Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO)

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) have updated the Joint Operating Procedures for First Nations and Metis Settlement consultation (JOPs), effective October 31, 2018.

The JOPs are internal procedures that set out how the AER and the ACO cooperate to administer and coordinate their work. The updated JOPs are more ‘user-friendly’ and provide staff with clear guidance on roles and responsibilities, internal procedures, and expectations for information sharing.

These changes will help the AER and the ACO work together more effectively and efficiently, allowing proponents to experience a more streamlined process and ensuring the regulator has advice on the adequacy of consultation and whether actions may be required to address potential adverse impacts.

The internal procedures are available on the AER website:

The AER has jurisdiction under the Responsible Energy Development Act (REDA) for the entire life cycle of upstream energy resource development in the province, including upstream oil, natural gas, oil sands, and coal activities. However, the AER “has no jurisdiction with respect to assessing the adequacy of Crown consultation associated with the rights of aboriginal peoples as recognized and affirmed under Part II of the Constitution Act, 1982.” (REDA Section 21).  Under Ministerial Order, AER is required to request advice from the ACO prior to making a decision on an energy application for which First Nations or Metis Settlement consultation is required by the Policy and Guidelines [Ministerial Orders: Energy Ministerial Order 105/2014 and Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Ministerial Order 53/2014 AND Energy Ministerial Order 39/2016 and Environment and Parks Ministerial Order 16/2016]. The Joint Operating Procedures are the internal procedures that set out how the AER and the ACO will cooperate to administer and coordinate their work for the purposes of the Ministerial Order.