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OIL AND GAS - Surface access - Surface leases - Compensation

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 @ 10:22 AM  

Appeal by Neufeld and other owners from a decision of the Surface Rights Arbitration Board. The respondent held right of entry orders for land owned by the appellants. The parties were unable to agree on compensation. During the hearing to determine the compensation payable by the respondent, the appellants requested access to compensation agreements filed with the board under s. 30 of the Surface Rights Acquisition and Compensation Act. The board denied the request on the basis such access was governed by the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA).

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The board did not err in determining access to agreements regarding compensation for surface rights was subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The board was a government institution and the s. 30 agreements were records as defined in FOIPPA. The agreements were not matters of public record, records normally available to the public or records held in a public registry. The board was correct to reject the appellants’ application because the appellants did not follow the procedures set out in FOIPPA for seeking access.

Neufeld v. Rifle Shot Oil Corp., [2019] S.J. No. 512, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, R.G. Richards C.J.S., N.W. Caldwell and J.D. Kalmakoff JJ.A., December 16, 2019. Digest No. TLD-February102020009