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.

Right of Entry
Objections to Right of Entry

1. Opportunity to object: After an application for a Right of Entry Order is filed by Board Administration, the operator must serve a copy of the application and the Schedule 2 Notice (provided by the Board when the application was filed) on the landowner and any other respondents. The Schedule 2 Notice states that the Right of Entry Order may issue 14 days from the date of service of the notice if there are no objections.

2. Landowner or occupant decides whether to object: Before a landowner or occupant decides to object, they should keep the following points in mind:     
  • If your objections are entirely related to compensation, this is not the right time to object. If you choose to not object to the application for right of entry, this does not mean that you must accept the compensation offered by the operator. The application process for a Right of Entry Order is a completely separate process from the determination of compensation for that order. If the parties cannot agree on compensation, then the Board will hold compensation proceedings after it grants a Right of Entry Order. For more information, see Determination of Compensation.  
  • Board Administration does not provide any legal advice to its stakeholders. However Board Administration would like all stakeholders to be aware of the role the Board plays in granting surface access to operators. In Mueller v Montana Alberta Tie Line (2011 ABQB 738), the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench stated that “[i]n its role concerning Right of Entry Orders it is essentially a ‘rubber stamp’. Following the issuance of a permit or license by the Energy Resources Conservation Board [now the Alberta Energy Regulator] or the AUC within which the party has authorization to seek entry onto the land, the Surface Rights Board has no alternative but to issue a Right of Entry Order.” In essence, the real access is granted at the time a license is granted by the Alberta Utilities Commission or Alberta Energy Regulator. If all technical requirements for an application for a Right of Entry Order have been met by the operator, it is unlikely that the right of entry will not be granted by the Board. See here for a summary of the Muller decision case, and see here for the full text. See also here for a summary of Windrift Ranches Ltd. v. Alberta (Alberta Surface Rights Board), [1986] A.J. No. 581.   

3. If the landowner or other respondents decide to object: If a party wishes to object to the right of entry application, they may do so in writing, including detailed reasons for the objection. The detailed reasons should address the Mueller decision. If they are appointing a personal representative, they should refer to rule 9 of the Surface Rights Board Rules and the Appointment of Personal Representative Form. Board Administration will provide all other parties an opportunity to make submissions on the objection. The application for right of entry along with any submissions will then be presented to a panel of the Board for a decision. Oral hearings are rarely held for objections to right of entry applications. 

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