By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

Questions About Mineral Rights

In most countries subsurface hydrocarbons were nationalized before their potential value  became apparent. Canada and the United States are exceptions.  In the U.S.A. most subsurface hydrocarbons are owned by surface rights owners or their assigns.  A more complex ownership regime evolved in Canada resulting in serious issues for individual freehold mineral owners.  

The first oil well in North America was completed in Ontario in 1858.  Despite this, land grants issued by the Dominion government to the Hudson’s Bay Company (the HBC), the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (the CPR) and to pioneer settlers continued to include rights to the subsurface for another thirty years.  The HBC and the CPR were slow to recognize the potential value of the subsurface hydrocarbons included in their massive land grants.  The HBC included the subsurface in land sales to settlers until 1908.  The CPR first reserved coal in 1902, coal and petroleum in 1905 and finally all mines and minerals, including natural gas, in 1912.  CPR land settlement policies lead to the splitting of subsurface title with powerful corporations holding title to coal or coal and petroleum and the successors or assigns of pioneer settlers holding title to the subsurface hydrocarbons not reserved by the CPR (petroleum and natural gas or just natural gas).

Oil, natural gas and coal have been objects of commerce for over a century so one would think that the legal and technical distinction between these substances would have been resolved long ago.  Not so!  For decades the distinction for royalty purposes was made by powerful corporations.  Individual freeholders ultimately raised split title ownership issues.  The response of provincial governments, energy industry regulators and the judiciary is a sad testament to the undue influence of the energy industry in Canada.

Individual freeholders need to understand what they own and support FHOA’s efforts to protect their property rights – no one else is doing so!

We Can Help!

As a member of FHOA, we help you to understand what you own and the formidable obstacles you face in protecting and maximizing the value of your heritage.   You will gain access to information and articles about the conflicts that arise when you, as a lessor, lease your mineral rights to an energy company, as lessee.  You will also learn about the role that regulatory authorities play (or refuse to) and FHOA’s attempts to cause provincial governments to address the plight of freehold mineral owners.

Join today to get access to this information and many other resources available for Freehold Members.


How Can You Help?

The easiest way to help is to Become a Member!

If you can, get involved. If you have skills or training which could help FHOA attain its goals, let us know. FHOA always needs volunteers to assist with seminars, to help with phone outs before seminars or even join the Board.

Spread the word. The more members that FHOA has, the greater our potential influence. Many freeholders who could use our help, particularly those who do not use the internet, remain unaware of FHOA’s existence.

If you have time constraints, make a financial donation to assist us in paying for judicial and regulatory hearings. Donations from Alberta residents are particularly helpful as the Alberta Government’s Community Spirit Program provides matching grants for donations by Albertans to not for profit organizations such as FHOA.


Want to Learn More and Get Involved?

Being a member of FHOA gives you many benefits and services not available to non-members (some additional fees may apply), including:

  • a common voice representing the interests of Freeholders with government bodies and regulators

  • help understanding leases and many other agreements

  • help understanding regulations and obligations to protect your rights

  • a knowledge base for some of the confusing technical information

  • access to experienced industry professionals to assist in negotiations

  • information about the going rate in your area, and so much more…..

*Additional fees may apply

Annual Membership
only $75!


  • We wish to thank FHOA, with special recognition to David Speirs, for the information /assistance he gave to us regarding the energy sector. His knowledge of Freehold Owner leases was particularly helpful to us as novices when we became Freehold owners over a decade ago.

    Garold and Yvonne Miller

  • I am eternally grateful for what I have learned through FHOA and their Board of Directors. Because of FHOA, our family can safeguard our mineral rights for future generations, and we have enhanced our lease negotiation skills as a collaborative family unit. The expertise and dedication of FHOA directors has supported our efforts in every aspect of mineral ownership.

    Joan Olafson

  • Our mineral rights have been passed down for generations. We joined FHOA in 2007 to help us understand an agreement with an oil company. FHOA was so helpful, providing suggestions were able to take the company and have adjustments made to our lease agreement. The information provided on the website, by FHOA representatives and at FHOA meetings helped us better understand lease provisions. If we had to sign another lease, I would have FHOA help again. Because of this value, we continue to be a member year after year.

    Jackie Anderson

  • Freehold Owner’s Association (“FHOA”) has a wide variety of information with access to various expertise for freehold mineral owners like me, who do not have the technical and legal expertise, nor the financial capability to do it on their own.

    Bill Schmidt

  • Our family is very thankful for FHOA. They made it possible to force a major oil producer to pay legitimate royalties owed to all five family members for off-set drilling beside our mineral rights.

    Betty Frey