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Developing a Community Land Trust


  • To provide an introduction to Community Land Trusts (CLTs).
  • To highlight the potential role of CLTs in First Nations housing and lands governance.
  • To offer initial support in developing a CLT for First Nations housing and lands.


This is one module within a broader toolkit intended to facilitate the goals and projects of First Nations communities related to housing and homelands governance. Each module can be used individually in connection with other supporting modules, or in conjunction with the toolkit as a whole-system approach.

This module has been created to introduce the idea of the Community Land Trust (CLT) as a potential legal framework upon which First Nations communities and individuals can control and steward their lands and homes for collective well-being. As Indigenous jurisdiction comes to be recognized by the Crown in British Columbia as a result of different land and self-governance claims and negotiations by First Nations, there is an identified need for novel ways in which First Nations communities can govern those lands which are consistent with their values and visions for sustainable economic futures and housing.

What is a Community Land Trust?

CLTs are non-profit, arm’s length, community-based organizations that own land and property in trust for the benefit of a community or First Nation. In British Columbia, this has typically meant that CLTs are in fact non-profit societies established under the BC Societies Act. Through shared-equity based ownership and financial relationships, CLTs are concerned with balancing the housing and land interests of individuals with those of the collective community.

As a result, CLTs can offer appropriate legal structures for First Nations communities via a suite of options that span the gap between rental and full-ownership housing models. This enables them to be consistent with the values of collectivity, stability, and inheritability that are important to many First Nations, as opposed to solely individual wealth creation.

Community Land Trust graphic


Potential Pathway to a First Nation CLT in British Columbia

The establishment of CLTs by First Nations for the achievement of their desired housing, lands, and economic futures is a new and novel idea in British Columbia. Below are some of the key steps that might need to be carried out.

Establishing a FN CLT in BC
Establishing a FN CLT in BC

*An example resale formula could be a return of any down payment + 25% of capital gains for both the resident and an investor, with 50% of equity gains reinvested into the CLT.

Next steps

  • Reach out to the Indigenous Home-Lands initiative at Ecotrust Canada. We’re ready to offer support to First Nations partners interested in establishing a CLT within their territories. To learn more, contact us via
Download Community Land Trust Module
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