Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
Misinformation and an unfair decision resulted in an updated policy and an application fee refund.
Gary applied to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to renew his mining permit and paid the $4,000 permit fee. A month later, the ministry requested additional information from Gary to process his application and at around the same time, Gary decided to withdraw his application. A ministry employee informed Gary that he would receive a full refund within 30 to 60 days. A few months passed and Gary had yet to receive his refund. Gary called the ministry to find out what the delay was and was told that permit fees were non-refundable.
Upset, Gary reached out to us for assistance.
We investigated whether the ministry’s decision to not refund Gary’s permit fee was fair and reasonable.
The ministry’s “Guide to Mines Fee Regulation: Pits and Quarries” stated that the Regulation does not allow for a refund of the permit fee. However, the actual Mines Fee Regulation did not include any reference to fee refund and we were unable to find any language that would prevent the ministry from issuing it. Ministry staff eventually acknowledged that the Regulation did not prevent a permit refund; however they did explain the purpose of the fee and the circumstances for when a refund may not be available. These circumstances did not apply in Gary’s case.
As a result of our investigation, we asked the ministry to consider revising their policy as well as reconsidering Gary’s refund. The ministry agreed and updated its policy regarding refunds of permit fee applications. They also decided to refund Gary his $4,000 permit fee.