Guidelines for peat operations

Peat operations in Alberta are governed by a variety of acts and regulations that provide guidelines for conservation and reclamation.


North America, Europe and Asia have engaged in peat extraction for several centuries.

In Canada, peat is extracted primarily for horticultural purposes. Peatlands provide ecological goods and services such as:

  • water storage
  • carbon storage
  • water filtration
  • wildlife habitat

In Alberta, peat operations are defined in the Conservation and Reclamation Regulation. This is part of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA). A peat operation is any opening or excavation in the ground’s surface or subsurface used to do the following with peat or peaty substance:

  • working
  • recovering
  • opening up
  • proving

This definition of peat operations includes any associated infrastructure.

Peat operations in Alberta are regulated by the EPEA, Water Act and Public Lands Act. Associated regulations also play a role.


The requirements for Conservation and Reclamation Plans for peat operations on private and public land can be found at: Requirements for Conservation and Reclamation Plans for Peat Operations in Alberta.

Applying for a peat operation

Certain approvals are required before commencing peat operations.

Water Act approval

All peat operations require a Water Act approval.

For more information, see the Water Act Approval Factsheet.

Public lands approval

A public lands surface-material lease application is also required for peat operations.

For more information, see: Peat.