Community Land Trust (CLT): Definition

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are community led, non-profit organizations which acquire and hold land in the interest of their local community.  CLTs operate on a variety of scales choosing to represent either neighbourhoods, cities, or regions.  CLTs are long-term stewards of affordability, which work to ensure perpetually affordable housing, and to secure space for high social-benefit non-profit enterprises.

Purpose of the Canadian Network of CLTs

The CNCLT is a knowledge-sharing forum. We are creating a pan-Canadian community to ensure the success and growth of the Community Land Trust (CLT) model throughout Canada. Our goal is a healthy ecosystem of community-owned affordable housing and other real estate assets in urban areas.

Responsibilities of CNCLT members

  • Identify and support strategic priority needs for CLTs in Canada.
  • Be an advocate for CLTs; share any CNCLT activities with your organization/community.
  • Share information with peers about access to funding, incorporation, governance models and acquisition or development opportunities.
  • Attend scheduled meetings, review correspondence and meeting minutes.
  • Update the CNCLT on progress with CLTs in your community, region or province.
  • Review the Terms of Reference (ToR) annually.

Guiding Principles

Accountability: CNCLT members will actively participate in a fair and responsible manner. 

Transparency: Minutes will be recorded for all meetings. They will include the decisions, action items, rationale and other key information related to the work of the collective.

Confidentiality: All documents and minutes are public documents. made available online.

Respect: CNCLT will value and reflect on differences in perspective. We will make every effort to ensure everyone is treated respectfully.

Inclusivity: Members will work to ensure that everyone in the group understands the issues and can participate in discussions.

Equity: Members will make efforts to ensure a diverse representation of membership. 

Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous People:  The CNCLT will observe the practice of land recognition at each annual gathering.


Canada’s CLT history is fundamentally tied to the United States, where the North American movement emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.  While we work to gather Canadian history and content please  enjoy this presentation on American CLT history published by our inspirational American friend John Emmeus Davis.