Land Use Compensation

This page explains how you can bring land related compensation disputes under section 327 of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act) to the CER and what options are available to help you through the process.

For more in-depth information on how the public can bring compensation disputes to the CER for compensation payable under Part 6 of the CER Act, see the CER’s Guidance on Land Related Compensation Disputes.

Questions you may have

What can you be compensated for?

The Commission of the CER can decide on compensation for disputes in relation to compensation payable under Part 6 of the CER Act. This may include:

  • the acquisition, lease, or taking of lands
  • lands whose use is restricted by the operation of section 335 of the CER Act
  • damages caused by the activities of the company which are directly related to: the acquisition or lease of lands for a pipeline or abandoned pipeline; the construction of the pipeline; or the inspection, maintenance or repair of the pipeline or abandoned pipeline.

For more information about section 335 of the CER Act, see the damage prevention section of the CER website.

For information on how to document damages, see the Land Agreements page in the Land Matters Guide on the CER website.

What if you do not agree with a company’s offer of compensation?

Parties are encouraged to work together to reach agreements on compensation. Issues can often be best resolved directly between you and the company.

If you and the company are unable to come to an agreement, you can bring the matter to the CER in two ways

  • the Complaint Resolution Option, in which parties use the CER’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services. This process is confidential and uses an interest-based approach facilitated by the CER’s ADR staff who are trained in dispute resolution. Information shared and any disclosures made through the ADR process is confidential and will not be placed on the CER’s Public Registry.
  • the Hearing Option, in which one or both of the parties request that the compensation dispute be decided by Commissioners of the CER in public hearing process. The Commission sets out the decision-making steps and all documents are placed on the CER’s Public Registry (REGDOCS).

Options available to resolve compensation related disputes

Options Available to Resolve Compensation related Disputes

How do you apply for the Complaint Resolution Option?

You can send the CER a complaint form with the details of your compensation disputes. Download the Complaint Form [PDF 315 KB] from our website, or call 1-800-899-1265 (toll free) or email info@cer-rec.gc.ca to request a copy.

Follow the instructions in the complaint form about how to complete and send it to the CER. This form is not placed on the CER’s public regulatory database.

How do you apply for the Hearing Option?

Either you or the company can submit a compensation hearing application with the CER, requesting that the Commission of the CER decide on the compensation matter with a hearing. Download the Compensation Hearing Application [PDF 287 KB] from our website, or call 1-800-899-1265 (toll free) or email info@cer-rec.gc.ca to request a copy.

Follow the instructions in the compensation hearing application about how to complete the application and submit it to the CER. This application will be on the CER’s regulatory database (also known as the CER’s public registry, or REGDOCS), which is viewable by the public. We will need you to describe your lands and the issue(s), including any background information on what has been done to settle the dispute or previous complaints.

What happens after the CER receives a compensation dispute?

The CER will contact you within 10 calendar days of receiving your complaint form or compensation hearing application.

The CER may then invite parties to participate in a pre-resolution conference to determine the next steps.

What happens at a pre-resolution conference?

This is an informal opportunity for parties to identify the issues, ask questions about the process, and decide on how they would like to have the dispute resolved. The pre-resolution conference is guided by the CER and can be held remotely (for example, over the phone) but could take place in-person. The CER invites participation by all parties to the dispute who have the authority to settle the matter. Lawyers are not required, but parties may invite them if they wish. The pre-resolution conference is not open to the public.

  • If parties both agree to use ADR to resolve the compensation dispute, CER staff will discuss next steps with the parties.
  • If parties decline ADR, or if ADR does not result in an agreement, and they still would like the dispute resolved, a party must request that the Commission of the CER decide on the compensation matter with a hearing. The CER will discuss the steps to initiate a hearing. To learn more about the CER hearing process visit the CER website.

Is ADR available during the hearing process?

ADR is available upon request. ADR can take place at any time, including when negotiating with a company before filing a compensation hearing application, or during a hearing. For more information about ADR email ADR-RED@cer-rec.gc.ca or visit the CER website.

What does the Commission of the CER consider during a compensation hearing?

The Commission of the CER decides on compensation on a case-by-case basis, relying on the evidence submitted by the parties. Depending on the nature of a compensation dispute, the Commission will consider a number of factors, set out in the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, in a hearing. These factors include market value of the lands, loss of use to the owner, loss or damage to livestock or personal property, and nuisance, inconvenience, and noise.

See subsection 327(2) of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act for the complete list of factors.

How can you prepare for a hearing?

If your compensation dispute proceeds to a hearing, the Commission of the CER will issue a hearing order. This will provide you with the information you need to know about the hearing process and where to get help. It is important to read the entire hearing order to be aware of important things, such as timelines, information you need to provide at a hearing, and how the hearing will take place. You can be questioned on any evidence you file during a hearing.

The CER has process advisors it can assign to hearings to help participants if they have questions about the process.

What if you do not agree with a decision made by the Commission?

A party may appeal a decision by the Commission to the Federal Court of Appeal. A party also has the option to request that the Commission review its decision.

Does the CER provide funding for compensation hearings?

The CER does not provide participant funding for compensation disputes.

Will you be reimbursed for costs to participate in a compensation hearing?

The Commission of the CER may, and in some cases must, order the company to pay some or all of a landowner’s legal, appraisal or other costs reasonably incurred for a compensation hearing. If the Commission awards compensation, it will receive additional submissions from the parties to determine costs. The Commission will consider the amount of costs incurred and whether they were reasonable. In determining costs, the Commission also considers the amount of compensation that was offered by the company.

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