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Project Application

Timeline

Our estimated processing time for this application is 20 to 400 business days depending on the type of application. See our timeline spreadsheet for updates.

Purpose of the Application

We regulate oil sands mining-related activities under the Oil Sands Conservation Act. We divide these applications into five types:

  • mineable oil sands (MOS) new project/major expansion
  • MOS pilot/experiment
  • MOS category 1
  • MOS category 2
  • MOS category 3

MOS new project/major expansion applications are for new or major expansion projects that might have federal involvement, affect resource conservation or mineral rights owners, result in an adverse and material change to the environment, have socioeconomic impacts, or affect public safety.

MOS pilot/experiment applications are for short-term projects that test new oil sands mining technology.

MOS category 1 applications are for project changes that are not expected to affect resource conservation or public safety, or alter environmental and socioeconomic impacts assessed in the original application or approved amendments.

MOS category 2 applications are for project changes that might affect resource conservation or involve significant modifications. However, they are not expected to affect public safety, or adversely and materially alter the environmental and socioeconomic impacts assessed in the original application or approved amendments.

MOS category 3 applications are for project changes that might affect resource conservation, public safety, or other mineral rights owners. They may result in adverse and material changes to the environmental or socioeconomic impacts assessed in the original application or approved amendments.

Detailed descriptions of MOS categories 1, 2, and 3 are provided in our Draft Directive 023: Oil Sands Project Applications (section 10).

Process Checklist

Submit an Application
Companies must email their applications to OSMining.Applications@aer.ca. Applications are registered using the Integrated Application Registry.

By submitting an application, the company accepts that its information is no longer confidential.

Review Process

  1. We share all applications on our Public Notice of Application page to encourage public participation in the approval process.
  2. Anyone who believes they may be directly and adversely affected by an application can file a statement of concern (SOC). If we receive an SOC, it may take us longer to process the application.
  3. We will assign the application to a subject matter expert for initial review. If information is missing (i.e., the application is not complete), we will close the application. Otherwise, we will proceed with a full technical review.
  4. We may request additional information (through a supplemental information request) to complete our technical review.
  5. When applicable, a joint review is conducted by AER staff tasked with reviewing applications under the Environemntal Protection and Enhancement Act or the Water Act or reviewing environmental impact assessments, or the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
  6. We will decide to approve, close, or deny the application. If we close it, the applicant may reapply without prejudice. If we deny it, the applicant can file an appeal through our appeal process.
  7. We will provide the applicant with a link to the letter with our decision, which is accessible for 30 days through the Integrated Application Registry. We will also share our decision on our Publication of Decision page.