Preparing for Emergencies, Company Oversight and Verifying Project Conditions during Covid-19 – Line 3 Emergency Exercise

June 18, 2021

All companies under our watch must be prepared for any emergency – it’s one of our many requirements to ensure pipelines are operated safely and the environment is protected. There also may be specific conditions we impose when recommending a project for approval. Regardless, companies are required to test their emergency management program through the use of emergency exercises.

As part of Enbridge Pipelines Inc.’s Line 3 Replacement Program, the company must meet 89 conditions starting from the pre-construction phase through to when the pipeline is operating. One of these conditions is that within 18 months of Line 3 starting operation, Enbridge was to conduct one full-scale and two table-top emergency response exercises that will demonstrate that they are ready to respond in the event of an emergency.

On May 18 and 19, 2021, Enbridge held a full-scale emergency exercise for the Line 3 project to meet the CER condition and our other requirements. The Company and participants, including the CER, had been planning the exercise for over a year. Because it was full-scale and not a table-top, it involved a number of external participants including first responders, First Nation and Métis Nations and representatives from provincial and local governments. It also involved an on-site equipment deployment along Line 3 near Wawanesa, Manitoba and standing up a virtual Incident Command Post or ICP (in keeping with Covid-19 protocols).

The CER participated as both as players in the exercise and evaluators. A CER Inspector and two Indigenous Monitors from the Line 3 Indigenous Advisory Monitoring Committee (IAMC) were onsite. They were there to observe and evaluate Enbridge testing their ability to deploy containment boom in the Souris River.

  • “I thought it was helpful to see the boom deployed in the field as it provided a snapshot of what an actual emergency would look like. I understand the exercise was scaled back due to the pandemic but it triggered protocols and tested Enbridge’s plans in relation to Indigenous Nations. I was impressed with the amount of work that went into the planning and implementation of the exercise. Hoping it’s the only time I ever see a boom deployed.”
    – Jade Dewar, Indigenous Monitor Line 3 IAMC

Indigenous Monitors from Line 3 Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee standing in a field next to a river

In the virtual ICP, CER staff were either players in the incident scenario, evaluating the company’s actions or observing to learn more about incident management. The CER staff who took part in the response held roles such as Incident Commander, Public Information Officer and Environmental experts. The staff who were evaluating attended the mock incident briefing meetings, asked questions and took notes on what was being done well and what could be improved. There was also an Indigenous Monitor in the virtual ICP who participated and evaluated remotely.

  • “Emergency preparedness doesn’t stop because of a pandemic and today everyone demonstrated flexibility and a dedication to safety that will ensure key programs, personnel and agencies are ready to protect people and the environment.”
    – Don Logan, Technical Specialist Emergency Management and Security

CER staff in the Virtual Incident Command Post

Female CER Inspector standing next to a river with people in the background

CER observations from the emergency exercise, will be compiled into a report that will be available on our website.

The CER is dedicated to the safety and well-being of its staff, Indigenous communities, the public and the companies we regulate. See the CER’s Covid-19 updates page for more information.

Orange boom spanning the width of a river

Boat in the river with a person standing on the riverbank

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