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|Authors:||Duncan Kenyon, Nikki Way, Andrew Read, Barend Dronkers, Benjamin Israel, Binnu Jeyakumar, Nina Lothian|
|Publish Date:||October 2016|
|PDF Download:||[Landowners' Guide] [Landowners' Primer]|
|Pipelines and Other Infrastructure|
|Abandonment and Reclamation|
|Compensation, Rights, and Hearings|
Alberta Energy Regulator
Other Alberta Departments
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
Glossary of Terms
The Ministry of Environment and Parks (AEP) was formerly known as Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) until Spring 2015. It has jurisdiction of environmental protection and monitoring, alongside other programs and initiatives under its umbrella. Alberta Environment and Parks will continue to play a role in environmental monitoring, and oversees monitoring programs that were administered by the recently disbanded Alberta Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting Agency (AEMERA).
However, since the creation of the AER, Alberta Environment and Parks is no longer involved in the oversight or management of nonrenewable energy development in Alberta. Similarly, the role of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in appeals on decisions made by the AER has been rescinded, although the EAB still operates and hears appeals on issues not related to energy development that remain under the jurisdiction of Alberta Environment and Parks.
In other ways, AEP still plays an indirect role in the non-renewable energy industry. AEP is responsible for policy implementation, as well as the creation and management of regional plans. Alberta has implemented two of seven regional plans (for the Lower Athabasca and the South Saskatchewan regions), which are meant to establish land use planning and manage cumulative effects across entire regions, and to identify the economic, environmental and social objectives of each region. Each application for an approval within the boundary of a regional plan must assess whether the activity is consistent with the land use and objectives of the plan. It must also assess whether the activity complies with any regional trigger or limit established by the plan.
Additionally, the Chair of the Surface Rights Board, established to settle disputes on right-of-entry orders and compensation issues (see Surface Rights Board and Land Compensation Board below) and the Chair of the Land Compensation Board, established to deal on matters of expropriation of land, report to the Minister of AEP.
General inquiries about the Ministry should be directed to
The Surface Rights Board (SRB) is a quasi-judicial board that deals with compensation and access issues arising as a result of right-of-entry orders for mineral exploitation, pipelines, telephone lines and power lines. Its authority is created under the Surface Rights Act, and is meant to be impartial and arm’s-length from government, although the Chair reports directly to the Minister of Environment and Parks.
In addition to dealing with compensation hearings, as required by the legislation, SRB staff provide information and try to resolve problems so that a hearing is not required. The Surface Rights Board shares staff with the Land Compensation Board, which deals with compensation claims when land is expropriated.
In 2015 the Surface Rights Board received a total of 1472 applications, 283 of which were right-of-entry applications that were resolved in some form by the board. The SRB resolved 175 by issuing a right-of-entry order, and 37 issues were resolved by the board without granting a right-of-entry order. Other issues that the board handled were compensation reviews, damage disputes, and recovery of rental claims. Recovery of rental claims are made when operators have not payed rental payments owed to landowners for right of entry; in many cases these operators may have gone bankrupt or have orphaned the site without receiving a reclamation certificate. In 2015, 765 applications, or more than half of all applications to the SRB, were related to recovery of rentals. Of the 475 recovery of rental applications that were resolved, 423 were paid by the AEP from Alberta’s general revenue fund.
The powers of the Surface Rights Board are set out in the Surface Rights Act and in these regulations:
These are described in Surface Rights Act.
The Canadian Legal Information Institute database includes all Surface Rights Board decisions since 2001.
The Ministry of Energy houses the Department of Energy, and is also the Ministry to which the head of the AER reports. The Department of Energy is responsible for managing Alberta’s non-renewable resources prior to development, and granting tenure rights to companies, while the AER is responsible for overseeing the development itself. The legislation that authorizes their activity includes the Mines and Minerals Act, described in Mines and Minerals Act Part 8 (Exploration).
|Alberta Energy (Edmonton)||Alberta Energy (Calgary)|
|North Petroleum Plaza||300, 801–6 Avenue SW|
|9945–108 Street||Calgary, AB T2P 3W2|
|Edmonton, AB T5J 5C3||Phone: 403-297-8955 or|
|Phone: 780-427-8050 or
The Ministry of Health (also known as Alberta Health) does not usually get directly involved in the regulatory side of energy issues. However, the ministry is responsible for issues that relate to the health of Albertans, and collaborates with other regulatory bodies to develop health policies on environmental contaminants and health. You can find relevant publications on environmental health on the Alberta Health website, such as Health Effects Associated with Short-term Exposure to Low Levels of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S).
