18 Provincial Regulators and Tribunals

As defined in the Canadian constitution, each province has a defined set of responsibilities.  These authorities include resources, private property, and health care and education (Parliament of Canada, n.d.).  Resources can mean the fish wildlife, soils, water, minerals, oil and gas, waste, and air in the province.  So, by extension the provinces can regulate environmental issues.

It is well beyond our scope to discuss all the regulators and tribunals in every province and territory.  There are so many.  So we will take Alberta and examine some interesting ones there. These are presented in no particular order and is far from being complete.


Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) – Defunct

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) regulated provincial environmental issues.  Their purpose was stated as “works to protect and enhance Alberta’s environment and ecosystems to ensure a sustainable future, making life better for Albertans” (Alberta, 2022).

The AEP created regulations under the auspices of the Environmental Enhancement and Protection Act (EPEA).  Regulations include Codes on Continuous Emissions Monitoring and Stack Sampling Code (Alberta, n.d.).

A government entity called Alberta parks has been engaged in park management since 1932 (Dixon, 2021)..  During that period, parks has been a distinct government ministry and sometimes it has been part of another ministry like Alberta Environment and Parks.  AEP itself was called Environment, Sustainable Resource and Development (ERSD) in the past, but still included Alberta parks (Dixon, 2021).  With a change in political leadership in 2022, the AEP became the Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (Dryden, 2022).  Parks was shed from the portfolio.

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (AEPA)

In 2022 the AEP was reorganized and parks changed ministries. They officially became Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas and the Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism (Dryden, 2022).  Government leaders indicated at the time they thought forestry is a precursor to parks and forestry trunk roads were part of recreation so they should be grouped together (Dryden, 2022).

Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB)

The Natural Resources Conservations Board (NRCB) is responsible for reviews of natural resource projects in Alberta.  They have a motto of “balanced decision making in the public interest” (NRCB, 2023). They review projects based on Albert’s Environment Protection and Enhancement Act.  The NRCB are also the regulator for confined feed operations.

The NRCB is authorized under the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act RSA 2000, c N-3.  The feedlot authorization responsibility was added in 2022 under the Agricultural Operations Act, (NRCB, n.d.).

Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has a long history of regulating Alberta resources dating back to 1938.  It is currently funded 100% by industry fees. The AER is a life cycle regulator that covers oil and gas and coal production in Alberta from initial design to final reclamation and closure.  See also the chapter on Oil and gas regulators.

The current version of the energy regulator was created in 2003 by the Responsible Energy Development Act, SA 2012, c R-17.3.  The AER has been previously known as Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board, Oil and Gas Conservation Board, Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), and Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AER, 2022).

Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) is a quasi-judical arms length regulatory agency board that considers utilities in Alberta.  The AUC has been in operation since 1915.  The AUC regulates gas utilities and other utilities that deliver retail gas, electricity and water utilities.  It is also concerned with wind powered electricity and solar produced electricity (AUC, n.d.)

The AUC is authorized ink its current responsibilities since 2008 by the Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2.

Alberta Land and Property Rights Tribunal (ALPRT)

The Alberta Land and Property Rights Tribunal (ALPRT) is also a quasi-judicial board, formerly know as the surface rights board.  It’s purpose is to “makes decisions about land planning, development, right of entry, compensation and assessment matters”.  (Alberta Land and Property Rights Tribunal, n.d.)

The ALPRT is authorized by the Alberta Land and Property Rights Tribunal Act, SA 2020, c L-2.3.  The current form of the tribunal came in to existence in 2021.

Section Conclusion

This section presents a sampling of regulators and tribunals based solely in Alberta.  Most provinces and territories have similar regulators and tribunals.  Regulators and tribunals have a significant role in enforcement and development of the details of the regulations so they are important bodies to be familiar with.  They are unelected and so cannot set the acts.  Acts must be set by the elected legislative body in the province or territory.

Tribunals generally have an act that authorizes their existence and authorities.

Learning Questions

  • Pick a province other than Alberta and look for the that provinces equivalent agency to the AEP.
  • Pick a tribunal from another province and find its authorization act


Alberta Energy Regulator. (2022). Who we are. Retrieved from https://www.aer.ca/providing-information/about-the-aer/who-we-are

Alberta Land and Property Rights Tribunal (n.d.) Home page. Accessed on June 2, 2022 https://www.alberta.ca/land-and-property-rights-tribunal.aspx

Alberta Utilities Commission. (n.d.) Home page. retrieved from https://www.auc.ab.ca/

Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2

Agricultural Operations Practice Act, RSA 2000, c A-7

Dixon T. (2021). 50 years of Alberta Environment and Parks. Calgary Guardian. Retrieved from https://calgaryguardian.com/50-years-of-aep/

Dryden J. (2022). New Alberta ministry merging parks with forestry raises red flags for environmental groups.  CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-environment-parks-cpaws-danielle-smith-todd-loewen-1.6629985

Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c E-12

Land and Property Rights Tribunal. (2022). Home page. Retrieved from https://www.alberta.ca/land-and-property-rights-tribunal.aspx

Land and Property Rights Tribunal Act, SA 2020, c L-2.3.

Natural Resources Conservation Board Act, RSA 2000, c N-3

NRCB. (2023). Home page. Retrieved from https://www.nrcb.ca/

NRCB (n.d.). Mandate and Governance. Retrieved from https://www.nrcb.ca/about/mandate-and-governance

Government of Alberta (Alberta). (2022). Environment and parks home page. Retrieved from https://www.alberta.ca/environment-and-parks.aspx

Responsible Energy Development Act, SA 2012, c R-17.3

Parliament of Canada (n.d.) Our country, our parliament. Retrieved from https://lop.parl.ca/About/Parliament/Education/ourcountryourparliament/html_booklet/three-levels-government-e.html#:~:text=In%20each%20of%20the%2010,responsibility%20with%20the%20federal%20government.



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