Crown land is the term used to describe land owned by the federal or provincial governments. Authority for control of these public lands rests with the Crown, hence their name. Less than 11% of Canada's land is in private hands; 41% is federal crown land and 48% is provincial crown land. The YUKON, the NORTHWEST TERRITORIES and NUNAVUT are administered on behalf of Canada by ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT through the Territorial Lands Act and Public Lands Grants Act.
About 4% (17 million ha) of federally administered land is found in the provinces, ranging from 10.6% in Alberta to only 0.2% in Québec. Provincial crown land ownership varies, too, from a high of 95% in Newfoundland to less than 2% in PEI. Surface and subsurface rights to the mineral, energy, forest and water resources may be leased to private enterprise - a very important source of government income in Canada. National and provincial PARKS, Indian reserves, federal military bases and provincial forests are the largest and most visible allocations of crown land.