Government of Saskatchewan
Quick Search:
Sunday, February 07, 2016
Saskatchewan Justice

Under The Seizure of Criminal Property Act, 2009, property acquired, whether directly or indirectly, as a result of unlawful activity; or property that is being, or has been, used to commit a crime may be seized and, when appropriate, sold by an order of the court.

The seizure of property by the province is intended to prevent crime by taking away the proceeds of crime so they can't be subsequently used for further crime. "Property" includes both real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property.

The Act provides that a director appointed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General may apply to the Court of Queen's Bench for a forfeiture order respecting property located anywhere in Saskatchewan. The director then applies to the Registrar of Titles and to the Personal Property Registry to register an interest in the property. This ensures that innocent third parties are not affected by the forfeiture process. Persons with an interest in that property have an opportunity to be heard prior to the property being liquidated.

The director may apply to the Court for an interim order to ensure that property that is, or may become, the subject of an application for a forfeiture order is not wasted or disposed of in anticipation of a forfeiture order. For example, the Court may make an interim order authorizing the director to investigate and inventory the property, an order for search and seizure, or an order for delivery or safekeeping of the property.

If the Court finds that the property is the proceeds of crime or is being used for crime, the Court shall:

  • order the forfeiture of the property to the Government of Saskatchewan where it will be liquidated; and
  • make a protection order to protect third parties who have an interest in the forfeited property. Holders of a prior registered interest in the property (e.g., financial institutions, Canadian governments, co-owners or owners of the property who were unaware of the criminal activity) are entitled to a protection order.

An order made under the Act may be appealed to the Court of Appeal on a question of law and that Court may make any order it considers appropriate. However, there is no appeal of a forfeiture order.

Effective January 1, 2015, the director can commence forfeiture of seized property through an administrative process where:

  • the director is satisfied that the property is proceeds of unlawful activity or an instrument of unlawful activity;
  • the property is personal property (real property is not subject to forfeiture through the administrative process);
  • the fair market value of the property is less than $75,000; and
  • no other person has a prior registered interest in the property.  

During the administrative forfeiture process, the director is required to register an interest in the property under the Personal Property Registry and to provide notice to of the forfeiture to persons with an interest in the property, together with providing a general public notice.  If a person claiming to have an interest in the property files a notice of dispute, the director is either required to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a forfeiture order through the regular forfeiture process, or discontinue the forfeiture.  A person who claims to have an interest in property that is subject to an administrative forfeiture, but who missed the initial opportunity to file a notice of dispute, has an additional six-month window to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench to have the forfeiture set aside. 

The Act establishes a criminal property forfeiture fund to hold all money received through the property forfeited to the Government of Saskatchewan and property that is the subject of an interim order. Subject to any order of the court, any surplus from the fund may be distributed, at the direction of the Minister of Justice, equally to police operations and to the Victims' Fund under section 6 of The Victims of Crime Act, 1995.

© 2016 Government of Saskatchewan. All rights reserved.