Table of contents

Responsible Actions

Responsible Actions: A Plan for Alberta's Oil Sands outlined an integrated approach to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges as well as opportunities in the oil sands regions. Released in 2009, the plan set a 20-year vision to make Alberta a global leader in the innovative, responsible, and collaborative development of oil sands. It was the basis to develop the Comprehensive Regional Infrastructure Sustainability Plans (CRISP).

CRISP plans

The CRISP for Alberta’s three oil sands regions were a primary focus for the Secretariat.

CRISP stands for:

  • Comprehensive (how communities can accommodate growth, and cover infrastructure needs including water and wastewater treatment, transportation, schools, health facilities, and multi-use corridors)
  • Regional (planning across municipal boundaries, and in collaboration with key stakeholders)
  • Infrastructure (resources to facilitate the development of the oil sands, and attract and retain workers in communities)
  • Sustainability (ensuring resources are manageable
  • Plan (the steps to guide infrastructure development and keep pace with growth in the area)

Urban Development Sub-Region

The Urban Development Sub-Region (UDSR) was announced in 2013 where the Government of Alberta released more than 55,000 acres of Crown Land for urban expansion in Fort McMurray; a Background document explains the objectives.

The Province's UDSR policy is outlined in Information Letter 2013-27 (PDF, 228 KB). Leases in the UDSR not compatible with urban development, which includes all oil sands leases and incompatible surface dispositions, will be cancelled. Lessees will be compensated in accordance with existing legislation. The Government of Alberta sought input on the UDSR boundary from local First Nations and stakeholders, including industry and the general public.

Alberta Energy's decision to compensate and cancel UDSR Crown oil sands mineral rights agreements under the Mineral Rights Compensation Regulation was made by the Minister of Energy.

UDSR Public engagement sessions

The Fort McMurray UDSR represented the Province’s plan to accommodate Fort McMurray’s urban growth over the long term. The following topics were discussed in sessions:

  • The UDSR will make Crown land available for sale to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). Land sales will occur in stages over time, and will be based on the planned urban growth needs of the municipality. Land will be sold at fair value, based on the current use of the land. Land not purchased by the RMWB will remain Crown land.
  • Holders of Crown oil sands agreements, and associated surface dispositions (various types of authorizations relating to surface access and use of public lands) cancelled as a result of the UDSR were eligible for compensation in accordance with the Mineral Rights Compensation Regulation and the Public Lands Act , respectively.
  • The designation of the UDSR did not result in an automatic change to the Urban Service Area (USA) boundary. Changes to the USA boundary required a formal request from the RMWB to Alberta Municipal Affairs followed by Cabinet approval.
  • Transportation infrastructure was a key issue in the UDSR. Transportation needs and other priorities will be determined in coordination with RMWB planning priorities and future UDSR land sales.


Responsible Actions updates can be found at Progress Reports 2009- 2015. There was also an Implementation plan.

Two stakeholder consultation reports formed the basis for Responsible Actions i.e. the Oil Sands Consultations: Multi-stakeholder Committee final report and the Oil Sands Consultations: Aboriginal consultation final report.

Was this page helpful?

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

You will not receive a reply. Do not enter any personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, or emails.

Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on If you require a response, please go to our Contact page.