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Alberta Landowners Guide, Other Alberta Departments

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

Alberta Environment and Parks

The Ministry of Environment and Parks (AEP) was formerly known as Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) until Spring 2015.[1] 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 Similarly, the role of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in appeals on decisions made by the AER has been rescinded, although the EAB still operates and hears appeals on issues not related to energy development that remain under the jurisdiction of Alberta Environment and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

Alberta Environment and Parks
Information Centre
Main Floor, Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton AB T5K 2M4
Phone: 310-3773 or toll-free 1-877-944-0313
Fax: 780-427-4407

Surface Rights Board and Land Compensation Board

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.[2]

The powers of the Surface Rights Board are set out in the Surface Rights Act and in these regulations:[3]

AR 195/2007: Surface Rights Act General Regulation
AR 227/2003: Exploration Dispute Resolution Regulation, Part 2 (Public Lands Act)

These are described in Surface Rights Act.

Surface Rights Board
1229 91 St. SW
Edmonton AB T6X 1E9
Phone: 780-427-2444 or RITE: 310-0000
Fax: 780-427-5798

The Canadian Legal Information Institute database includes all Surface Rights Board decisions since 2001.[4]

Alberta Energy

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 RITE: 310-0000
Phone: 780-427-8050 or RITE: 310-0000


Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services

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.[5] You can find relevant publications on environmental health on the Alberta Health website,[6] such as Health Effects Associated with Short-term Exposure to Low Levels of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S).[7]

Ministry of Health (Alberta Health)
10800–97 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Phone: 780-427-7164 or RITE: 310-0000

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.

Alberta Health Services
14th Floor, North Tower
10030–107 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 3E4
Phone: 780-342-2000 or toll-free 1-888-342-2471
Health Link (for questions or advice from a registered nurse): 811

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

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 Registrar of Land Agents
9th Floor, 108 Street Building
9942–108 Street
Edmonton AB T5K 2J5
Phone: 780-415-4600
Fax: 780-422-7173

The publication Surface Rights and the Land Agent: A Guide for Landowners and Occupants Concerning Land Agents and Surface Rights Agencies is available online.[8]

Freedom of Information

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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).[12]

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 Information and
Privacy Commissioner (Calgary)
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

Toll-free 1-888-878-4044


Alberta Geological Survey

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.

Alberta Geological Survey


  1. This material is from the Pembina Institute publication 'Landowners' Guide to Oil and Gas Development, 3rd edition (2016)'
  2. Surface Rights Board and the Land Compensation Board, 2015 Annual Report (2016).
    https://surfacerights.alberta.ca/AboutUs/AnnualReports.html. This link has been updated since the 2016 publication; the updated link may no longer contain the original information.
  3. Surface Rights Board, “Mandate and Roles Documents”.
    https://surfacerights.alberta.ca/AboutUs/MandateRolesDocument.html. This link has been updated since the 2016 publication; the updated link may no longer contain the original information.
  4. CanLII, “Alberta Surface Rights Board.” http://www.canlii.org/en/ab/absrb/
  5. “Energy Development in or Near Urban Areas.”
  6. Alberta Health, “Environmental Health Publications.”
    https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/eph/eph.aspx. This link has been updated since the 2016 publication; the updated link may no longer contain the original information.
  7. Alberta Health and Wellness, Health Effects Associated with Short-term Exposure to Low Levels of Hydrogen Sulphide — A Technical Review (2002). https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/e7287172-b3b6-4a78-a8f4-1419e6487209/resource/c1f782b8-8195-4d90-ac1e-34e6a9bf20ae/download/health-hs2-exposure-2002.pdf. This link has been updated since the 2016 publication; the updated link may no longer contain the original information.
  8. Alberta Labour, “Land Agents Licensing Publications.”
  9. Government of Alberta, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy, “Access to Records.” http://www.servicealberta.ca/foip/access-to-records.cfm
  10. Government of Alberta, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy, “Find a FOIP Office.” http://www.servicealberta.ca/foip/find-a-foip-office.cfm
  11. The only request for which there is no application fee is for records about yourself.
  12. Service Alberta, Fee Waivers, FOIP Bulletin (March 2009).