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Alberta Water Act and Public Lands Act Approval Process & Timelines

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Resolution Category: 
Provincial Scope 16
Adopted with Amendments - Expired
Coaldale, Town of
Active Clauses: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the Government of Alberta and Alberta Environment and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development to review the policies and procedures governing Alberta Water Act and Public Lands Act applications and to include a section that outlines the expected timeframe for the review and subsequent outcome of said applications that is both reasonable and fair.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS Alberta Environment reviewing applications made under the Water Act does not have any legislated obligation or outlined expectation for timeframes governing when applications will be decided;

WHEREAS Alberta municipalities have the right to expect fair and efficient decision making by government agencies that are mandated to function on behalf and in collaboration with Alberta municipalities for the betterment and progress of this province;

WHEREAS Alberta municipalities and citizens expect that government departments conduct business in a reasonable and timely fashion; and

WHEREAS applicants under the Water Act should not be unreasonably delayed in pursuing development because of a non-decision by Alberta Environment.

Government Response: 

May 17, 2012 - Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development will remain diligent in support of the Alberta economy whilst protecting the environment.

Our current targets for Water Act timelines contingent on receiving a complete application are:

Approvals   1-2 months 
Licences 3-6 months
Amendments for approvals 2-3 weeks
Amendments for licences 1 month
Amendments for licences requiring public notice 2-3 months
Transfers 3-6 months
Codes of Practice 2 weeks

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development have been brought together as part of the effort to re-align the structure of government. Merging the responsibilities of Alberta Environment and Water with Sustainable Resource Development will help address the strategic priority. Uniting the departments is a positive step that demonstrates Alberta’s leadership when it comes to ensuring integrated, effective and responsible resource management. A single department allows us to formally align may of the partnerships we already have in place and demonstrates Alberta’s commitment to protecting our environment, while ensuring responsible resource development.

Aug 14, 2012 - Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development 

In 2011, the Public Lands Administration Regulation was introduced under the Public Lands Act, to reduce the number of processes required for disposition applications, authorizations, and approvals.

The Regulation now clearly states:

  • Acceptance or rejection of a disposition, authorization, or approval requires 30 days for completeness, a 90-day extension if warranted, and indefinite extension if approval from another regulatory body is required;
  • Rejected applications may be appealed;
  • For issuance or refusal applications the disposition timeline is 365 days after acceptance and the acceptance for authorizations and approvals is 90 days;
  • Dispositions are no longer renewed automatically and leaseholders are now required to apply for a renewal a year prior to the lease’s expiration date.

Timelines can be influenced by the status or the unique characteristics of the land, the type of activity requested, and in some cases, weather.  As a result, some timelines may vary depending on whether the activities are industrial, agricultural or geophysical.

AUMA Notes: 

AUMA accepts this response.

AUMA Comments: 
Accepts government response