CER Time Limits and Service Standards

Time Limits

On 28 August 2019, the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act) came into force. Subsection 31(3) of the CER Act mandates that all applications and proceedings before the Commission must be dealt with as expeditiously as the circumstances and procedural fairness and natural justice permit, and within the time limit provided for in the CER Act.

Under the CER Act, the Lead Commissioner of the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) must set a time limit for certain types of applications. The time limit must not exceed the legislated number of days from the day which the Company applicant has provided a complete application, as decided by the Commission. The Commission must complete its assessment and make its recommendation or decision within this time limit.

On 9 January 2020, the Lead Commissioner issued a letter which outlines time limits for processing certain applications filed under the CER Act [Filing C04046]Footnote 1.

The following time limits apply for the processing of infrastructure applications pursuant to sections 183, 214, or 262 of the CER Act, and take into account the level of complexity, the estimated number and type of information requests that may be generated, and the probability of third-party interest and related engagement.

Sections 214 – Routine Process
Category Complexity of Issues Time Limit
A Minor 130 days
B Moderate 210 days
C Major 300 days
Section 183, 214, or 262 – Hearing Process
Type Time Limit
Section 183
(non-designated) Footnote 2
450 days
Section 214 300 days
Section 262 300 days

For import and export license applications, the CER also has a six month legislated time limit from the date of a complete application to the date of the release of the decision (and license if applicable).

Timing Regulations

Please refer to Circumstances for Excluding Periods from Time Limits Regulations for information on Time Limit Exclusions.

Service Standards

Service standards are not set out in legislation, although some of the CER’s service standards apply to applications that are also subject to the legislated time limits described above.

Service standards are established for service delivery so that applicants and participants know what to expect and the CER’s performance can be measured and reported. They identify specific delivery targets or timelines for key services and are published annually in the CER's Departmental Results Report (DPR) and Annual Report.

Service standards for specific application types are provided below.

Applications

Routine Infrastructure Applications (CER Act – Section 214)

Routine section 214 applications are classified into one of three Categories based on:

  • their level of complexity;
  • the estimated number and type of information requests which may be generated; and
  • the probability of third-party interest.

The service standard for routine infrastructure applications is 80 per cent of all decisions will be released by target date (see table below). The calculation of the service standard begins on the day the CER determines the application is complete. Once a section 214 application has been determined to be complete, a letter will be sent to the applicant setting out the Category as well as the start and end dates of the service standards.

Service Standard Targets for Section 214 Applications
Category Complexity of Issues Service Standard Target
A Minor 40 calendar daysTable Note a
B Moderate 90 calendar daysTable Note a
C Major 120 calendar daysTable Note a

Hearing Applications

For applications that include a hearing process, the CER’s service standard is that 80 per cent of its Decisions or Recommendations are completed within 12 weeks following the close of record of a public hearing. The CER may implement a timeout during the holidays in December/ January for this service standard.

Export/Import Applications

The CER is responsible for reviewing applications and authorizing the export of oil and natural gas liquids, the import and export of natural gas, and export of electricity.

The service standard for both natural gas import orders as well as short-term export orders for oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids is 80 per cent of decisions are made within two working days of receipt of a complete application.Footnote 3

Electricity export applications are divided into one of three categories based on:

  • their level of complexity.
  • the estimated number and type of information requests which may be generated; and
  • the level of third-party interest.

The service standard for all electricity export applications is 80 per cent of all decisions will be released by target date (see table below). Within 10 days following the completion of the Notice of Application/ Directions on Procedure (NOA/DOP) period, applicants will be notified of the category assigned and the estimated date for release of a decision.

Service Standard Targets for Electricity Export Applications
Category Complexity of Issues Service Standard Target
A Minor 40 calendar days
B Moderate 90 calendar days
C Major No service standard

The trigger date for cycle time tracking is the day following the successful completion of the NOA/DOP period. Applicant time-outs will be tracked and those days deducted from the CER's cycle times. Time-outs are periods of time during which the CER has limited or no control over the processing of the application. For example, if an applicant has been asked to provide additional information, a time-out is the period of time between the target response date set by the Commission and the date on which the applicant provides its response.

Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA) Applications

Under COGOA, the CER regulates the drilling of wells and geological and geophysical work in frontier areas. The service standard is 80 per cent of decisions are made by the target date. The target date for an application to drill (or alter the condition of) a well is within 21 calendar days of receiving a complete application. For geological and geophysical applications, the target date is 30 calendar days.

Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA) Applications

Under the CPRA, the CER regulates Significant Discovery and Commercial Discovery Applications on frontier lands. The service standard is 80 per cent of decisions will be made in 90 days from the day that all information is available to complete the evaluation process.

Participant Funding

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) provides funding to facilitate public participation in certain project hearings and environmental assessments of designated projects. The service standard is 80 per cent of funding decisions are provided within 30 days of a complete application or application deadline.

Land Matters Complaints

The CER will inform those who submit a complaint within 10 calendar days to acknowledge receipt of the complaint.

The CER expects regulated companies to attempt to resolve complaints related to land matters from landowners or other parties before the complaint reaches the Commission for resolution. However, this is not always possible.

The service standard for land matter complaints is 80% of complaints are resolved or closed by the target date as outlined in the table below. This service standard does not include timeouts, such as when parties to the complaint attempt to resolve the complaint outside the CER process or where the CER has limited or no control over the steps taken by the parties to resolve the complaint. A complaint is considered resolved or closed if the parties advise that the issues are resolved and the complaint is withdrawn, the Commission has issued a decision that resolves the complaint, or the information required to process the complaint is incomplete for greater than 90 days.

Service Standards for Land Matters Complaints
Category Definition Target Date
Level 1 Complaint which requires urgent action(s) to minimize or eliminate immediate threats to the environment, safety, and/or facility integrity (i.e., protection of human health, livestock, heritage resources, economic sustainability, crossings) Within 21 calendar days of received date
Level 2 Complaint which does not pose an immediate threat and can be addressed through facilitation or adjudication Within 180 calendar days of received date

Audits

The CER is committed to conducting management systems audits in support of its mandate with respect to safety, security, environmental protection and economic efficiency. The CER conducts two types of audits, including Onshore Pipeline/Processing Plant audits and financial audits. The following service standards have been adopted for these audits:

Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) and Processing Plan Regulations (PPR) Audit

The CER commits to ensuring that 80 per cent of draft OPR/PPR audit reports will be sent to the audited company within twelve weeks of field work completion. Eighty per cent of final audit reports will be sent to audited companies within twelve weeks of receiving audited company comments on the draft report.

Financial Audit

The CER commits to ensuring that 80 per cent of draft financial audit reports will be sent to the audited company within eight weeks of field work completion. Eighty per cent of the final financial audit reports will be sent to the audited company within three weeks of receiving the audited company's comments on the draft report.

Requests to the CER Library

The CER Library receives hundreds of requests for publications or other information every year. The standard for responding to requests to the Library is 90% of requests are responded to within one working day.

How can I get more information about the CER and its activities?

You can get more information through a series of information publications the CER produces.

To contact the publications coordinator:

The Publications Office
Canada Energy Regulator
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta
T2R 0A8
Email: publications@cer-rec.gc.ca
Telephone: 403-299-3561
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-292-5503
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803

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