The Surface Rights Act has been amended to update section 30 by increasing the maximum amount of compensation claimed per damage to $50,000.
Section 30 of the Surface Rights Act allows the Board 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 are under a Right of Entry Order.
The Board may award compensation for offsite damages, 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.
The Board is limited to awards of $50,000.00. Applications must be made in writing to the Board by a party to the dispute within 2 years from the last date upon which the alleged damage is to have occurred.
Download: Guide to Settlement of Damage Disputes
How to apply
Step 1. Attempt to reach an agreement with the operator
Often landowners and operators are able to reach an agreement to compensate for damages without ever coming to the Board.
Step 2. Submit application for damages or losses
If an agreement could not be reached, either party may submit a Request for losses or damages (PDF, 2.7 MB) form in writing within 2 years from the last date on which damage is alleged to have occurred.
The application should include:
- a copy of the original Surface Lease or Right of Entry Order and amendments, including the plan of the site
- details of the claim, including reasons for the claim and the amount claimed
- any other relevant documents
Along with the form, you must also include:
- A copy of the original document giving right of entry. This will either be a surface lease agreement between the parties or a Right of Entry Order from the Board.
- Any amendments made to that document.
- A plan of the site. This is usually attached to the surface lease agreement or Right of Entry Order.
- Copies of any relevant correspondence between the parties regarding the land or the damages.
- A completed Appointment of Personal Representative form, if required.
See Form help for detailed instructions on how to fill out each section of the application.
Step 3. Dispute Resolution Conference and mediation
After receiving an application, Board Administration will often schedule a telephone Pre-Hearing Dispute Resolution Conference (DRC). At the DRC, the assigned Board Member may discuss with the Parties:
- identification and simplification of issues
- which facts can be agreed upon
- whether issues can be settled
- exchange of information
- hearing dates, if required
Step 4. Hearing
Board Administration may schedule a hearing if the issues cannot be resolved through prior proceedings. The Board may, at its discretion, award reasonable costs incurred in relation to the Board proceedings.
For Oral hearings for surface rights disputes for more information.
Step 5. Appealing to the court
Most matters are closed when the Board makes its decision. However, the operator and the owner both have the option of appealing to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.
See Surface rights disputes – Appeals for more information.
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Appointment of legal counsel
If you would like to appoint a personal representative to assist you in the application/hearing process the Appointment of Personal Representative (PDF, 1.5 MB) form should be completed and returned to the Board.
Section 1: Applicant information
- State the name, current mailing address and contact information of the applicant (the person who is asking for compensation).
- Section 1(a) (if applicable): Give the name, current mailing address, contact information, and preferred method of contact for the person acting on behalf of the person making the application. If the representative is not a lawyer or licensed land agent, they may only represent the applicant after the applicant completes the Appointment of Personal Representative form (PDF, 1.5 MB).
- Section 1(b) (if applicable): If the person making the application is not the landowner, give the landowner’s current name, current mailing address, and contact information to the best of your knowledge.
Section 2: Operator (if applicable)
- If the application is not being made by the operator, include the operator’s name, current mailing address, and contact information to the best of your knowledge.
- If you believe that the operator has changed since the order was last amended (for example, the corporation running the site was bought by another corporation), give the contact information for the operator as it appears on the last order, and include the new corporation in Section 3 of the form. You may also want to inform the operator that they should apply to have the order amended to reflect the change.
Section 3: Other parties (if applicable)
- Give the name, current mailing address, and phone number of any other parties who could reasonably be expected to have an interest in this matter.
- Other parties may include anyone with a caveat on the land, renters and other occupants of the land, new names of the operator corporation, and neighbours that have a legal interest in the lease.
- If more space is needed, give the information for additional parties on a separate page.
Section 4: Lands
- Legal land description: State the legal land description from the Board Order in the form of Quarter‐Section‐Township‐Range‐ If there is a Legal Subdivision (L.S.) example: SW 1/4 – 32‐52‐24‐W4M (L.S. 6).
- Certificate of title No: Give the certificate of title number that appears on the land title for the land example: No 123 456 789 +1.
Date of damage
- Select whether the damage occurred within the last two years and give the date. Please be as specific as possible. If the damage was continuous, give the last date that the damage occurred. If the damage is ongoing, identify the first date the damage occurred and advise that it is ongoing.
- Subsection 30(2) of the Surface Rights Act requires that an applicant make a claim to the Board within 2 years from the last date that the alleged damage occurred.
Description of damages
- This section asks you to describe the details of the incident(s) in which the damage occurred and tell the Board how much you claim for each of them. There are 3 categories into which the damage might fall into. These categories are described in subsection 30(1) of the Surface Rights Act. You may claim in one, 2, or all 3 categories on one form.
- Please list all incidents of damage in the proper categories. You need only give a brief description of the damage for now; you will have time to explain what happened in more detail later.
- Give the total amount claimed for each category, and the grand total claimed. It is important to note that the Board is limited in the amount of compensation that it may award. Clause 30(2)(c) of the Surface Rights Act states that if the damages being claimed are over the $50,000.00 limit, then the party must make an application to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench instead of the Board. The applicant may want to seek legal advice in order to evaluate the damages and to decide whether to apply to the Board or to the courts.