Division on the move
Legal registries now in Hodgson building

NNSL (Oct 20/99) - Legal registries has moved to the ground floor of the Stuart Hodgson building from its former home on the third floor of the courthouse building.

And though it has moved to an office that is more accessible to the public, many people know little about what documents legal registries stores.

The 20-person division is tying into the GNWT's agenda for a new North partly through being much more electronically-based than paper-based than it was five years ago.

Another way the division ties into being part of the new North is all the work that went into separating files for the creation of Nunavut.

Now the division stores only the new NWT's files.

The division is divided into four sections: corporate registries, the land titles office, the document registry and the securities registry.

Corporate registries is responsible for the incorporation and registration of entities such as business corporations, societies, co-operatives, partnerships and business names.

The land titles office is responsible for surveyed land within the NWT and particularly in municipalities. It also registers all real estate transactions after lawyers draw them up.

The document registry deals with areas such as conditional sales contracts when people buy vehicles, for example. It also handles chattel mortgages, which are different from real estate mortgages. Chattel mortgages are for when a person has a vehicle and wants to borrow money against it from the bank. Bills of sale and corporate debentures are also registered here.

There is also the securities registry. This section deals with mutual funds or other types of securities. Before a bank can offer mutual funds, the funds must be registered with legal registries as must the people selling the funds.

Hall said one main change in the division is that it is far less paper-based than when he started working there in 1994.

Still, there is so much weight from some of the division's filing cabinets that the floor needed some steel reinforcement put underneath. This is another reason why the office is on the ground floor of the Hodgson building.

Hall estimated that there were 200,000 documents in the land titles office alone. For the other sections of legal registries, he said he would not want to hazard a guess because there are so many.

"We are more electronically-based than we were, but inputting all the information from the documents is a monumental task," Hall said.

"There is also a fair cost associated with getting all the files online."

Still, he said he expects more of the division to be online soon.