Working together to protect Indigenous rights and interests

CER inspection in response to incident at Trans Mountain’s Sumas Pump Station benefits from collaboration with Indigenous Monitors

Coastal landscape of British Columbia

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) is committed to increasing Indigenous participation in our regulatory oversight of Canada’s energy infrastructure.

Over the last year, half of all the CER’s compliance verification activities, such as inspections, company meetings and emergency preparedness activities for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project, involved Indigenous Monitors for the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (IAMC-TMX).

As a result, the 129 Indigenous communities along the Trans Mountain route are more directly involved in how Indigenous interests are protected as part of the CER’s oversight of Trans Mountain’s operations, construction activities and incident response.

Following the June 13, 2020, above ground oil release at the Trans Mountain Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford, B.C., the CER was on site for five days as part of unified command to oversee the company’s incident response. An environmental inspection was conducted by two Indigenous Monitors working alongside a CER inspection officer to ensure Indigenous knowledge and community perspectives were part of our oversight of the company’s actions and cleanup activities. This is the second time Indigenous Monitors for the IAMC-TMX have participated in a joint inspection following an incident on the Trans Mountain line. A joint inspection took place following an incident at the Darfield Pump Station, near Kamloops, B.C., in 2018.

The CER continues to monitor the cleanup and remediation of the Sumas Pump Station incident site and has now published the joint inspection report. The report offers details of how the CER verified the company was in regulatory compliance and what measures were taken to minimize impacts to the land, water and wildlife. Observations from the Indigenous Monitors include ways to further ensure traditional knowledge is considered and that Indigenous values are respected when responding to an incident and its potential impacts.

“Working alongside Indigenous Monitors and incorporating their unique perspectives in our inspections is helping us be a better regulator,” shares Marc Pauzé, the CER inspector who was on site for the two-day inspection. Marc also had the opportunity to listen and learn from leaders of the local Semá:th First Nation who toured the incident site. “Hearing their concerns directly and how these types of incidents can potentially harm their community, lands and places of cultural significance, provides us with real opportunities to develop best practices and improve our monitoring program overall,” furthers Marc.

The recent announcement of the joint agreement for improved monitoring for the Trans Mountain project builds on the CER’s commitment to advance Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We will continue finding ways for Indigenous peoples to both shape, and experience, how the CER works to prevent harm while helping keep Canada’s energy moving safely.

Date modified: