Commissioner Opposes Paramountcy Provisions in Mines and Minerals Act

November 13, 2008

Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work is opposing a proposed amendment to the Mines and Minerals Act which includes a paramountcy provision to royalty information for a period of five years.

A paramountcy clause overrides the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) and means that requested information cannot be accessed even through a FOIP request.

In a letter to Energy Minister Mel Knight, Work says there are several sections of the FOIP Act which can be used to protect information and he says a paramountcy clause deprives Albertans of the right to access information about resources they own.

Work says a paramountcy clause for royalty information is contrary to the Alberta Government’s commitment to openness and accountability as set out in the FOIP Act and he urges the government to reconsider the paramountcy clause.

Work says he agrees with the 2006/07 report of the Auditor General to clearly state the objectives and targets of royalty regimes and adds that he believes Albertans should be allowed to request this information as owners of the resources.

Amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act were given first reading in the Legislature last week.