Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process Guide

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The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works to keep energy moving safely across the country. We take all reports of non-compliance seriously and will take enforcement action if we discover that our regulatory requirements are not being followed.

Examples of non-compliances include violations of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act and its associated Regulations involving the safety of pipelines and facilities, pipeline integrity, environmental protection, emergency management and security, and damage prevention.

Our Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process outlines the way we receive, track and handle confidential disclosures regarding CER-regulated pipelines and facilities.

The purpose of this guide is to provide the public with:

  • information regarding the CER’s Confidential Disclosure Process;
  • guidance regarding how to report alleged non-compliances by CER-regulated companies; and
  • an overview on how the CER facilitates, follows-up and closes out all reports of alleged non-compliances.

We encourage anyone with information to use this guide when reporting anything they believe is a non-compliance issue.

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CER Reporting Mechanisms

Information you submit via email or mail will go directly to the CER’s Disclosure Intake Unit, please refer to Enhancing Confidentiality for more information. Information submitted via mail or courier will be received by the CER’s Records Department and forwarded to the Disclosure Intake Unit.

All information reported will be collected, stored, and managed in a secure manner, including information that could potentially reveal the identity of a tipster.

You may submit information by either email or mail:

The CER has long encouraged the reporting of non-compliances associated with its regulated companies. We are committed to providing a safe, easy and anonymous way for the public to report information. A confidential report can be submitted by email or by mail:

  1. You may submit information by either email or mail:
    Download and complete the Confidential Disclosure Form [WORD 107 KB] and send a copy, along with any supporting evidence, to
  2. Mail or courier
    Print the completed Confidential Disclosure Form [WORD 107 KB] and mail or courier it, along with any supporting evidence, to the following address (please mark as ‘Confidential’):

    Disclosure Intake Unit
    Canada Energy Regulator
    210-517 10 Ave SW
    Calgary AB  T2R 0A8

Disclosures that are deemed to be emergencies will be re-directed to the CER’s emergency management processes.

Blowing the Whistle: Your Role as the Tipster

The CER defines “tipster” as the person who files a confidential disclosure report. Tipsters are not required to identify themselves, however, if you do not provide contact information, the CER will be unable to contact you should we need additional information, or to provide any update on your report.

You may wish to provide documents, images, photos or other relevant information to the CER to support your disclosure. The decision to provide such materials rests solely with you; it is recommended that you maintain a copy of all documents and materials submitted in connection with your disclosure.

Your role as the tipster is complete once you have submitted your report, unless you have permitted the CER to contact you for additional information. You will not be required to conduct, review, consider, or otherwise review an investigative step or any other activity. Decisions regarding CER compliance verification activities, courses of action, and dispositions rest with the CER alone.

There is no compensation in exchange for submitting information.

For more guidance on what types of information to include in your disclosure, see the section below on Guidance for Tipsters: Reporting Allegations.

Enhancing Confidentiality

We acknowledge that being a tipster can be difficult and stressful. This is why we do our best to ensure the confidentiality of those who report alleged non-compliances.

You will be asked to declare whether you would either like to remain anonymous or that you are waiving your claim to anonymity. You may provide your contact information, and consent to the CER contacting you or you may state that the CER cannot contact you.

If you choose to remain anonymous, the CER’s process maximizes confidentiality and security.

All confidential disclosures are initially received and reviewed by the CER’s Disclosure Intake Unit. The Disclosure Intake Unit is a small team of trained CER staff. They will first redact any potentially identifying information prior to distributing the report to members of the Disclosure Evaluation Committee. The Disclosure Evaluation Committee is a small group of CER staff who will review and assess the information provided and will make decisions on next steps.

All written disclosures, information regarding the tipster’s identity, correspondence to and from the tipster, and other documents that could reveal the tipster’s identity will be physically and electronically collected, stored, and managed securely. All physical and digital (electronic) documents are marked as protected documents.

It is important to note that in certain instances the CER may be required by law to provide information that could identify a tipster. While we do our best to maintain your privacy, absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. You will be advised in advance if there is a lawful release of information that could identify you.

