Canada: Alberta Introduces Land Use Legislation

The Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) was proclaimed on September 1, 2009. The ALSA is part of the Land-Use Framework (LUF), the Government of Alberta's initiative to transform Alberta's approach to land-use planning.

The land-use framework

The LUF was finalized in December 2008 after two years of consultation with representatives of the public, municipalities, Aboriginal peoples, industry and environmental groups. Directed at managing growth in a way that balances economic, social and environmental interests in public and private lands, the LUF provides a blueprint for land-use management and decision-making within Alberta. Specifically, the LUF incorporates seven strategies to improve land-use decision-making:

  1. development of seven regional land-use plans based on new integrated planning regions that are congruent with Alberta's major watersheds;
  2. creation of a Land-Use Secretariat to support the implementation of the LUF and creation of Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) for each land-use region;
  3. use of cumulative effects management on a regional basis to manage the impacts of development on land, water and air;
  4. development of policy instruments to encourage stewardship and conservation of public goods;
  5. promotion of efficient use of land;
  6. establishment of an information and monitoring system to ensure that the outcomes of the LUF are being met; and
  7. inclusion of Aboriginal peoples in land-use planning.

Regional plans

The Alberta Government is developing, with input from the public, stakeholders and Aboriginal communities and advice from the RACs, seven regional land-use plans covering all of Alberta. The regional plans will be the key documents in terms of future planning for each of the seven regions. When the regional plans are made effective, all decisions involving land-use (including all project development decisions) must be consistent with the provincial policies and directions set out in the regional plans. The ALSA provides that the regional plans will be binding on all persons in Alberta, including the Crown, municipal governments and decision-making boards. While regional plans will be enforced, for the most part, by existing mechanisms, the regional plans may contain penalty and enforcement provisions in order to ensure compliance with their terms.

The Government of Alberta has indicated that regional plans will contain a regional profile, the policy context for the plan, a regional vision statement, objectives and goals, strategies, actions and approaches, and monitoring and reporting. Regional plans are intended to paint a picture of how a region should look over several decades as well as desired outcomes for the region, with a planning horizon of up to 50 years. Regional plans will be designed to be effective for a five to 10 year period, after which they will be reviewed and updated as needed to address the realities of the day.

The newly established Land Use Secretariat is charged with leading the development of the regional plans, monitoring and reporting on the planning process for the plans and will also be involved in the development of all regulations associated with the plans under the ALSA.

Conservation tools

The ALSA also provides for a number of conservation and stewardship tools:

  • Conservation Easements - easements that can be registered on title and voluntarily granted by a registered landowner to qualified organizations in order to protect land for some environmental or agricultural purpose.
  • Conservation Directives - may be implemented by Cabinet in regional plans for the purpose of protecting some environmental or natural aspect of land. Upon doing so, Cabinet is required to provide the registered landowner with notice of the conservation directive and the landowner can seek compensation from the Government of Alberta.
  • Stewardship Units - an environmental offset market for stewardship units may be implemented, which could involve marketable, bankable credits representing an environmentally positive action.
  • Conservation Offset Programs - regulations under the ALSA may be implemented that would require project developers to counterbalance the environmental impacts of their activities by taking environmentally protective steps (such as purchasing stewardship units or arranging for the establishment of conservation easements on other lands).
  • Transfer Development Credit Schemes - may be implemented in order to direct development away from ecological areas.

The impact of the ALSA

To support and ensure compliance with the regional plans, consequential amendments were made to more than 25 pieces of legislation as a result of the ALSA. Examples of amended provincial legislation that may be of particular interest to industry include the Municipal Government Act, the Public Lands Act, the Energy Resources and Conservation Act, the Mines and Minerals Act and the Water Act.

The regional plans may expressly affect, amend or extinguish statutory consents or the terms or conditions of any statutory consent. Statutory consents under the ALSA include permits, licenses, registrations, approvals, authorizations, dispositions, certificates, allocations, agreements or instruments issued under or authorized by an enactment or regulatory instrument. To the extent that a regional plan under the ALSA affects any holders of statutory consents, those holders will be given reasonable notice and an opportunity to propose alternate means of achieving or maintaining the goals or objectives of the regional plan without altering the statutory consent in question.

Next steps

The Alberta government intends to have all seven regional plans completed by the end of 2012. At present, RACs have been established for the South Saskatchewan and the Lower Athabasca regions and have begun the process of developing their recommendations regarding those regional plans, including public consultations. The Government intends to have those regional plans developed by 2010. The Lower Athabasca region includes the Athabasca and Cold Lake oil sands areas, while the South Saskatchewan region includes Calgary and much of southern Alberta. The Government has also released Terms of Reference for the Lower Athabasca Region, in which the Government has provided the Lower Athabasca RAC with some policy guidance in terms of its recommendations for that region.

The Land Use Secretariat has begun work on applicable regulations for the ALSA, including a regulation which will govern the public consultation process for development of the regional plans.

Given the significant potential impacts of regional plans, industry stakeholders may wish to become involved in the consultation processes for the regional plans in their regions and the regulatory framework in relation to those plans.

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.

In association with
Related Topics
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