The Surface Rights Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that grants right of entry and assists landowners/occupants and operators resolve disputes about compensation when operators require access to private land or occupied crown land to develop subsurface resources such as oil, gas, and coal or to build and operate pipelines and power transmission lines.

Dispute Resolution Conference
 
Overview of Process
 
Minimize 1. Board schedules the pre-hearing dispute resolution conference (“DRC”) and invites parties to attend

The Board may schedule a DRC whenever an application is contested. It will also schedule one automatically after issuing a Right of Entry Order to discuss compensation. 

All parties to the application are invited to attend, but unlike hearings, they are not open to the general public. All parties with authority to resolve outstanding matters should attend.

Minimize 2. Parties prepare for an in person the pre-hearing dispute resolution conference

The parties should bring any information and documents to the DRC that they think will be helpful to support their position on any issues in dispute. Documents exchanged are confidential. Parties should also bring their long-term datebooks so that a hearing date can be set, if necessary.

Lawyers may not be required, but parties may invite them if they wish

Minimize 3. At the pre-hearing dispute resolution conference

DRCs are typically held through a teleconference, though if requested by the parties they may be held in person. A Board Member / Settlement Officer will guide the discussion and give the parties an informal setting to explore the likelihood of a resolution. If necessary, the Board Member / Settlement Officer will seek to set a hearing date, date for disclosure, and ascertain any facts that are not in dispute. The Board Member / Settlement Officer may also direct the parties to mediation if they feel it may resolve the dispute. The parties may decide to discuss costs at a DRC, but if they fail to reach an agreement about costs, the issue may be addressed at a hearing.

Minimize 4. Outcome of the DRC
There are many potential outcomes from a DRC. If the parties reach an agreement, they may enter into private agreements or request a Board Order (see Settlement Agreement). If the parties do not come to a resolution, the matter will likely proceed to either another DRC, mediation if both parties agree, or a hearing.
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