May 17, 2021 Media Release

Jocelyn GagnonAnnouncements, Archived

Northern Sunrise County is speaking up to support the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) in highlighting the concerns and implications of unpaid oil and gas property taxes. Recently, the RMA provided member municipalities with the results of a survey they conducted on unpaid oil and gas property taxes borne by rural municipalities in Alberta. The survey results indicate that rural municipalities face an overall unpaid oil and gas property tax burden of $245.7 million, with still-operating oil and gas companies responsible for 57% of these unpaid taxes.

Northern Sunrise County recognizes the challenges facing the oil and gas industry and has a long history of working with companies operating in the area to grow the rural economy. Northern Sunrise County appreciates and values the oil and gas industry and the investments they have made in our County and we thank them for operating here.

Many of our ratepayers are experiencing financial difficulties from the economic downturn and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not support shifting the unpaid oil and gas taxes to Northern Sunrise County property owners because some oil and gas companies are choosing not to fulfill their property tax commitments.

Unpaid oil and gas company taxes is a very profound issue for Northern Sunrise County, as indicated below:

  • $4,759,556 total unpaid oil and gas company taxes in arrears, including written-off taxes.  This total includes:
    • 2,019,000 unpaid taxes owed by still-operating oil and gas companies and
    • 2,740,556 unpaid taxes owed by bankrupt/insolvent oil and gas companies.

Though the RMA and its members have continually advocated the Government of Alberta to address the legislative and policy loopholes that allow oil and gas companies to forego paying property taxes, no action has been taken by the Province to address this ongoing and growing issue. Northern Sunrise County is committed to bringing awareness to this concern and supporting the RMA with its efforts. Unpaid taxes impact ratepayers and municipalities in many ways.

Municipalities across the province rely on property taxes to fund the services and infrastructure that the oil and gas industry utilizes daily. Northern Sunrise County manages 108 kilometres of paved roads, 1,050 kilometres of gravel roads, and 97 bridges. Municipalities may have no choice but to recover every dollar not paid in property taxes by the oil and gas industry from other property taxpayers in the form of substantially increased tax rates or reduced service levels.  


For further information, please contact:

Carolyn Kolebaba
Reeve, Northern Sunrise County