Canada Energy Regulator issues financial penalties to Trans Mountain for 2020 workplace fatality

Evidence showed the company did not implement processes to keep workers safe

News Release
For Immediate Release

December 8, 2022 – Calgary, AB – Canada Energy Regulator

Today the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) released the full details of two separate Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) issued to Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain) related to a 2020 worker fatality on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).

The AMPs relate to Spread 1 of the TMEP. On the day of the fatality, Trans Mountain failed to:

  • take all reasonable care to ensure the safety and security of workers; and,
  • implement a management system and related programs, including processes for: 

The first AMP, for $76,000, was issued for violating section 6.5(1)(c) of the Canadian Energy Regulator Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) and not following Condition 2 of the certificate authorizing construction of the TMEP. The second AMP, for $88,000, was issued for violating section 6.5(1)(k) of the OPR. Trans Mountain has paid the total penalty amounts. The penalty amounts were calculated as required by our AMP regulations.

On October 27, 2020, the CER was notified of a workplace fatality on TMEP near Edmonton, Alberta. A person working on the project was fatally injured during the disassembly of a trench box.

CER Inspection Officers were deployed to the site and issued Inspection Officer Order No. RRW-001-2020.

This order prohibited all trench box operations by SA Energy Group while also addressing potential competency and training issues of Trans Mountain’s oversight of inspectors and workers involved in trench box operations across the entire project. Following that, Inspection Officers issued multiple Notices of Non-Compliance from two separate Compliance Verification Activities. The CER required Trans Mountain to improve hazard identification and training, among other corrective measures designed to keep workers safe before resuming trench box operations.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) led the overall investigation into the fatality given its role in provincial occupational health and safety matters. Alberta OHS has also laid charges related to this incident.

The goal of issuing a financial penalty to companies is to promote compliance with the Canadian Energy Regulator Act and regulations and to prevent similar incidents from happening again. An AMP is only one tool in the CER’s enforcement toolkit. Other enforcement tools available to the CER include Notices of Non-Compliance, Inspection Officer Orders, Safety Orders, and revocation or suspension of a company’s authorization to construct and operate a project. In addition to enforcement actions, we share what we learn with regulated industry so we can work together to find solutions and prevent a similar event in the future.

Quick Facts

  • An AMP is a financial penalty the CER can issue to companies or individuals for not being in compliance with the CER Act, regulations, decisions, permits, orders, licenses, or certificate conditions.
  • The regulations state how penalties are calculated and include a schedule of set base penalty amounts, as well as which criteria must be considered to determine the overall gravity value of the penalty, which can raise or lower the base penalty amount. For companies, the maximum possible penalty for a single violation is $100,000.
  • These are the second and third AMPs issued to Trans Mountain this year. Trans Mountain was issued an AMP in February 2022 based on evidence that its management systems were not adequate to coordinate and supervise contractors to protect the environment. Trans Mountain applied to the Commission of the CER for a review of that AMP, and a decision is pending.

Associated Links

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works to keep energy moving safely across the country. We review energy development projects and share energy information, all while enforcing some of the strictest safety and environmental standards in the world. To find out how the CER is working for you visit us online or connect on social media


Lisa LeBel
Communications Officer

Canada Energy Regulator
Telephone: 587-432-4663
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-299-3302
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803

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