This information was supplied by Brian Madigan in Toronto and I thought I would pass this along as it really explains surveys in Ontario.
By Brian Madigan LL.B.
Ontario Land Surveyors are called upon to prepare four basic types of survey:
"1)Plans of Subdivision (M-Plan, Registered Plan, Condominium Plan) Upon registration in the Land Registry Office, these surveys divide property into lots or units and set out boundaries for the first time, after appropriate approvals have been obtained.
2)Reference Plans (R-Plans) These are deposited plans and graphical representations of descriptions, as well as representations of divisions of land under the Planning Act.
3)Plan of Survey This may be a reference plan, an undeposited plan in the form of a Surveyor's Real Property Report (SRPR), or a standard survey plan.
4)Surveyor's Real Property Report A Surveyor's Real Property Report (SRPR) is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of all visible public and private improvements relative to property boundaries."*
One of the principal purposes of a survey is the division of property. Simply put, without a survey, property remains as one large parcel. It is only with a proper survey that it can be divided into smaller units.
So, let's start out with the process. A farm in the close suburbs may be comprised of 100 acres along a major roadway. It may have street frontage on two sides. If it were the entire concession lot, it would be exactly 200 acres and have four streets as boundaries. The dimensions would be one and a quarter miles by one and a quarter miles. Over the years, this large farm may have been broken into two 100 acre farms or even four 50's.
The next item is a large 150 year old farmhouse and small barns and outbuildings. When setting out to develop the property, the first item to check will be #3 a Plan of Survey. Does it show the boundaries and does it show the buildings? If matters are to proceed, a new and current survey will have to be prepared. This will be #4, the Surveyors Real Property Report. It will contain two pages:
1) a graphical representation of the property, and
2) an opinion from the surveyor.
The next stage will be to carve up the property into two pieces. Let's assume here that one acre is to remain with the farmhouse and to continue as a residential property, and the remaining 99 acres are to be developed.
Now we need an updated survey. So, we need to have a graphical representation that can be used to apply for a division of the lands into two parcels, one 1 acre and one 99 acres.
A surveyor will utilize the #4 Surveyors Real Property Report as the basis, and outline the two parts:
1) Part 1, being one acre with a farmhouse,
2) Part 2, being ninety-nine acres.
This particular survey will be taken before the Land Division Committee or the Committee of Adjustments, depending upon which committee has jurisdiction for severances in that area.
This particular survey is not "deposited". The term deposit is a reference to the fact that the survey might be "filed" or registered in a particular Registry Office. In this case, the survey is submitted to the municipality to go through the land severance process. At this point, there is no need for registration.
Let's assume that the severance is granted.
The surveyor then prepares a Reference Plan, known also as an R-Plan. It is taken over to the Registry Office to be filed. Upon the payment of the prescribed fee, the R-Plan is "deposited" in the office as a reference plan, or at least a plan that can be "referred to", if need be. The term "registered" is a term of art in the conveyancing business, so a similar but different term was required, hence: "deposited".
For ease of location within the office, it is given a number, ie. 241 (the next number in series at that office).
Now, we have a legal description that could be used for future conveyances, two parcels as follows:
1) Part 1, Reference Plan 241 (being one acre with a farmhouse),
2) Part 2, Reference Plan 241 (being ninety-nine acres).
So far, the farmer still owns the entire 100 acres. Nothing has happened yet. There are three choices in terms of conveyance:
1) the entire 100 acres using the old property description,
2) the one acre parcel, using Part 1 R-Plan 241, and
3) the ninety nine acres, using Part 2 R-Plan 241.
Actually, there's one more possibility and that is to use the new description to convey the entire 100 acre parcel. So, that would be Parts 1 and 2 R-Plan 241.
But, remember even though there has been an approval of the severance, there is no severance until there is a conveyance. The "approval" is of limited duration. It will expire in 12 months unless it is acted upon.
That means the farmer must convey either Part 1 or Part 2 separately to a third party. Upon registration of the conveyance which has the consent of the appropriate approving authority attached, the property consisting of 100 acres will be severed into two parcels, one acre and ninety-nine acres.
And, when it comes to dividing up the 99 acres, a plan of subdivision (#1) or M-Plan will be used.
* source The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors
Brian Madigan LL.B., Realtor is an author and commentator on real estate matters, Royal LePage Innovators Realty