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Confidential Disclosure Model: What Happens When a Tip is Submitted

The CER’s model for confidential disclosure has four distinct phases:

Receive – Dark blue icon in a yellow circle of a person receiving papers, Assess – Dark blue icon in a yellow circle of a magnifying glass over papers, Action – Dark blue icon in a yellow circle of a person wearing a hard hat and a person with a clipboard in front of them, Conclude – Dark blue icon in a yellow circle of a neat stack of signed documents.

  • Receive: the CER receives a confidential disclosure from a tipster. If the tip includes any information that could identify the tipster, it is removed before any action is taken. If a CER staff member receives a tip directly, they will forward the tip to the Disclosure Intake Unit to ensure the proper process channels are followed.
  • Assess: the CER will review and assess the disclosure provided and determine a course of action.
  • Action: the CER will take the identified action in response to the disclosure. Examples of action may include compliance verification activities (such as a field inspection, compliance meeting, or audit. Click here for more information on compliance and enforcement at the CER) or referring the disclosure to another lawful authority or regulator.
  • Conclude: all disclosures are then closed out either with or without an enforcement action. Examples for reasons of non-enforcement actions may include closing the disclosure on grounds of insufficient information, not falling within CER jurisdiction, not being in the public interest (considerations include timeliness, seriousness of the allegation), or at completion of the compliance verification activity.

Guidance for Tipsters: Reporting Allegations

The CER assesses all allegations of non-compliances brought forward through our Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process Guide. This guidance is to help ensure the information you provide is complete, so that we may act as quickly as possible.

Disclosures should provide specific details such as:

  • any actual consequences of the alleged non-compliance such as injuries, damage to property, damage to the environment etc.
  • the name of the individual or individuals alleged to have committed or are about to commit an alleged act of non-compliance.
  • identities of witnesses present or those who may have knowledge of the alleged act of non-compliance.
  • the name of the CER-regulated company(s) involved.
  • the name of the pipeline and/or facility involved.
  • specific dates and locations.
  • information about whether the alleged act of non-compliance was reported within or to the company.
  • information about how the company responded or failed to respond to a report of an alleged act of non-compliance.
  • reasons (if any) why the company was not advised of the alleged act of non-compliance.
  • whether the disclosure has been reported to another government agency or law enforcement.
  • other information such as documentation, incident reports, photos, etc.

Assessing the Elements of a Disclosure

The content and accuracy of the disclosure is important so as to efficiently process the allegation. The elements and factors that can affect the assessment of disclosures include:

  • Good Faith: Disclosures that appear to be frivolous, extortive or malicious will not be assessed.
  • Act of Non-Compliance: Activities reported must meet the CER’s definition of non-compliance (see Glossary of Terms).
  • Timeliness of the Alleged Act of Non-Compliance: Acts of non-compliance that are alleged to have occurred months or years ago may be more difficult to verify and prove. The sooner the disclosure, the better.
  • Quality of Disclosure: Disclosures that are based on second-hand information, vague accounts and generalities are generally more difficult to process.
  • Within CER Jurisdiction: Disclosures need to fall within the CER’s jurisdiction. If the matter does not, it may be concluded or referred to the appropriate lawful authority.
  • Public Interest: The Disclosure Evaluation Committee will assess whether it is in the public interest to act on the disclosure.
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Follow-up and Courses of Action

During the Assessment Phase

After conducting a preliminary assessment of the disclosure, the Disclosure Evaluation Committee will decide on a course of action. In each case, you will be notified of the result through your preferred method of contact (if provided in the form). The next steps could include:

  • Requiring Additional Information from the Tipster – If the Disclosure Evaluation Committee decides that it requires additional information or clarification from you as the tipster, the Disclosure Intake Unit will contact you via your preferred contact method if it was provided, and if consent for contact was given. You are under no obligation to reply to a request for additional information.
  • Alleged Act of Non-Compliance – Is Not Within CER Jurisdiction& nbsp;– If the alleged act of non-compliance is a matter that is not under our jurisdiction, the matter may be referred to the appropriate lawful authority or no further actions will be required.
  • No Follow-Up Required – If it is assessed that the disclosure is not suitable to justify compliance verification activities then it may be concluded.
  • Specialist Assigned for Compliance Verification Activity(s) – If the assessment is that the disclosure is suitable for a compliance verification activity, it would be assigned to a specialist. The specialist may be provided with an edited version of the original disclosure with all personal identifying information redacted.


