Preliminary and Final Decisions

Loiselle Investments Ltd. v. Oil and Gas Commission

Decision Date:
October 21, 2011
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Encana Corporation, Third Party

Decision Summary

Decision Date:  October 21, 2011

Panel:  David Searle, CM, Q.C.

Keywords: Oil and Gas Activities Act – ss. 25(5), 72(7); Administrative Tribunals Act – s. 24(2); preliminary application; extension of time; special circumstances; notice

Loiselle Investments Ltd. (the “Applicant”) applied for an extension of time to file an appeal against a permit issued by the Oil and Gas Commission (the “Commission”).  The permit authorized Encana Corporation (“Encana”) to construct and operate a pipeline on an area that includes the Applicant’s land.  The appeal was filed on August 31, 2011, approximately 12 days after the expiry of the 15-day appeal period applicable to landowners under section 72(7) of the Oil and Gas Activities Act.  Under section 24(2) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, the Tribunal has the authority to extend the time to file an appeal, even if the time limit has expired, if satisfied that special circumstances exist.

The Applicant submitted that it did not receive notice of the permit in a timely manner.  It also submitted that its president/manager, who is solely responsible for the Applicant’s business dealings and management decisions, was out of town at the material time, was on leave due to health issues, and there was no one else to file an appeal on the Applicant’s behalf.

The Commission took no position on the application, but provided submissions on the notification procedures set out in the legislation.  The Commission acknowledged that its letter notifying the Applicant about the permit failed to include information about the Applicant’s right to appeal, contrary to section 25(5)(b) of the Oil and Gas Activities Act.  The Commission notified the Applicant of its right to appeal on August 22, 2011, after the appeal period had expired.

Encana opposed the application.  It submitted that there were no special circumstances that warranted an extension of time, and there was no evidence that the Applicant’s president/manager was incapacitated by health issues.

The Tribunal found that the Commission’s notice to the Applicant was sent by regular mail, which was not the most expeditious manner.  Given the short appeal period for landowners, the Commission should ensure that landowners are notified in the most expeditious manner.  Moreover, the notice did not contain information about the Applicant’s right to appeal.  In addition, the notice did not contain a copy of the permit, and although that was not legally required, the permit contains information that is relevant to a landowner’s decision whether to file an appeal.  These facts, in addition to the health issues of the Applicant’s president/manager, constituted “special circumstances” that justified an extension of time to file the appeal.

Accordingly, the application for an extension of time was granted.