Preliminary and Final Decisions

Blane and Maryann Meek v. Oil and Gas Commission

Decision Date:
March 15, 2021
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Primavera Resources Corp.

Decision Summary

Decision Date: March 15, 2021

Panel: David Bird

Keywords: Administrative Tribunals Act – ss. 31(1)(a); oil and gas well; permit; summary dismissal; jurisdiction; mootness; Borowski v. Canada (Attorney General), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 342

Blane and Maryann Meek (the “Appellants”) appealed a permit issued by the Oil and Gas Commission (“Commission”) to Primavera Resources Corp (the “Company”).  The permit authorized the Company to extend an existing well pad and construct, drill, complete, and flare an oil and gas well (the “Well”). The well pad is located on the Appellants’ land, west of Fort St. John, BC, and approximately 150 metres from the Appellants’ home.

As part of their appeal, the Appellants asked the Tribunal to grant a stay of the permit pending a decision on the merits of the appeal. On June 5, 2019, the Tribunal granted the Appellants’ application for a stay (Decision No. 2019-OGA-002(a)).

The Company did not initiate any work under the permit. On September 25, 2020, the Company asked the Commission to cancel the permit. The Commission did so on September 29, 2020.

After the permit had been cancelled, the Tribunal requested submissions from the parties regarding whether the appeal ought to be summarily dismissed because the appeal was no longer within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. The Tribunal also considered the common law test for mootness set out in Borowski v. Canada (Attorney General), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 342 [Borowski].

The Tribunal acknowledged that the Appellants believed there was still a live controversy despite the cancellation of the permit, because oil and gas activities continued at the existing well pad on their property, and they believed those activities posed a risk to their property. However, the Tribunal noted that those activities were allowed under a historic authorization that was issued many years before the permit and that had not appealed. The Tribunal found that it had no legal authority to consider issues related to activities that were allowed under the historic authorization.

The Tribunal found that once the permit was cancelled, there was no longer a live controversy within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, and there was no longer any remedy available to the Tribunal that could affect the parties’ legal rights. Moreover, the cancellation of the permit, in effect, granted the remedy that the Appellants had sought regarding the oil and gas activities that it authorized. Accordingly, the Tribunal held that the appeal should be summarily dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction, pursuant to section 31(1)(a) of the Administrative Tribunals Act. The Tribunal also found that the appeal met the common law test set out in Borowski for “mootness” due to the permit’s cancellation.

Accordingly, the Tribunal summarily dismissed the appeal.