  • Paragraph 6.3(1)(a) of the Canadian Energy Regulator Onshore Pipeline Regulations  requires regulated companies to have a policy for the internal reporting of hazards, potential hazards and near misses that includes the circumstances, in addition to those set out under the Canada Labour Code, under which a person who makes a report will be immune from disciplinary action. The CER has a mandate to review such policies pursuant to this regulation.
  • The CER has no authority to compel a regulated company to rehire a person that the regulated company has terminated.
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Glossary of Terms

Act – the Canadian Energy Regulator Act.

CER – Canada Energy Regulator.

Company – A company regulated by the CER. Companies regulated by the CER are required to seek authorization or approval for various activities and must comply with the relevant provisions of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, and/or other laws that apply depending on the company’s activities or facilities.

Compensation – A reward, financial payment, consideration, indemnification, offer of employment, actual employment, or any other benefit.

Compliance Verification Activities – Different types of activities used by the CER to verify compliance with the Act and its associated Regulations. Compliance verification activities include audits, inspections, and compliance meetings.

Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process – The CER’s collective operational, administrative, and strategic mechanisms to receive, assess, investigate, and conclude disclosures of alleged acts of non-compliance by regulated companies.

Disclosure – A confidential written report about a company’s alleged act of non-compliance involving the Act and its associated Regulations.

Disclosure Evaluation Committee – A team of trained staff whose composition will vary depending on the nature of the disclosure. The Disclosure Evaluation Committee:

  • conducts a preliminary assessment of the disclosure.
  • identifies critical issues that may require immediate action.
  • if required, requests additional information from the tipster. A request for additional information from the tipster will remain open for a period of three weeks.
  • determines the seriousness of the alleged act of non-compliance.
  • identifies specific allegations of non-compliance.
  • determines whether there is sufficient information to conduct compliance verification activities.
  • identifies any other matters that should be addressed as a result of the disclosure.
  • determines if an alleged act of non-compliance falls within CER jurisdiction.

Disclosure Intake Unit – A small team of trained staff which acts as the main point of contact between the CER and the tipster.

Emergency – An event, or imminent event, outside the scope of normal operations that:

  • poses a clear and present significant threat to the health or safety of people, property, or the environment.
  • has caused serious injury to any person.
  • requires prompt coordination of resources to protect the health or safety of people, property or the environment to limit actual or imminent harm.

Good Faith – A reasonable belief that an act of non-compliance actually occurred. A good faith disclosure to the CER is neither frivolous, extortive, nor is it simply a report of an occupational grievance.

Non-Compliance – A contravention of the Act or a Regulation made pursuant to the Act.

Personal Information – Personal information as defined in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

Reprisal – Any measure taken or directed against a tipster because that tipster sought advice about making a disclosure, made a disclosure, co-operated in an investigation, declined to participate in an act of non-compliance. Reprisals include adverse and unwarranted employment action such as:

  • a dismissal, layoff, suspension, demotion or transfer, discontinuation or elimination of a job, change of job location, reduction in wages, changes in hours of work or reprimand;
  • unwarranted discipline;
  • any measure, other than one mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b), that adversely affects a person’s employment or working conditions such as harassment, bullying, shaming, or shunning; and
  • a threat to take any of the measures mentioned in paragraph (a) to (c).

Specialist – An employee of the CER who is skilled, trained, and responsible for conducting compliance verification activities.

Tipster – A person who provides the CER with a confidential disclosure of an alleged act of non-compliance. A tipster may remain anonymous.

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