Hearing Process

A hearing of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is a formal court-like process that the AER uses to gather information before making a decision on an energy application. Participants present evidence and make arguments about energy projects, and all the information, evidence, and responses are weighed and balanced by a panel of AER hearing commissioners, who are independent adjudicators with specialized knowledge in a variety of fields related to the energy industry.

The timelines are a general guide to the typical hearing process; however, the timeline for each hearing will be determined by the assigned hearing panel and will vary. The hearing panel considers the unique facts and circumstances to determine a fair hearing schedule.

Part 1 of the hearing process timeline provides guidelines for the length of a few types of typical AER hearings.

Part 2 shows the order of activities for a typical hearing and approximate timelines for a hearing on a small energy project.

(Click to view larger image)

Part 1 — Estimated timelines for hearings, not including ADR, adjournments, or the time to issue a decision report

Type of Hearing

Estimated time to hold a hearing

Sitting time

Well, facility, or pipeline project with one landowner or limited issues

3 months (More detail in part 2 below)

1–2 days

Complex project (large pipeline, oil sands or coal mining) and multiple participants

4–5 months

1–2 weeks

Joint hearing with Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

1–2 years

2–4 weeks

Written hearing

Highly variable; often the timeline for a written hearing is longer than for an oral hearing.

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Part 2 — Estimated hearing timeline for a small energy project involving one landowner

State

Description

Estimated time from start of process

Notice of hearing

This notice is a legal requirement of the AER. It officially starts the hearing process.

1 week

Information session

An informal meeting with participants to explain the AER hearing process. Led by AER staff.

2–3 weeks

Request to participate

The hearing panel will decide who can participate. You must request to participate in an AER hearing even if you filed a statement of concern.

1–4 weeks

Prehearing meeting

A formal meeting to determine procedural matters such as issues, participation, and scheduling. Led by the hearing panel.

4–5 weeks

Notice of scheduling of hearing

This notice is the second part of the notice of hearing and announces the location and timing of the hearing.

3–6 weeks

Submissions

Submissions are the written evidence you intend to present at the hearing. They are due before the start of the hearing.
This ensures that all parties have access to the same information and can prepare for the hearing.

3–12 weeks

Hearing

Like in a formal court, you and other participants will present evidence and be questioned (cross examined) about your evidence by the hearing participants.
At the end of the hearing, you may make arguments to the hearing panel about how you want the panel to decide.

4–16 weeks

Decision

A formal report from the panel stating the decision and the reasons for it.

90 days after
the hearing