According to Tim McMillan, Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for energy and resources, Saskatchewan’s and British Columbia’s systems for the disposition of mineral claims are based on two different principles.

“It is our understanding that B.C. issues a disposition immediately upon payment of the registration fee,” McMillan says. “In [Saskatchewan’s] case, the disposition is issued only once it is approved by the minister. Clients can pay online or in cash. If clients opt to pay cash, they have three days to submit the payment. The cash option is not available in B.C.”

Approval by the Saskatchewan minister of the economy, which usually occurs within three to five days, is based on two main considerations: ensuring that payment is made for the disposition; and checking the claim application to ensure that the map data was correct at the time of the application.

“The second step is very important,” says McMillan. “Although the data used by MARS is updated every night, it is possible that it could become out of date by the time the application is made. The Ministry of the Economy needs to be certain when it issues a disposition that the information used to determine the availability of a parcel is correct. If a disposition is rejected, the payment is refunded.”

Saskatchewan’s approach also reflects differences in provincial law. “Once a disposition is issued, the Ministry of the Economy has a limited capacity to cancel it if it was issued on lands which should not have been available for dispositioning at the time the application was made,” McMillan says. “It is my understanding that the Government of British Columbia may have broader authority in this area. Regardless, Saskatchewan’s preference is to ensure that the MARS data is correct when the application is made and then issue a disposition, rather than try to amend or cancel interests after the disposition has been issued.”