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is separate from the Ministry of Health, and is not involved in setting policy regarding health and the environment. If you have concerns about the direct effects of an oil or gas well on your health, it may be best to contact AHS, which may get other health authorities involved if there are larger health issues at play.
Sometimes AHS may become involved in a hearing to speak to questions of environmental health. This happened in the case of the Canadian 88 application for a well in the Lochend Field, where the Calgary Regional Health Authority (the authority at the time) was concerned that an emergency situation could put citizens of Calgary at risk.
Alberta Labour is responsible for the licensing of land agents. Only a licensed agent is allowed to negotiate surface rights or right-of-way agreements. Anyone who charges a landowner for advice on negotiating surface rights must also be a licensed land agent. This is set out in the Land Agents Licensing Act and the associated regulation, briefly described in Land Agents Licensing Act. Information about land agents can be obtained from the department.
The Registrar of Land Agents investigates concerns regarding a land agent or any complaints dealing with matters pertaining to the Land Agents Licensing Act or the Land Agents Licensing Regulations.
The publication Surface Rights and the Land Agent: A Guide for Landowners and Occupants Concerning Land Agents and Surface Rights Agencies is available online.
Sometimes you may want information about what a provincial government body is doing, or to obtain records a government has about a company, such as a company’s monitoring results or its compliance with government regulations. If you are unable to get the information by asking the company or the appropriate government office (such as the AER or Alberta Environment and Parks), you can make a Freedom of Information request.
The legislation that requires the government to make information available to the public is called the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, so such a request is often called a “FOIP” request. While the law requires some information to be released, it does not allow the disclosure of information that could cause financial harm to another person or organization or interfere with public health, safety or law enforcement. A FOIP request does not apply to private businesses, so you cannot file a FOIP request about an energy company directly.
Information on making a FOIP request is available on the FOIP website. The request must be made in writing. You can download a Request to Access Information form at the website, or you can put your request in a letter. When writing a letter, remember to provide your name, address and a telephone number where you can be reached if there are any questions about the request.
It may be best to request the information directly from the company, government office, or other publicly available means before making a request under FOIP, as the FOIP process may actually slow down the delivery of information. If you are unsure which public body has the information you seek, contact the FOIP Coordinator of the agency that seems most probable. If that public body is not the right one, the coordinator should be able to refer you to the correct location.
You should be as specific as possible when describing the records to which you want access, as this could save you money. It may be helpful to discuss how to make your request with a FOIP coordinator before submitting your form or letter. The FOIP Coordinator will give advice on completing the form, ensuring that your request provides the detail the office needs to find the right information. The coordinator may even be able to suggest how you can get the information without applying to FOIP. It costs $25 to make a request for general information and the fee must be sent with the application. There is no additional upfront charge unless the total cost of processing your request exceeds $150. The coordinator will give you the estimated total cost before the information is processed and will discuss ways to narrow your request, if required. Fees may be waived if you cannot afford to pay or if you can show that the record deals with an important matter of public interest (such as the environment, public health or safety).
If your request for information is refused, or if you have any issue with the way your access request was processed you can ask for a review by contacting the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
Office of the Information and
Privacy Commissioner (Edmonton)
|Office of the|
|410, 9925–109 St. NW||Suite 2460, 801 6 Avenue SW|
|Edmonton, AB T5K 2J8||Calgary, AB T2P 3W2|
|Phone: 780-422-6860||Phone: 403-297-2728|
|Fax: 780-422-5682||Fax: 403-297-2711|
|Fax: 780-427-2759||Fax: 403-297-5121|
Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) is the official provincial geological survey of Alberta. AGS is responsible for describing the geology and resources in the province and providing information that may be relevant to land use, environmental, public health, and safety issues related to geosciences.
AGS works in several key areas, including bedrock mapping, geological modelling, resource evaluation (such as for oil and gas), and groundwater. Much of this analysis is provided to the AER, and informs the Regulator’s resource management. In the 2014 Peace River inquiry around widespread issues of odour and emissions, AGS investigated and provided geological and geochemical contributions to the panel.
Their website also includes resources such as reports and maps.