Resource Road Legislation


Introduction

Currently, resource road tenure and management is administrated by a complex array of legislation administered by separate government organizations including the Ministry of Forests and Range, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Oil & Gas Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Each organization applies different tenures, levels of enforcement, approval processes and standards for construction, maintenance and deactivation.

As resource development activity and road construction costs have increased so have the challenges associated with the current regulatory framework. Multi-industry resource development is expected to intensify and move into more populated and sensitive areas of the province.

Typical problems associated with the current regulatory framework include:

  • Different road use rules and road safety enforcement levels between road-tenuring agencies create challenges for road safety;
  • Disincentives to sharing existing roads create the potential for construction of duplicate road systems which may increase environmental impact;
  • Differences in the fees paid for use of road aggregate between industries;
  • Due to the high number of untenured roads, liabilities associated with deactivating roads are known to be increasing but have not been quantified;
  • As standards and enforcement varies across government, companies may have several different administrative and maintenance responsibilities over different sections of the same road;
  • Due to differing tenure approaches, forest companies may initiate a process to deactivate a road (as required by legislation) – even though it is still in use or could be used by companies from another industry;
  • Oil and gas companies may be unable to obtain secure tenure over a road into which they have invested millions of dollars. Without secure tenure, an oil and gas company may discover the road tenure can be granted to another resource company that requires lower road standards and therefore has no incentive to maintain the road at the higher standards required for use by the oil and gas company;
  • Due to differences in the way resource industries recover capital investments in roads, there are disincentives to transfer the road tenure between industry users, and;
  • In cases where industrial users cannot agree on issues such as user fees, maintenance levels and design standards there is no efficient and effective dispute settlement mechanism that helps industry resolve issues quickly.

Considering a Revised Legislative Framework

The purpose of a resource road legislative consolidation initiative would be to establish a single legislative framework for the administration, construction, maintenance, deactivation and use of resource roads currently contained under several Acts and regulations.

A consolidated legislative approach for resource roads would allow a more predictable, fair and cost-effective regulatory and management framework. This would also improve safety for all resource road users and bring efficiencies and consistency to the management of resource roads by consolidating the seven existing Acts that apply to industrial users in sectors including forestry, oil and gas, and mining.

Any new resource road legislation should:

  • maintain the existing levels of free public access to resource roads on Crown Land;
  • maintain the current access provisions for users such as free miners and for non-industrial commercial recreation users and tourism operators;
  • establish consistent compliance and enforcement programs across industries;
  • establish a level playing field between industrial users in terms of cost recovery;
  • enable improved communication and safety for all resource road users, and;
  • ensure there is no impact on existing access management or land-use planning and approval processes.

Resource Road Act

The Resource Road Act (RRA) was government’s most recent effort in resource road legislative consolidation. The RRA was introduced to the Legislative Assembly in April 2008 as Bill 30, but was not debated in the house and therefore will not proceed.

How to Learn More and Provide Input

Government continues to invite input on the overall aims and objectives of resource road legislation and you are invited to provide your comments by email through the webpage’s comments feature. To learn more, please review the links of this website.

More information

Contacts

If you have a question or comment about the consolidation of legislation or resource roads, please contact us.