The Effect of Well Abandonment and Reclamation Obligations for the Valuation of Matrimonial Property

By: Nigel Bankes

PDF Version: The Effect of Well Abandonment and Reclamation Obligations for the Valuation of Matrimonial Property

Case Commented On: Walker v Walker, 2017 SKQB 195 (CanLII)

Judicial decisions on the legal nature of abandonment and reclamation obligations may arise in the strangest of ways. Take this matrimonial property case, for example, in which Mr. Walker (Darcy) was seeking to argue that his assets should be discounted on the basis that a small oil and gas company (Outback) that he controlled had net abandonment and reclamation liabilities. Part of the challenge that he faced in making this argument was of course that the liabilities in question were the liabilities of the corporation. While a director or controlling mind of a corporation might ordinarily take some comfort from this state of affairs, in this case counsel for Darcy tried to suggest that his client would inevitably face personal liability under the terms of Saskatchewan’s The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010, SS 2010, c E-10.22 [EMPA] and The Oil and Gas Conservation Act, RSS 1978, c O-2 [OGCA] and s 59 of The Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations, 2012, RRS c O-2 Reg 6 [OGCR]. Actually the argument was even stranger insofar as Mrs. Walker (Becky) was also a director of the company (Outback) and thus might face the same liability should Darcy be correct. Continue reading

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Posted in Environmental, Family, Oil & Gas, Property | Leave a comment

Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Clarifying Privacy Issues

By: Jennifer Koshan

PDF Version: Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Clarifying Privacy Issues

Case Commented On: Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers

A recent report written by Professor Lois Gander for the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) explores how landlords and property managers can play a part in responding to domestic violence. Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers concludes that “some property managers and the landlords they represent go to considerable lengths to prevent, intervene, and support victims of domestic violence as much as they can” (at 7). This was the case even before Bill 204, the Residential Tenancies (Safer Spaces for Victims of Domestic Violence) Amendment Act, 2015, amended the Residential Tenancies Act, SA 2004 cR-17.1 (RTA), to allow victims of domestic violence to terminate their tenancies early without the usual penalties (for a post on Bill 204 see here). The report includes several recommendations to support landlords and property managers as front-line service providers in this context, including the development of training and resources. It also recommends that “further consideration should be given to ways that the law impedes or assists landlords in accommodating the needs of their tenants who are experiencing domestic violence” (at 9). Appendix F sets out several legal issues revealed by interviews with landlords and property managers, including uncertainty about: (1) the extent to which privacy laws constrain them from reporting domestic violence to tenants’ emergency contacts, guarantors and family members, (2) who is a tenant and how and when a guest or occupant acquires the rights and responsibilities of tenants, (3) the power of landlords to suspend or terminate tenancies for acts of domestic violence, (4) the power of landlords and tenants to change locks and bar access, (5) the ability of landlords to recover the cost of repairs for damages caused by tenants or their guests, and (6) the implications of different forms of no-contact orders for landlords and property managers (at 44-45). This post will address the first issue; I will comment later on issue 6 and Jonnette Watson Hamilton will discuss issues 2, 3, 4 and 5. Continue reading

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Liens Against Minerals Do Not Have Super Priority: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Overrules Cenex

By: Nigel Bankes

PDF Version: Liens Against Minerals Do Not Have Super Priority: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Overrules Cenex

Case Commented On: National Bank of Canada v KNC Holdings Ltd., 2017 SKCA 57 (CanLII)

A unanimous five person panel of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has overruled the Court’s earlier decision in Canada Trust Co. v Cenex Ltd. (1982), 1982 CanLII 2651 (SK CA), 131 DLR (3d) 479 (Sask CA). Decided in 1982, Cenex concluded that s 12 of The Mechanics’ Lien Act, RSS 1978, c M-7, (then the relevant statute) created a super priority for mechanics’ liens filed against mineral interests and severed minerals on the basis that the lien was to attach to  “all the estates and interests in the mineral concerned, other than the estate in fee simple in the mines and minerals …” (at para 11). Justice Hall writing for the Court in Cenex concluded that this language bound even the equity of the Royal Bank which held prior security under s 88 of the Bank Act, RSC 1970, c B-1 and debenture security. The effect of Justice Hall’s conclusion was to afford the lien holders a super priority.  Continue reading

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Clyde River and Chippewas of the Thames: Some Clarifications Provided But Some Challenges Remain

By: Nigel Bankes

PDF Version: Clyde River and Chippewas of the Thames: Some Clarifications Provided But Some Challenges Remain

Cases Commented On: Clyde River (Hamlet) v Petroleum Geo-Services Inc., 2017 SCC 40 (CanLII) and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v Enbridge Pipelines Inc., 2017 SCC 41 (CanLII)

The Supreme Court of Canada has rendered judgment in two cases involving the National Energy Board (NEB) and the duty to consult Indigenous communities. One decision, Clyde River, involves an authorization granted to Petroleum Geo-Services Inc (PGS) to conduct marine seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait under the terms of the Canada Oil and Gas Operations ActRSC 1985, c O-7 (COGOA). The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the Crown had failed to discharge its duty to consult and accommodate and that as a result the NEB authorization should be quashed. The second decision, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (CTFN), involves an order by the NEB under s 58 of the National Energy Board ActRSC 1985, c N-7  (NEBA) exempting Enbridge Pipelines Inc (Enbridge) from the need to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity under s 52 of NEBA and at the same time amending the operation of part of Line 9 (Line 9B), to authorize reversing the flow of the line, increasing its capacity and allowing for the transportation of heavy crude. The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the Crown was entitled to rely on the procedures adopted by the NEB in engaging with CTFN to discharge the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate and that those procedures in this case were adequate. Continue reading

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Posted in Aboriginal, Energy | 1 Comment

The Potential Impact of a Quebec Superior Court Challenge on Access to Justice in Alberta

By: Jonnette Watson Hamilton

PDF Version: The Potential Impact of a Quebec Superior Court Challenge on Access to Justice in Alberta

Blog Post Commented On: Clash of Courts”, Double Aspect Blog by Leonid Sirota, 23 July 2017

In his brief post entitled “Clash of Courts: Senior Superior Court judges are suing Québec over its provincial court’s jurisdiction; other provinces will be affected if they succeed,” Leonid Sirota focused his readers’ attention on a law suit brought by the Chief Justice, Senior Associate Chief Justice, and Associate Chief Justice of Quebec’s Superior Court (on behalf of all of the judges of that court), against the provincial government, noting that it has received little attention outside of Quebec, and certainly much less than it should. The judges of Quebec’s Superior Court are seeking a declaration that much of the jurisdiction of that province’s small claims court, the Court of Quebec, is unconstitutional because it violates section 96 of the Constitution Act, 1867 by granting the Court of Quebec exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases where the amount claimed is more than $10,000 and granting it powers of judicial review over provincial administrative tribunals. I agree that the case — a startling claim by a group of litigants that need to be taken seriously (even if their method for getting the issue before the courts, i.e., before themselves in the first instance, is unorthodox) — deserves to be noticed and that other provinces, including Alberta, will be affected if their claim is successful. Continue reading

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Posted in Access to Justice, Constitutional | 6 Comments