In a prior blog posting (February 27, 2015), we alerted industry participants to new application requirements set out in the Joint Operating Procedures for First Nations Consultation on Energy Resource Activities (Joint Operating Procedures), which were scheduled to come into force March 2, 2015. These requirements include the completion and submission of a First Nations consultation declaration form to the AER as part of any application under the “specified enactments” (defined in theResponsible Energy Development Act as the Mines and Minerals Act [Part 8], Public Lands Act, Water Act, and Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act) for which First Nations consultation was required.
In Bulletin 2015-10 (found here), the AER has now advised that it is delaying implementation of the declaration and application requirements “until further notice.” That said, Bulletin 2015-10 goes on to confirm that other application requirements will continue to apply:
- applications submitted to the AER under the specified enactments must still meet the requirements for aboriginal consultation, as outlined in The Government of Alberta’s Guidelines on Consultation with First Nations on Land and Natural Resource Management; and
- the AER will also continue to require the report by the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) containing the ACO’s findings on consultation adequacy.
There is no indication in Bulletin 2015-10 as to the reason for, or anticipated length of, the delay in the Joint Operating Procedures taking effect. The indefinite delay marks a departure from what has been a swift and significant ongoing evolution of the regulatory framework governing First Nations consultation for energy development in Alberta, as outlined in our prior blog posting.