Recent Developments in Surface Rights Law - Pipeline Right-of-Way Compensation - Annual Payments and Injurious Affection - Federal and Alberta Developments


  • Lars Olthafer



Energy Law, Petroleum Law


Landowners have recently advanced novel claims for right-of-way compensation in connection with both federally and provincially regulated pipelines. The compensation paid for the acquisition of pipeline rights-of-way in Canada has typically been, with some notable exceptions, in the form of one-time payments for the value of the interest in land acquired, and any injurious affection to the remaining lands of the owner. However, relying on the precedents established by a few pipeline companies and the provisions for annual or periodic compensation under the Alberta Surface Rights Act and the National Energy Board Act landowners have attempted to secure compensation awards in the form of rental payments, the present value of which is several times greater than the compensation historically payable as a lump sum. This article examines two recent court decisions — the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench decision in Zubick v. Corridor Pipeline Limited and the Federal Court of Appeal's ruling in Balisky v. Canada (Minister of Natural Resources) — as well as a group of National Energy Board Act Pipeline Arbitration Committee awards in Alberta, and discusses their impact on pipeline rights-of-way compensation.