Ambiguity and the Amendments to the Alberta Land Stewardship Act

  • Maria Lavelle


Recent amendments to the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) are ambiguous, and the amended Act risks being interpreted in such a way as to undermine the purpose of Alberta’s Land-use Framework (LUF) and result in more land use planning controversy. The LUF is intended to ensure the future economic growth of the province balanced with the achievement of societal and environmental goods. The LUF can be understood as reflecting a modern liberal approach to land use planning such that government regulation is applied to all property, whether publicly or privately owned. This article argues that the resulting amendments are ambiguous and could be interpreted as reflecting a different understanding of property rights rooted in classical liberalism. The result is that the amended ALSA might not be interpreted in such a way that furthers the goals of the LUF. This article suggests that if the legislation is intended to implement the LUF, then any amendments to the ALSA should be unambiguously consistent with the underlying values of the LUF. It also suggests areas where the processes under the Act could be made more open and transparent so as to be more coherent with modern liberalism.

Author Biography

Maria Lavelle
Counsel, Alberta Law Reform Institute.