Canada: Alberta Introduces New Energy Regulator

Last Updated: November 28 2012
Article by Paul Edwards

The Government of Alberta recently introduced Bill 2, the Responsible Energy Development Act, designed to create a single regulatory agency for the province's energy resources, including all hydrocarbons but excluding hydro power. The government has targeted June, 2013 for the new legislation to come into force.

The new agency, to be termed the "Alberta Energy Regulator," will replace the province's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), and will also exercise certain of the functions currently vested in the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.

Mandate of the New Regulator

In some respects the new regulator will look a good deal like the ERCB; however, its mandate will be broader. Respecting energy resource activities, it will have the power "to consider and decide applications and other matters under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act." The exact scope of the regulator's powers, and what is to be left in the hands of the Department, will depend on more detailed provisions, and regulations, yet to be published.

The new regulator will be responsible for the management of water "in respect of energy resource activities," and for that purpose will be given the power to decide applications under the Water Act. At present, the government is responsible for the development of water management plans, and exercises control over water licences. Details of exactly how control over water resources will be exercised once the new Act comes into force, still have to be worked out.

Constitution of the Regulator, and Relationship With the Provincial Government

Like the ERCB, the regulator is to be established as a corporation. However, unlike the ERCB its business and affairs will be managed by a board of directors, who will be appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council – in effect, the cabinet. The day-to-day operations of the regulator will be in the hands of a chief executive officer appointed by the board.

While the board will be not be an agent of the Crown, the responsible minister will have the power, when he or she considers it appropriate, to give directions to the regulator for the purposes of:

(a) providing priorities and guidelines for the regulator to follow in the carrying out of its powers, duties and functions, and
(b) ensuring the work of the regulator is consistent with the programs, policies and work of the government in respect of energy resource development, public land management, environmental management and water management.

This residual power is designed to ensure that the regulator is not acting at cross-purposes with the Alberta Government on important policy matters.

Funding of the Regulator

The regulator is not to be funded entirely out of general revenues of the province. Like the ERCB, it will be given the power to set and collect administrative fees with respect to energy facilities and projects in order to help defray the net expenditures of its operations.

Standing, Hearings and Regulatory Reviews

The proposed Act adopts a test similar to the one found in the Energy Resources Conservation Act ("person who may be directly and adversely affected") to define who should be given standing in relation to an application which comes before the regulator.

Like the ERCB, the regulator will not be required to hold a hearing in all cases. Rules and regulations that have yet to be promulgated may provide some guidance concerning the situations when a hearing will be required.

A noteworthy difference from the ERCB is that the quasi-judicial and administrative functions of the regulator will be split. Hearings will not be conducted by board members. Instead, a separate roster of hearing commissioners will be appointed by the cabinet.

The Bill gives affected persons the right to seek a "regulatory review" by the regulator of certain decisions they feel affect them. A regulatory review may or may not involve a hearing, but in all cases where such a review is conducted the regulator will be required to publish its decision or otherwise make it publicly available.


The rules relating to appeals are similar to those found in the Energy Resources Conservation Act. A decision of the regulator will be appealable to the Court of Appeal, with leave of that Court, if it involves a question of jurisdiction or a question of law.

Decisions of the regulator will be immune from judicial review.


The regulator is expressly given the authority to use alternative dispute resolution techniques when it considers it appropriate to do so, and may incorporate the terms of an agreement reached as a result of an ADR in one of its decisions.

Information-Gathering and Studies

Historically, functions that the ERCB has fulfilled very effectively are conducting studies and collecting information relating to the province's energy resources, which it makes available to the public. It is apparent that these functions will continue under the new regulator.

Inquiries and Co-operative Proceedings

The regulator will also be given the authority, similar to that which the ERCB has often exercised over the years, to hold public inquiries and to make recommendations to the government on measures relating to energy resources or the injection of substances into underground formations.

Like the ERCB, the regulator will be empowered to participate in regulatory reviews, inquiries or other types of proceedings jointly with another agency of the province or of the federal government. Joint or co-operative proceedings may be organized by the regulator on its own initiative or they may be required by the provincial government.

Surface Agreements

An interesting innovation is that the surface landowner or occupant who is a party to a private surface access agreement may complain to the regulator if he or she believes the operator is not complying with the provisions of the agreement. If the regulator finds that the operator is not complying, it may issue an order directing it to do so.

The legislative purpose is not to remove the jurisdiction of the Surface Rights Board. However, the Bill as drafted would allow a landowner to register a surface access agreement with the regulator. Presently, it is not apparent what the effect of registration will be or whether, or in what circumstances, such agreements will be open to public inspection. Depending upon the answer to these questions, which may depend upon regulations to be enacted, this registration provision could raise concerns among operators about the confidentiality of surface access agreements.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions