Final Investigation Report on the 2021 Minell Pipeline Incident

March 16, 2023

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released its final investigation report on the 2021 Minell Pipeline incident. A farmer ruptured a natural gas pipeline in McAuley, Manitoba, while using a tractor to maintain a water drainage channel in his field. The pipeline did not have adequate soil coverage, creating a serious safety hazard. Thankfully, no one was injured, but ensuring an incident like this doesn’t happen again is a priority.

The CER has already taken action to help prevent incidents like this from happening in the future, including:

  • increasing the number of compliance verification activities we perform related to making sure there is enough soil covering pipelines;
  • increasing education around preventing damage to pipelines for landowners and regulated companies;
  • engaging with industry, landowners, and contractors to remind them of their responsibilities when working around pipelines; and
  • reviewing our current regulations, like the Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR), to see where we can improve in this area.

The CER also issued a Safety Advisory on the depth of cover in agricultural areas in April 2022 to remind regulated companies of the importance of having sufficient soil coverage over pipelines.

The companies we regulate are required to notify landowners and land users where agricultural activities may damage the pipe due to inadequate depth of cover under the Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies. The OPR also requires companies to identify and analyze all hazards and potential hazards, including those relating to the depth of cover.

We will continue to work with regulated companies, landowners, and equipment operators, so they know the rules they need to follow to work and live near pipelines safely.

Learn more about the steps you can take to keep yourself safe around pipelines.

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