in 2011.
File numbers supplied by the SAB to differentiate these files from the pre-1930 and post-1930 homestead files have been given "SF" for Special Files followed by consecutive file number.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Box number(s): 1-9

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Records are open for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction are subject to Crown Copyright. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

To consult the records, visit or contact the Regina office.

Finding aids

SAFA 637 (old guide GS 44) consists of a government series description and file listings of textual records.

Associated materials

Related material: The Saskatchewan Homestead Records are available in Regina and Saskatoon offices.

Related materials

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

General note

Location for retrieval: Regina - Henderson
Maps have been retained in the textual files to preserve context.

Conservation

Metal clips and other fasteners were removed. All files have been placed in acid-free folders.

Alpha-numeric designations

Textual Records: Old guide GS 44 (Ag 11. 1.2).

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

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Control area

Description record identifier

S 68

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.

Status

Final

Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin

Sources

Content of the series.

Accession area