Module Two: The Parcel Description Certification Application (PDCA)

Learning Objective(s)

In this section, you will learn about the importance of identifying the proper parcel description from a legal perspective and how to build the description elements from the new electronic system’s perspective as required by the Act and Regulations. There will be an on-line demonstration and exercises to help you understand the processes involved.

Review the Draft PDCA


A PDCA is the new legal description that owners of property will use to match the property description written in a deed with the electronic picture of the parcel on the provincial map. This must be done before any parcel can be converted from the old registry system to the new system.

A PDCA is defined in the Land Registration Administration Regulations (“LRAR”) as:

““parcel description certification application” or “PDCA” means an application in accordance with Section 7 to have the parcel identification number of the parcel assigned and matched to a legal description”

The above definition references s. 37(4)(g) of the Land Registration Act, which reads as follows:

“(4) An application shall be in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied by…
(g) the parcel identification number assigned to the parcel in the manner prescribed in regulations made by the minister.”

In its physical form, a PDCA is an electronic form (Form 2 – an email addendum is permitted for extremely long descriptions of over approximately eight pages – LRAR 7(3)). Only an authorized lawyer or an authorized surveyor may submit the legal description for a PID to the mappers at Service Nova Scotia Municipal Relations (“SNSMR”) in order to allow the SNSMR mappers to confirm that the description is an apparent match with the PID SNSMR has in its mapping system.

The PDCA submission process is governed by s.7 of the LRAR and the actual required content of a description is further refined by the requirement for submissions to be in compliance with SNSMR’s “PDCA Checklist“. The PDCA Checklist is a detailed summary sheet of everything a mapper will be looking for when reviewing a submitted PDCA.

Note: Your PDCA and final AFR are also your certification of compliance with the LRA, the LRAR, and the regulations under the Legal Profession Act (including the Professional Standards as then in effect).

In addition to the description of the parcel being converted, a PDCA will also contain information that will allow the SNSMR mappers to match the application with the SNSMR mapping system (i.e. PID, Assessment Account Number (AAN), references to most recent deed using description). A PDCA also contains a separate comments section that can be completed or left blank, depending on whether or not there are any special considerations that should or must be communicated to the mapper. All this will be discussed in more detail below.

Noting what a PDCA is not is also important. Even once a PDCA is approved it is not a guarantee of the boundaries of the lot. This is stated in the LRA:

“21 (1) The legal description of a parcel in a register is not conclusive as to the location, boundaries or extent of the parcel.
      (2) Provincial mapping is not conclusive as to the location, boundaries or extent of a parcel.”

Clients will often wonder why we have to do PDCAs and why such detail is required if the guarantee offered under the LRA only extends to “title” and not to boundaries. The answer is that the LRA is not a true Torrens system of land registration, whereby both title and boundaries are guaranteed. Our land titles system guarantees the ownership of a lot, however, before the Province is willing to guarantee ownership it must have a high level of certainty that the PID referenced actually matches the title information upon which the lawyer is certifying title. This is also in keeping with Section 2(a) of the LRA which notes that one of the purposes of the LRA is to create certainty of ownership.