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Artwork by Simone Williamson

press release

Ecojustice reacts to Alberta Court of Appeal decision on constructive taking case  

April 4, 2024

CALGARY/TERRITORIES OF THE BLACKFOOT AND PEOPLES OF TREATY 7, HOME TO MÉTIS NATION OF ALBERTA, REGION III – Ecojustice is celebrating the Alberta Court of Appeal decision to dismiss Altius Royalty Corporation’s case, stating the test for constructive expropriation had not been met.  

Ecojustice intervened in this case to support the ability of governments across the country to enact sensible environmental regulations. 

Following the decision, Ecojustice lawyer, Randy Christensen said:  

“We are celebrating the court’s decision to uphold the government’s ability to make decisions in the public interest, including to protect the environment and take climate action.  

“In its ruling the court found that securing health and environmental benefits for the public is not ‘an advantage flowing to the state’ that could give rise to a compensation claim. Improvement of health and environmental conditions normally will not require compensation even if private parties’ activities are restricted.  

“This decision confirms property rights are not absolute. They must be balanced with the government’s ability to make land use decisions in the public interest. Coal burning is one of the most significant driving factors of climate change. The federal government’s decision to phase out the use of coal-fired electricity in Canada by 2030 is a crucial step in reducing carbon emissions and taking climate action.  

“We are hopeful that this decision gives governments across the country the courage to continue enacting sensible environmental regulations and laws that protect people and the planet over corporate greed.  

“The Court of Appeal noted a recent upsurge in claims by companies targeting government regulation in the public interest and found that if Altius’s claims and similar claims were accepted, claims against government regulation ‘would become frequent if not ubiquitous.'” 


Altius Royalty Corporation et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta et al. was brought by a group of related companies (“Altius”) that bought a stake in the Genesee Coal Mine located near Warburg, Alberta. The Genesee Coal Mine supplies coal to an associated power plant near Edmonton. 

Altius argued that the federal phase-out of coal-fired power in Canada amounts to constructive taking — when government flexes its regulatory powers to the extent that it deprives an owner of the use and enjoyment of their property — and claimed $190 million in damages from future profits from royalties.  

Ecojustice intervened in the case before the Alberta Court of Appeal to safeguard governments’ ability to regulate land use for environmental protection.  

The appeal was heard by the Court on November 9, 2023, and judgment was issued on April 4, 2024