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Planning, Property & Development

Survey Infrastructure Protection Program

Survey infrastructure serves as the foundation for all land development and property ownership in the City of Winnipeg. Used for determining legal property boundaries, elevations and mapping coordinates, survey infrastructure is defined by thousands of individual survey monuments placed in the ground and in building foundations. The Survey Infrastructure Protection Program (SIPP) is designed to protect and manage this vital infrastructure.


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Survey Infrastructure Protection Program (SIPP) Overview
  • The survey infrastructure is made up of two distinct components:
    • Legal survey network (legal monument)
    • Geodetic control survey network (control monument)
  • Users of the survey infrastructure include: engineers, land surveyors, planners, homeowners, and utilities.
  • The Survey Infrastructure Protection Program is not a member of the “Click Before You Dig MB” locate request program. As such, all locate requests must be made using the contact information on this page.
  • Locate requests must be made regardless of the depth of excavation.
  • Construction activity must not damage the survey infrastructure.
  • Direct and indirect use of the system affects mapping activity, real estate transactions, zoning enforcement, flood proofing, geographic information systems, and construction.
  • The program was designed to assist the construction industry in understanding and fulfilling its legal obligations. If construction activities cause damage to the survey infrastructure, the SIPP process will allow for the restoration/replacement of the survey infrastructure.
  • Upon receiving notice of construction, an office evaluation of the project is performed to determine the potential impact of the work on the survey infrastructure.
  • As necessary, under the direction of a Manitoba Land Surveyor, survey monuments are located and marked (and referenced where necessary) prior to construction. The physical condition of those monuments is confirmed upon completion of construction.
  • In instances where the work is deemed to be of a major nature or where the work forms part of a major project, the responsible parties may be accountable for the costs associated with survey infrastructure protection services.
  • The client is made aware of any survey monuments that are missing or damaged prior to construction and are not held liable for these monuments.
  • Please Note: if the City of Winnipeg Geomatics Branch is not contacted and this program is not used, any survey monuments that are missing or that are found damaged during or after construction on a project, the parties responsible for construction activities:
    • must prove the damage was not a result of their actions.
    • could be held accountable for restoring all missing/damaged survey monuments within the project site.
    • must pay for any associated costs regarding restoration. A rough estimate of the costs involved to restore a survey monument is $1,000 per legal monument and $3,000 per control monument.
Contact Information
  • The Geomatics Branch of the Planning, Property and Development Department is responsible for the maintenance and restoration of the survey infrastructure and provides services to those parties undertaking construction within or adjacent to the street rights-of-way. Please notify the Geomatics Branch at least five to 10 working days prior to the construction start date.
  • Email: SurveyInfrastructureProtectionProgram@winnipeg.ca
  • Phone: 204-918-1360
Geomatics Branch Review and Processing
  • To assist with the evaluation of your construction project, submit construction drawings (preferably in electronic form via email) to the Geomatics Branch.
E-Drawing Submission Requirements
  • Drawings may be emailed to SurveyInfrastructureProtectionProgram@winnipeg.ca
  • Information accompanying a drawing submission should include:
    • Drawing version, i.e. AutoCAD 2014, MicroSurvey 2014, etc.
    • Description of work
    • Estimated start date
    • Estimated completion date
    • Contact person name and phone number
    • Name of City Contract Administrator and Bid Opportunity number, if applicable
  • Preferred coordinate system is City of Winnipeg, June 1990, NAD 83, UTM.
  • Drawings must be referenced to property limits.
  • If drawings form part of a major project, the project must be identified at time of submission of drawings.
  • If scope or type of work changes, additional information or drawings must be provided.
E-drawing Processing
  • Applicant will receive information from the Geomatics Branch via return email.
  • In situations where the work is deemed to have no impact on the survey infrastructure, a statement confirming this will accompany the email.
  • In situations where the work is deemed to have an impact on the survey infrastructure, returns will consist of:
    • A statement identifying whether the Geomatics Branch or the applicant is responsible/accountable for survey infrastructure protection services on the project.
    • If the Geomatics Branch is responsible/accountable for survey infrastructure protection services:
      • A statement indicating that the applicant shall contact the Geomatics Branch via email at: SurveyInfrastructureProtectionProgram@winnipeg.ca or via phone at: (204)-918-1360) at least five to 10 working days in advance of the start of the work to schedule an on-site locate appointment.
      • A PDF identifying the general location of the survey monuments which may be impacted by the work. Note: all survey monuments found during the on-site locate will be marked with paint and/or lathe.
Overview of the Legal Survey Network
  • The legal survey network includes approximately 70,000 outline survey monuments.
  • Monuments are established by the activities of Manitoba Land Surveyors and recorded on an estimated 20,000 plans of survey registered in the Winnipeg Land Titles Office.
  • Differing from the monuments of the control survey network, which are based on mathematical criteria, these monuments are established using principles of English common law.
  • A basic principle of this system of law is the concept of the original position of the survey monument. It is these original positions that govern the position of every property boundary and determine the legal location of all land parcels within the City.
  • The original position differs from the theoretical position (plan position) of the survey monument and may differ from its current position. It is for this reason that the protection of survey monuments, and/or evidence of the original position when the survey monument is missing, is so important.
  • The survey monuments, in their original positions, relate the paper record, such as a Certificate of Title to land, to its physical location on the ground and ensure quiet possession to title for residents of Winnipeg.
  • A well-maintained network of survey monuments ensures that any activity using the system occurs, or is contained, within its proper location.
Maintenance of the Survey Infrastructure
  • The survey infrastructure requires maintenance to ensure that it is capable of meeting the demands of its users.
  • Horizontal and vertical movements affect the accuracy of the survey infrastructure system. This is especially true in the case of control monuments.
  • The greatest threat to the survey infrastructure is construction within or adjacent to the street rights-of-way.
  • It is estimated that 30% of the survey infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, costing potentially millions of dollars for the restoration/replacement of survey monuments.
  • To manage the survey infrastructure effectively, the Geomatics Branch developed a Geographic Information System (GIS).
    • The GIS links the survey monument database with mapping software.
    • The GIS is comprised of a graphical representation with attribute data on all survey monuments within the City.
    • The mapping software allows the extents of construction projects to be defined and stored.
    • From queries against the database, a report can be generated listing all monument information specific to a construction project. Using this information, field inspections may be undertaken to locate and mark the survey monuments for the construction personnel prior to the start of their work.
  • The Survey Infrastructure Protection Program was established to ensure that all construction activity is reviewed by the Geomatics Branch.
  • Activities which result in disturbance or destruction to the survey infrastructure is governed under the Criminal Code of Canada as well as The Surveys Act and The Land Surveyors Act (MB.)
Governing Legislation

