How do I Get a Homestead on Government Land in Northern Canada?

By Meagan McDougall - Updated June 05, 2017
Fall in northern wilderness, Yukon, Canada

Homesteading in Canada is a thing of the past. Most land that is not owned by a private party is Crown Land and is managed by the government. While all Canadians are entitled to camp on Crown Land for up to 21 days, claiming a piece of land as your own and developing it is illegal and is often referred to as "squatting." There are a few alternatives to homesteading on government land in Northern Canada.

Purchasing Crown Land

Determine where in Northern Canada you would ideally want your homestead. Northern Canada is divided into three territories--Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. You may have the most luck in the Yukon, one of the few places where Crown Land is still sold for agricultural purposes. In Northwest Territories and Nunavut, land is much more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.

Decide what kind of homestead you would like. In most cases, what you plan to do with the land is very important. It must be for the benefit of the people and the land, and cannot infringe on the rights of First Nations (indigenous people) or other Canadians. It is imperative that your use of the land is beneficial to the province, such as an eco-tourist destination or a vital crop.

Use the Internet to research the guidelines and limitations in each territory for the purchase of Crown Land. In most places you will find it simply is not possible, but there are a few areas--in the Yukon, mostly--where you can obtain the land under specific rules.


Become a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Crown Land is available if you fall into either of those categories. Additionally, you must be at least 19 years old.

Live in the Yukon for at least one year. Crown land is only available to those who have.

Apply to the Agriculture branch of the Department of Energy Mines and Resources of the Yukon government. It must outline how you intend to use the land.

Submit a farm development plan within 60 days. It must be approved by the Agriculture branch.

Declare that you will remain a resident of the Yukon for the duration of any sale that may result.

Widen Your Search

Consider leasing. Some Crown Land that was purchased long ago when it was still for sale is now up for lease.

Search for private properties that are for sale. There are many farms in Northern Canada that are privately owned. Often they go for fairly reasonable prices, since the growing season in the north is short and the rural nature of the environment is unattractive to many.

Check out communities. You might find a lot for sale that still offers a rural or isolated setting. They are much easier to acquire than government land.


Claiming land as your own and developing on it without the proper permits is a criminal act. Always go through the red tape to avoid being charged.

About the Author

Meagan McDougall has been a professional writer since 2006. First appearing in "The Martlet," University of Victoria's student newspaper, she now primarily writes journalistic articles and screenplays. Her focus areas are entertainment, the arts and the environment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Victoria and a diploma in writing for film and television from Vancouver Film School.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article