Canada: Energy @ Gowlings- September 19, 2012 - Volume 10, Number 13

Last Updated: September 20 2012
Article by Lisa Jamieson, Weiqing Jin and Lana Tarnovetskaia

Edited by Paul H. Harricks

Lower Athabasca Regional Plan comes into effect

On August 22, 2012 the Government of Alberta approved the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP), making it the first regional plan to be completed under Alberta's Land-use Framework.  The plan came into effect on September 1, 2012.

Alberta's Land-use Framework (LUF), released in December 2008, set out an approach to managing Alberta's land and natural resources to achieve its long-term economic, environmental and social goals. The LUF established seven new land-use regions and calls for the development of a regional plan for each.

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act supports the LUF and establishes the legal basis for the development of regional plans.  The first of the regional plans, the LARP, was released in draft form on April 5, 2011.  The region covers approximately 93,212 square kilometres and is located in the northeast corner of Alberta. It is bordered to the north by the Northwest Territories and to the south by the County of Vermilion River, the County of St. Paul and Smoky Lake County. To the east, it is bordered by Saskatchewan and to the west by Wood Buffalo National Park, MacKenzie County and the Municipal District of Opportunity.

The development of the LARP used a three-phase consultation process which gathered:

  • input on the region's issues;
  • feedback on the advice from the Lower Athabasca Regional Advisory Council; and
  • feedback on the Government of Alberta's Draft Lower Athabasca Integrated Regional Plan.

The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan:

  • Establishes a long-term vision for the region;
  • Aligns provincial policies at the regional level to balance Alberta's economic, environmental and social goals;
  • Reflects ongoing commitment to engage Albertans, including aboriginal peoples, in land-use planning;
  • Uses a cumulative effects management approach to balance economic development opportunities and social and environmental considerations;
  • Sets desired economic, environmental and social outcomes and objectives for the region;
  • Describes the strategies, actions, approaches and tools required to achieve the desired outcomes and objectives;
  • Establishes monitoring, evaluation and reporting commitments to assess progress; and
  • Provides guidance to provincial and local decision-makers regarding land-use management for the region.

The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan has four key components:

  • Introduction – includes the purpose of the regional plan, land-use planning and decision-making in Alberta, and how the regional plan will inform land-use decisions.
  • Strategic Plan – includes a stated vision for the future of the region along with desired regional outcomes. Builds on existing policies and initiatives by establishing a set of strategic directions that help achieve the regional vision and outcomes.
  • Implementation Plan – includes regional objectives, strategies and actions that will be undertaken to support achievement of the regional vision and outcomes and indicators to measure and evaluate progress.
  • Regulatory Details Plan – designed to make it possible to achieve the strategic direction and strategies and actions.

Up to 19 oil sands leases that are currently undeveloped will be cancelled to provide for conservation areas.  While the matter of compensation for these leases is likely to be an important issue in the coming months, there is presently a lack of clarity surrounding particulars as to what that compensation will look like. 

While there are relatively few substantial changes from the draft version of the LARP released a year ago, one significant change involves the Dillon River Conservation Area, which stretches along the eastern border of the province north of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. The final revisions call for this area to be increased by 27,000 hectares to a total of 191,500 hectares and to receive greater protection by being designated a Wildland Provincial Park.  This particular area is considered key habitat for woodland caribou.

A copy of the LARP is available at:

A copy of the LARP 2012-2022 Map can be accessed at the Government of Alberta's Land-use Framework website, located at:

Canada and China Sign Investment Treaty

On September 8, 2012, Canada and the People's Republic of China signed the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Canada-China FIPA). The specific provisions of the Canada-China FIPA will not become public until the treaty is tabled in Parliament for ratification. In general terms, however, bilateral investment treaties of this kind are reciprocal international legal agreements that states enter into to provide their national investors with protection against arbitrary or discriminatory government actions when investing abroad, while at the same time promoting their domestic market as an investment destination.

These treaties oblige host states to adhere to a certain standard of treatment with regard to counterparty foreign investors and their investments, and often set out arbitral mechanisms to resolve any disputes that arise related to such investments to ensure foreign investors receive impartial judicial treatment. The execution of the Canada-China FIPA marks the formal end of a series of negotiations that spanned an 18-year period, with efforts beginning in 1994, tapering prior to China's accession to the World Trade Organization and redoubling from 2004 onward.

Scope of Agreement

China has historically negotiated bilateral investment treaties characterized by significant limitations with regard to non-discrimination and dispute resolution. The Canada-China FIPA may reflect China's recent tack toward allowing more robust protections in its international investment treaties, as evidenced in its recent bilateral investment treaties with Germany and the Netherlands. 

It is likely that the Canada-China FIPA will include substantive investor protections by providing for:

  • non-discrimination rights, such that investors and their investments are not disadvantaged relative to investors from the counterparty or other countries;
  • a minimum standard of treatment to be accorded to investments, consistent with international law;
  • transparency in the passage of laws or decisions that have an impact on investors and their investments;
  • the ability to transfer funds arising from investments; and
  • compensation for expropriation of investments.

Additionally, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) notes that the Canada-China FIPA will grant investors access to "investor-state" dispute settlement arbitration. Dispute settlement mechanisms of this sort allow aggrieved foreign investors to seek remedies against the host country outside of national court systems, pursuant to the rules and procedures of one of the various international arbitration regimes, such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Canadian bilateral investment treaties (referred to in Canada as Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements or FIPAs) typically include robust investor-state dispute resolution provisions that feature detailed rules on standing of the investor, procedural requirements and judgment enforcement 

Strengthening Economic Ties

The signing of the Canada-China FIPA comes amid a period of intensification in Sino-Canadian investment activity. Examples of this activity include CNOOC Limited's proposed $15.1-billion acquisition of Nexen Inc. and the Bank of Nova Scotia's pending purchase of the Bank of Ghuangzhou. This milestone is also reflective of a deepening economic relationship between the countries, noted in the August 15, 2012 release of a joint Canada-China study that recommended fostering even deeper trade links. To this effect, before the end of the year, Canada and China may announce the beginning of formal negotiations to strengthen their bilateral trade relationship through a free trade agreement.

Ratification and Implementation

Now that the parties have signed the Canada-China FIPA, Canada and China will subject the treaty to their respective ratification processes. In Canada, the ratification process will involve a 21-sitting-day period, during which the Canada-China FIPA will be tabled in the House of Commons for examination and debate. The treaty will be brought into force pursuant to an Order-in-Council authorized by the Governor General, Canada's head of state. Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicated that the Canada-China FIPA will be tabled during the fall session of Parliament. We have no reason to believe that it will not be ratified and implemented by Canada.

Companies that have made or are considering investments in Canada or China would be well served to educate themselves about international investment treaty protections that the Canada-China FIPA will afford. The Canada-China FIPA will be particularly helpful to Canadian businesses looking for greater certainty and security when making investments in China.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
8 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.

22 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.

7 Dec 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.