The Criminal Code of Canada (Relevant Excerpts)

442 Everyone who willfully pulls down, defaces, alters or removes anything planted or set up as the boundary line or part of the boundary line of land is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. 
443(1) Everyone who willfully pulls down, defaces, alters or removes

  1. a boundary mark lawfully placed to mark any international, provincial, county or municipal boundary, or
  2. a boundary mark lawfully placed by a land surveyor to mark any limit, boundary or angle or a concession, range, lot or parcel of land,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

The Land Surveyors Act (Manitoba) (Relevant Excerpts)

65(2) No person shall wilfully deface, alter or remove a monument placed by, or under the instructions of, a Manitoba land surveyor, Canada Lands Surveyor or Dominion land surveyor.

The Surveys Act (Manitoba) (Relevant Excerpts)

1 “outline monument” includes all survey monuments planted to define any special survey made under The Special Surveys Act on the principal of a block-outline survey; all monuments of a permanent character planted in accordance with subsection 112(4) of the Real Property Act, all monuments placed on offset lines to evidence block corners in subdivision surveys, and all monuments defining any road or main highway.

2 All outline monuments, whether defining directly any line or limit or indirectly defining a line or limit as a reference point, are equally public property, and as such shall be kept available to surveyors at any time, and shall not be interfered with by any person or municipality.

4 All persons and municipalities when making improvements, public or otherwise, shall protect all outline monuments from being disturbed in the course of the improvements, and shall provide traps in pavements or sidewalks covering the monuments when necessary to make them easily accessible.

5 Where any improvement is to be made of such a character as to alter permanently the surface grade or to otherwise disturb or render practically inaccessible any outline monuments, the municipality or other person responsible for the improvement shall have a survey made under the direction of the registrar-general referencing the monuments; and during the course of completion of the improvements the monuments shall be restored to their original location or suitable monuments substituted therefore, to the satisfaction of the registrar-general.

6 The registrar-general, upon receiving a report from any surveyor indicating the disturbance in any way of any outline monument, may require the municipality in which the monument is situated to remedy any such disturbance of monuments or surveys to his satisfaction; and if, upon being required to do so, the municipality refuses or neglects to comply with the requirement, the registrar-general shall remedy the disturbance to his satisfaction and the cost thereof shall be paid in the first place out of the Consolidated Fund, and subsequently collected from the municipality through the Minister of Rural Development; but if the cost will exceed the sum of $1000., the registrar-general shall not take the proceedings without the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.


City Of Winnipeg Geodetic Benchmark Booklet (Redbook)

The accuracy and reliability of the existing network of control monuments is currently unknown. Accordingly, the Geodetic Benchmark and Horizontal Control Monument Booklet publication has been removed from this site. The booklet formerly listed control monument location and elevation information within the City of Winnipeg.

Please be advised that there is inherent risk in using the network of control monuments in conjunction with prior hardcopies of this information.

For more information please contact:
Jeff Smith, M.L.S.
Geomatics Officer
City of Winnipeg
Planning, Property & Development Department
Geomatics Branch
Phone: 204-986-4498
Email: jsmith2@winnipeg.ca

Last update: August 24, 2017