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Alberta Landowners Guide, Legal Assistance

Landowners Guide Cover.jpg
3rd edition
Authors:            Duncan Kenyon, Nikki Way, Andrew Read, Barend Dronkers, Benjamin Israel, Binnu Jeyakumar, Nina Lothian
Publisher: Pembina Institute
Publish Date: October 2016
PDF Download: [Landowners' Guide]              [Landowners' Primer]                                                                    
Initiation Phase
Exploration Phase
Development Phase
Pipelines and Other Infrastructure
Environmental Impacts
Abandonment and Reclamation
Compensation, Rights, and Hearings
                Alberta Energy Regulator
                Other Alberta Departments
                Other Resources
                Legal Assistance
                Energy Industry Associations
                Provincial Non-profit Organizations
                Surface Rights and Local Groups
                Responsible Energy Development Act
                AER Oil and Gas Related Legislation
                AER Energy Related Legislation
                Other Provincial Acts
                Documenting Costs
                Glossary of Terms


This chapter provides contact information for lawyers, laboratories, industrial associations and community groups.[1] Within each main section, the individual organizations are listed in alphabetical order. While engaging effectively with industry and the regulators can appear to be a daunting challenge, accessing the experience and expertise of others who have professional training or who have dealt with similar issues can be an invaluable source of advice and support.

Lawyers, Expert Witnesses and Technical Assistance

Lawyers or landowner representatives

In many cases a landowner negotiates directly with a company, but sometimes it can be helpful to engage a lawyer or landowner representative who is familiar with surface rights issues. Landowner representatives may be certified land agents, or other professionals with experience negotiating on these issues. Several years ago the provincial government changed land agent legislation to allow farmers and ranchers to hire professionals who were not land agents.

If a situation is complex or if negotiations break down and you plan to present at a hearing, you may wish to engage a lawyer and/or expert witnesses. This is especially common for cases brought before the AER, and some interveners also like to have a lawyer represent them at a Surface Rights Board hearing.

It is best to find a lawyer and/or expert witnesses who are experienced in energy issues and in the hearing process. Unfortunately, there is no central resource to find experts and lawyers, so you may have to ask around your networks, contact a local surface rights group or synergy group and search online. There are several law firms in Alberta that practice environmental or surface rights law.

You could also read some of the AER hearing decision documents and see which lawyers and expert witnesses were involved. These are listed at the beginning of each decision. The local residents are identified as “principals” and listed in the left-hand column. Where they are represented by someone, that name is given underneath. All recent decisions are published on the AER’s website.[2]

While the highest priority in selecting professional assistance is to choose someone with experience in energy hearings, hiring professionals who are located near you can help to reduce costs and facilitate communication.

Mediation and Arbitration

In many energy-related cases, the AER will provide assistance if companies or individuals would like a third party mediator instead of the AER staff mediator (see Working with the Alberta Energy Regulator). The AER keeps a list of companies that provide appropriate dispute resolution services and also lists on their website individuals who undertake mediation.[3] These individuals are most likely to have an understanding of energy issues.

Alternatively, you may wish to contact the ADR Institute of Alberta (formerly associated with the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society), which maintains a searchable directory of ADR specialists in Alberta. Their website also provides more information on the basics of mediation.

ADR Institute of Alberta
Toll Free: 1-800-232-7214
Edmonton: 780-433-4881
Fax: 780-433-9024


If you want to have your air or water tested, be sure to engage an accredited laboratory. The Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) delivers laboratory accreditation for environmental, and petroleum testing, along with other testing services. Each laboratory is separately evaluated and accredited for specific tests. Thus, the tests that a laboratory is accredited to perform will vary from one lab to another, even within the same company. The website includes a list of accredited laboratories.

The Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation
Phone: 613-233-5300
Fax: 613-233-5501

Accredited laboratories are also listed at:

The Standards Council of Canada

Technical consultants

You may also need other environmental consulting services or technical expertise. The Environmental Services Association of Alberta is an industrial association of the major companies that provide environmental services in Alberta. The list and profiles of association members on the website may help identify companies that can provide consultants or expert advice.

Environmental Services Association of Alberta
#102, 2528 Ellwood Drive SW
Edmonton, AB - T6X 0A9
Phone: 780-429-6363


  1. This material is from the Pembina Institute publication 'Landowners' Guide to Oil and Gas Development, 3rd edition (2016)'
  2. AER, “Decisions.” https://www.aer.ca/regulating-development/project-application/decisions.html. This link has been updated since the 2016 publication; the updated link may no longer contain the original information.
  3. AER, “ADR Third-Party Mediators.” https://www.aer.ca/protecting-what-matters/giving-albertans-a-voice/alternative-dispute-resolution/adr-third-party-mediators.html. This link has been updated since the 2016 publication; the updated link may no longer contain the original information.