Government of Yukon, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (Oil and Gas Branch), et al. v. Northern Cross (Yukon) Ltd.

(Yukon Territory) (Civil) (By Leave)


Torts - Expropriation, Nuisance, Land - Torts — Expropriation — Nuisance — Land — De facto expropriation — Is a use of land by the defendant an essential element of the tort of nuisance — Whether announcement of a regulatory policy can constitute a use of land — Whether an announcement of a regulatory policy, the implementation of which would prevent the use of a particular resource extraction process, constitute, by itself, an act of de facto expropriation — Whether loss of the ability to use a particular resource extraction process can constitute, by itself, a removal of all reasonable uses of a property for the purposes of de facto expropriation?.


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An oil and gas exploration company claims that it was issued permits from the Government of Yukon to explore for oil and gas resources, that the Government of Yukon knew that it intended to explore for resources extractable by hydraulic fracturing, it discovered 8.6 billion barrels of oil that can only be extracted using hydraulic fracturing, but the Government of the Yukon subsequently issued a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing in the lands subject to the permits. The company filed a statement of claim raising various causes of action including a claim in nuisance and a claim of de facto expropriation. The defendants brought a motion to strike claims for disclosing no reasonable causes of action. The motion judge and the Court of Appeal in part refused to strike the claim in nuisance and the claim of de facto expropriation.