The Surface Rights Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that grants right of entry and assists landowners/occupants and operators resolve disputes about compensation when operators require access to private land or occupied crown land to develop subsurface resources such as oil, gas, and coal or to build and operate pipelines and power transmission lines.

Recovery of Rentals
New Applications

If money is past due under a surface lease agreement or Board Order, you may apply to recover the money under section 36 of the Surface Rights Act. You will have to file a separate application for each surface lease agreement (or each Board Order).

If this is your first time applying to the Surface Rights Board for recovery of rentals for this site, follow the instructions below. If the operator has missed payments before, you might be able to use our streamlined process for repeat applications .

Most recovery of rentals applications are handled in writing instead of holding an oral hearing. This means that a member of the Board will base their decision on the documents and arguments filed by both parties, along with searches done by Board administration. It is your responsibility to make sure the Board has everything you want it to consider.

The Board member reviewing your application will usually look for evidence and arguments about:

  1. the amount of money due (see Part 5 of the application form);
  2. whether the money has been paid (usually done by a statutory declaration, which will be sent to you after you file your application); and
  3. whether the Board should direct the Minister to pay, and if so, what amount. As part of this last question, the Board may ask you questions about the condition of the leased area and what losses you are suffering because of it.

In addition to the application form, you may also provide the Board with submissions (written arguments) to explain unusual circumstances to the Board member.

To avoid unnecessary delay, it is important that you complete your application fully and correctly. If there are mistakes in your application, Board administration might have to return it to you (rule 15 of the Surface Rights Board Rules).


Filling out the application form

Find a copy of the application form on our forms page under “Recovery of Rental”.

Minimize Part 1(a): Additional Parties Entitled to Compensation

If there is more than one person entitled to receive a share of the compensation, provide each of their names and contact information. In most cases, this includes every person named on the land title, but sometimes the rentals have been assigned to another person.

Minimize Part 1: Applicant

Write the name, mailing address, and other contact information of the person who is entitled to the compensation.
If more than one person is entitled to a portion of the compensation, name one of them here and write the others’ names in Part 1(a).
If you are applying on behalf of a corporation, the person applying should be someone who is aware of the corporation’s finances and can swear that the money was not paid.
Including your email address may help expedite the process.

Minimize Part 1(b): Applicant’s Representative

If you have appointed a personal representative to act on your behalf, provide their name and contact information. If the representative is not a licensed land agent or lawyer, include the Appointment of Personal Representative Form with your application; you can find it on our forms page under “General Forms”.

Minimize Part 2: Operator Responsible for Annual Payments
Write the name of the Operator who is responsible for making annual payments, to the best of your knowledge. If you know about additional Operators involved with this site, please name them as well.
Minimize Part 3: Location and Lease Information
  1. Land location: Write the legal land description for the quarter or lot that the site is in. Include the surface legal subdivision (L.S.) that the site is in, if available.
  2. The lease is for a: Indicate what the leased area is being used for, if known.
  3. Date of original agreement: Write the date of the original surface lease agreement, consent of occupant agreement, or Board Order.
  4. Current Compensation Rate: Write the amount of compensation the Operator is required to pay annually.
  5. Condition of Land: Check “yes” if there is something preventing you from using the leased area. This might include any of the following:
    1. the leased area is fenced from the rest of your land; 
    2. the well or other infrastructure is still in place; 
    3. the operator is using the leased area for storage or dumping; 
    4. workers are on the site doing reclamation;
    5. the equipment and fencing are gone but the condition of the soil is so poor that you cannot realistically try to farm over it.

If you checked “yes”, your answer in the following box can be brief. But If you checked “no”, it is important that you give a full answer.

Use the box to describe the condition of the leased area and how you are using it. For example, are you farming over the leased area? Are you renting out the land? Are crops as successful in the leased area? Are you using the access road for another purpose? Are workers regularly visiting the site? What losses are you suffering because of the existence of the lease? Are there any other facts about the land you want the Board to know?

