Surface rights – Damages

Process for resolving disputes for off-site damage to land, livestock or personal property, or for time or expenses recovering livestock.


Section 30 of the Surface Rights Act allows the Tribunal to hold proceedings and make an order with respect to a dispute between the operator and an owner or occupant who are parties to a surface lease or a right of entry order.

The Tribunal may award compensation for off-site damage to land, for loss or damage to livestock or other personal property, or for time spent or expense incurred recovering the owner or occupant’s livestock that have strayed due to an act or omission of the operator. 'Off-site' means off the area granted for the operator to use under a surface lease or right of entry order.

The Tribunal is limited to awards of $50,000. Applications must be made in writing to the Tribunal by a party to the dispute within 2 years from the last date upon which the alleged damage is to have occurred.

Download the Guide to Settlement of Damage Disputes.

How to apply

Step 1. Attempt to reach an agreement

Often owners (or occupants) and operators are able to reach an agreement to compensate for damages without ever coming to the Tribunal.

Step 2. Submit application for damages or losses

If parties do not settle the matter, either party may submit a Request for Loss or Damages form in writing within 2 years from the last date on which the alleged damage occurred.

The application form must include:

  • details of the claim, including reasons for the claim and the amount claimed

Documents to include with the application form include:

  1. A copy of the original document giving right of entry. This will either be a surface lease agreement (includes right of ways or easements) between the parties or a right of entry order issued by the Tribunal or its predecessor, the Surface Rights Board.
  2. Any amendments made to the surface lease or right of entry order.
  3. A site plan – usually attached to the surface lease or right of entry order.
  4. Copies of any relevant correspondence between the parties regarding the land or the damages.
  5. Any other documents relevant to the damage dispute.

A Tribunal administrator reviews the application and may request further documentation or information.  The Tribunal administrator may refuse or suspend processing of the application if it is incomplete or does not comply with the requirements of the Surface Rights Act or Surface Rights Rules.

Step 3. Dispute Resolution Conference and mediation

Once an application is filed, Tribunal administration will schedule a telephone pre-hearing Dispute Resolution Conference (DRC). At the DRC, the assigned Tribunal facilitator may discuss with the parties:

  • identification and simplification of issues
  • agreed upon facts
  • whether issues can be settled
  • disclosure of documents
  • exchange of information
  • hearing dates, if required

Mediation is encouraged, and may be organized and facilitated by the Tribunal if both parties agree to it.

For more information, see Dispute Resolution Conference and Mediation for surface rights.

Step 4. Hearing

A hearing may proceed if the issues cannot be resolved through prior proceedings. The Tribunal has discretion to award reasonable costs incurred in relation to the Tribunal proceedings.

See Oral hearings for surface rights disputes for more information.

Appointment of personal representative

An Appointment of Personal Representative form must be completed and submitted to the Tribunal if you decide to appoint a personal representative other than a lawyer or licensed land agent to assist you and you did not authorize them on the Request for Loss or Damages form.


Connect with the Land and Property Rights Tribunal:

Hours: 8:15 am – 4:30 pm (closed 12 pm to 1 pm)
Phone: 780-427-2444
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-427-0986
Email: [email protected]

Land and Property Rights Tribunal
2nd Floor, Summerside Business Centre
1229 91 Street SW
Edmonton, Alberta  T6X 1E9