Detailed Route

This page explains what a detailed route is, how a company notifies landowners and the public, and information on detailed route hearings.

Where powerline companies choose to have federal laws apply and where the project is approved by a certificate, the project follows the same detailed route hearing process as CER-regulated pipelines.

Questions you may have

If a project is approved, what happens next?

Once a project is approved, the company files documents with the CER called the plan, profile, and book of reference, or PPBoR. These documents contain details on the route of the pipeline.

Here’s what each document includes:

  • Plan and profile: A plan and profile is a drawing of the pipeline as seen from above (the aerial view) and from the side (profile view). It shows the exact proposed location of the pipeline across the parcels of land along its entire route.
  • Book of reference: This document identifies the lands and the names of the owners and occupants of the lands in question. It shows the dimensions (length, width, and total area) of the right-of-way required for the pipeline.

Steps in the detailed route process

Will you be notified that a company has filed its plan, profile, and book of reference?

If a company has submitted its plan, profile, and book of reference, or PPBoR, to the CER, it must serve a notice on all owners of lands proposed to be acquired, leased, taken or used, insofar as they can be determined. The company must also publish a notice in a local newspaper or publication and give written notice to all owners of the lands along the proposed pipeline route. The notice will include details about the proposed route, such as maps, property sketches, and detailed measurements of the right-of-way. It will also explain how to file an opposition to the detailed route with the CER.

A company cannot begin construction of a pipeline on lands until the PPBoR for those lands has been approved.

What happens after a company files its plan, profile, and book of reference with the CER?

When a company files its plan, profile, and book of reference with the CER, it does not automatically trigger a hearing. The opportunity to have a hearing is triggered only if a statement of opposition to the detailed route has been filed with the CER within 30 days. Segments of a detailed route may be approved by the Commission if there are no statements of opposition for those segments.

What if you oppose the detailed route?

If you are an owner of lands who has been served with a notice about a proposed detailed route or you anticipate that your lands may be adversely affected by it, you can oppose the proposed detailed route. 

To oppose the detailed route, you will need to file a written statement of opposition with the CER. You must file your opposition within 30 days after the day on which the company served you with notice or within 30 days after the last date the notice was published in a local newspaper or publication.

Download the CER Statement of Opposition form [PDF 300 KB] from our website or call 1-877-288-8803 (toll free) or email info@cer-rec.gc.ca for a copy. Follow the instructions on the form about how to complete and file it with the CER. You will need to provide your contact information, identify the lands where you are opposing the detailed route, explain your interest in the lands, and provide the reasons why you are opposing the detailed route (the proposed route or the methods and timing of construction).

What happens after you file your statement of opposition?

If a written statement of opposition is filed with the CER within 30 days, it will be considered by the Commission of the CER. If accepted, a public hearing will be held.

To learn more about the Commission of the CER and the commissioners who are part of it, see our website.

What can be considered at a detailed route hearing?

CER detailed route hearings only consider the best possible detailed route of the pipeline (the exact placement of the pipeline on the lands it will cross) and the most appropriate methods and timing of its construction. The detailed route approval process does not reconsider the CER’s original decision for the project.

If you have a dispute with the company about compensation, visit our website call 1-800-899-1265 (toll free) for more information.

What are the possible outcomes of a CER decision?

After considering all of the evidence presented during the detailed route hearing, the Commission may:

  • approve the company's proposed detailed route (with or without conditions)
  • reject all or part of the company's proposed detailed route
  • require more information from the participants before making a decision

If approved, the company files the approved PPBoR with the appropriate provincial or territorial land titles or registry offices.

What happens next if the Commission rejects the company’s proposed route?

If the Commission rejects the company’s proposed route, the company can:

  • attempt to reach an agreement with the landowner for a route
  • seek a review of the decision
  • request permission to appeal the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal
  • reapply with a new location for the rejected segment of detailed route (one that it believes will satisfy the Commission’s concerns). If the Commission receives legitimate oppositions about the new detailed route, then another detailed route hearing is held.

What if you do not agree with a decision?

You have 2 options if you do not agree with a decision:

  • request that the Commission review the decision
  • apply to the Federal Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the decision (only on a question of law or jurisdiction)

Can you continue to negotiate with the company during the hearing?

We encourage anyone, even those who have already filed a statement of opposition, to continue negotiating with the company. Issues can often be best resolved directly between you and the company. You can withdraw your statement of opposition at any time if you reach an agreement with the company.

Parties may use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to help resolve disputes. ADR is available at any time, including during a hearing. For information on ADR, see our website or call 1-800-899-1265 (toll free).

How can you prepare for the detailed route hearing?

The CER’s hearing order for the detailed route will provide you with the information you need to know about the detailed route hearing process and where to get help. It is important to read the entire hearing order to be aware of important things, such as timelines, information you need to provide at the hearing, and how the hearing will take place. You can be questioned on any evidence you file during the hearing. The CER also assigns process advisors to hearings to help participants if they have questions about the process.

Can you propose an alternate route?

You are not required to propose an alternate route (or routes), but you may. If you choose to propose an alternate route, describe your alternate route in as much detail as possible. The hearing order will provide more information on when you need to file this information with the Commission.

The company has the burden of proving that its proposed detailed route is the best possible detailed route. The Commission can only approve or deny the company’s proposed route. It cannot approve or deny an alternate route. 

Do you need a lawyer to participate in the detailed route hearing?

You do not need to hire a lawyer to participate in a detailed route hearing. Some people may be more comfortable having a person speak on their behalf, but it does not have to be a lawyer.

Can costs to participate in a detailed route hearing be covered?

Costs that are both reasonable and related to your participation in a detailed route hearing process, such as legal fees, may be recovered. Discuss costs with the company. If you are unable to come to an agreement about the amount or nature of costs to be reimbursed, either you or the company may request that the Commission hear and decide the matter. The Commission may order the company to pay costs it considers were reasonably incurred by any person who made or will make representations to the Commission at the hearing.

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