Commission issues decision on Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC request for confidential treatment

April 29, 2021

On Thursday, April 29, 2021, the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (Commission) issued its decision granting Trans Mountain ULC’s request [Filing C12675] to keep the names of its insurers confidential.

The Commission decided Trans Mountain has met the test for confidentiality found in the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act). Specifically, the Commission found that:

  • Sharing the names of Trans Mountain’s insurers could reasonably be expected to make it harder for Trans Mountain to get insurance at a reasonable price and prejudice its competitive position.
  • The names of Trans Mountain’s insurers are considered to be commercial information that should be kept confidential, as they relate to a commercial contract between the insurance companies and Trans Mountain.
  • The public has access to Trans Mountain’s insurance information, other than the names of the insurers themselves, including the amount of coverage for each insurer. They will also have access to the total amount of insurance coverage that Trans Mountain is required to have within its Financial Resources Plan.

This decision only applies to the currently operating Trans Mountain pipeline and not to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which is still being built. This is because financial resource requirements do not apply to pipelines that are under construction or are not in operation. The Commission’s decision follows a two-week comment period in March to hear from interested members of the public. In total, 30 letters were received, with 17 opposed to granting Trans Mountain’s request and 13 in favor. These letters can be viewed here [Folder 4081295] on the CER’s website.

The decision also notes that the Commission has previously granted requests from other companies for confidential treatment of information contained within their insurance certificates. The Commission applies the same regulatory requirements and considerations to all regulated companies, regardless of ownership, when it comes to transparency of information.

As a pipeline company with the capacity to transport more than 250,000 barrels of oil daily, Trans Mountain must maintain $1 billion in Financial Resources, to meet its obligations under the CER Act and the Pipeline Financial Requirements Regulations. These financial resources can include insurance policies; escrow agreements; letters of credit; lines of credit; surety bonds; and, cash or cash equivalents.

Trans Mountain will be given sufficient time to file its Financial Resources Plan, which can be until May 31, 2021 if the company notifies the Commission by its original deadline of April 30, 2021

The CER is committed to making decisions in a predictable way and within time limits, providing certainty to everyone involved and setting the conditions for sound projects that create jobs for Canadians.

The Commission of the CER operates similar to a court of law and makes decisions on a broad range of issues. Although it is a part of the CER, it makes it decisions independently from the CER and government departments like Natural Resources Canada.

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