Virtually all of us take our access to and use of fresh water
for granted. However, water rights are, and should be, a signifi
cant concern for many Albertans. Those who reside or do business in
rural areas, have a water well or a watercourse on or adjacent to
their lands, or are involved in any enterprise that relies on
water, should understand their rights and responsibilities under
The Water Act (Alberta) regulates the use, management,
conservation and allocation of water in Alberta. Albertans cannot
own water: rather we are granted rights to use it
and divert it for various purposes. These rights are granted or
held in Alberta by the following means: a deemed licence, a water
licence, registration as a traditional agricultural user, exemption
as an agricultural user, a deemed approval, an approval, an interim
approval or licence, a preliminary certifi cate, the purchase of
land to which water rights already pertain, an assignment of water,
a transfer of water rights, or qualifi cation for use for household
Some of the foregoing conventions automatically apply to those
who meet the applicable criteria, whereas others require
application, registration, or an agreement with an existing
rights-holder. Additionally, many of these water rights are
restricted in the amount of water that may be used or diverted, and
the purpose or purposes for which it may be used. The quantity of
water a rights-holder may use can be restrained by its ability to
physically divert or transport the water, if this is necessary.
Rights are limited to the capacity and rate at which a person's
"works" (system or method for transporting the water) can
divert the water. In some cases, water rights may expire and the
rights-holder must apply for a renewal in order to maintain its
rights, as well as its priority in relation to other users.
Priority, relative to the rights of other users that share a
local water source, is often a critical consideration. In times of
scarcity, water rights can be limited and restrictions can be
imposed. The extent of the restriction on a rights-holder's
water use is determined according to the priority of rights amongst
users, the intended use of the water, and the method by which the
rights were conveyed. For example, the Water Act
prescribes that a person who is diverting water for household
purposes typically has priority over an entity that is entitled to
divert water pursuant to an approval, licence or registration -
which can have a significant impact on an agricultural enterprise
or a business that relies on water for its operations.
Water rights-holders in Alberta may choose to temporarily or
permanently transfer their rights to another entity, or,
alternatively, quantities of water may be assigned to others,
depending upon the nature of the rights held, and subject to some
restrictions. However, all those wishing to assign their rights
should be aware that such a transfer might require government
approval or consent.
Water continues to become an increasingly valuable commodity,
which is heavily relied-on by individuals and multi-billion dollar
industries alike. As concern builds regarding the potential
scarcity of fresh water supply, it is important for enterprises
that rely on water (even in small part) for their business
operations to fully understand the legal and regulatory issues that
impact their current water rights: both to consider risk to their
businesses but also to ensure compliance with relevant legislation
or government approvals or licenses. Our Business Law department
has experience in assisting business owners with negotiating this
highly-regulated area, and would be able to assist you in ensuring
legislative and regulatory compliance and in acquiring or assigning
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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