If you wish, you may take this opportunity to provide any other arguments about whether payment of the full rental amount is still justified.

Feel free to use your own words, and attach a separate page if you run out of space. You may include supporting documents if you wish.

The Board asks because it must decide whether to direct the Minister to pay the full amount claimed, a lesser amount, or to not direct any payment. The Board may choose to direct the Minister to pay a reduced amount if payment of the full rentals would over-compensate the landowner. If you are able to make some use of the land, the Board may reduce the amount it directs the Minister to pay. The Board determines which factors are relevant when making this decision. Each case will have different relevant facts to weigh in determining whether the landowner is entitled to payment by the province.

Minimize Part 4: Payment Information
Give the due dates of each year that was unpaid and the amount due for each year. For annual rentals, the due date is usually on the anniversary of the agreement. If you are applying to recover unpaid money for something other than annual rentals, please explain in the comments section.
Minimize Part 5: Supporting Documentation
You must include evidence of the amount of money owed. In most cases, this is done by providing a copy of one of the following: 
  1. the surface lease agreement between the operator and landowner;
  2. the consent of occupant agreement between the operator and occupant;
  3. the most recent amendment to the agreement;
  4. he Compensation Order issued by a government board;
  5. the last cheque stub received from the Operator, but only if the cheque stub states which site was being paid for and how much of the payment was for annual rent; or
  6. a letter from the operator that clearly states the amount due for the site.
Agreements should have an attached survey plan (map) of the site. Please include this.
If you are unsure whether your documents are enough, contact Board administration and request to speak with someone in the “recovery of rentals” unit. You may also submit your application with the documents you do have along with an explanation.
Minimize Part 6: Statutory Declaration

A statutory declaration is an important legal document. A statutory declaration is a written statement of fact that you declare to be true before a Commissioner for Oaths. In this part of your application, you are declaring that an agreement or order exists and you have not been paid compensation owed under the agreement or order.

Step 1: Identify who you are by selecting one of the three boxes in #2.

Step 2: Fill in the year(s) you are seeking to recover compensation for in #3.

Step 3: Fill in the total dollar amount of compensation owing in #4.

Step 4: Sign the declaration in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths (or Notary Public if outside Alberta).

  • Everyone entitled to receive a portion of the money must personally sign the statutory declaration portion of the application in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths. You may print multiple copies of the application and have each person sign their copy in their own time. However, the Board will not process your application until all statutory declarations are received. This means that all parties entitled to compensation listed in Part 1, Part 1(a), and Part 1(b) of your application must sign a copy of the application in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths before your application will be complete.

What happens next?

After receiving the required documentation, Board administration will give the Operator notice of the application. The operator will then have an opportunity to comment on your application. After this, the application will be put before a panel of the Board.

The Board usually makes a decision based on the written documents before it. However, it can also choose to ask for more information or to hold an oral hearing about the claim. If the Board does not have enough evidence to make a decision, the application may be dismissed.

If the panel is satisfied that all legal requirements have been met, the Board may issue a decision demanding full payment from the operator. The Board might instead demand that a lower amount be paid if it decides that payment of the full rentals would over-compensate the landowner.

If the operator still does not pay, its right to enter the site may be suspended after 15 days, and may be terminated 15 days after that. The exact dates of suspension and termination will be given in the decision. If the operator’s rights have been terminated and full payment still has not been made, the Board may direct the Minister to pay you out of the Government of Alberta’s General Revenue Fund. Usually, the Board directs the Minister to pay the full amount owing, but the Board has authority to direct the Minister to pay a lower amount.

The amount paid by the Minister and any expenses incurred in collecting the debt becomes a debt owed by the operator to the Crown in accordance with section 36(9)(a) of the Act. An operator wanting to repay this debt should contact Crown Debt Collections at 780-644-1704.

If the operator continues to miss payments, you may apply to the Surface Rights Board again for each year of rentals. After the first year, you might be able to use our streamlined process. Click here for instructions about how to make a repeat application for recovery of rentals.

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