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Approximately 60 per cent of Alberta’s land is owned by the Crown on behalf of Albertans. The various surface uses of this public land fall under the administration of the Department of Environment and Parks through the Public Lands Act. The department oversees some 5,700 grazing leases on more than five million acres of public land. The province receives about $4 million annually from these leases.

Objective and Scope

We examined the department’s systems to:

  • identify objectives for and benefits expected from grazing leases on public land
  • ensure all Albertans benefit from its management of grazing leases
    analyze and report on whether grazing leases are meeting
  • objectives or what is needed to improve how the department manages leases


The department’s processes ensure that, overall, public land in Alberta used for grazing is in good health. However, the department cannot demonstrate that the grazing lease program is meeting defined objectives. Further, current legislation allows an unquantified amount of personal financial benefit to some leaseholders over and above the benefits of grazing livestock on public land.