Participant Funding Guide
Last update: 3 July 2020
- What is the Participant Funding Program?
- Am I eligible?
- How do I apply?
- What costs are eligible?
- How much can I expect to receive?
- How will I know if I have been awarded funding?
- How do I access the funds I have been awarded?
- What supporting documentation do I need to provide with a claim?
- What happens if the obligations of my contribution agreement are not met?
- Whom should I contact if I need help?
1. What is the Participant Funding Program (PFP)?
The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) administers a Participant Funding Program (PFP) to facilitate the participation of the public – and, in particular, the Indigenous peoples of Canada and Indigenous organizations — in public hearings under section 52 or subsection 241(3) of the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) Act and any steps leading to those hearings. The program is not intended to cover the full cost of expenses. PFP is administered independently of the public hearing
Active funding opportunities and any applicable deadlines are announced on the website.
Please note that PFP is not available for detailed route hearings.
PFP for large “designated projects” will be administered by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada as per section 75 of the Impact Assessment Act.
2. Am I eligible for participant funding?
The following individuals or groups can apply for participant funding:
- Indigenous peoples of Canada and Indigenous organizations with a direct interest in the project, impact on claims or rights, and/or providing traditional knowledge. Such as First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Tribal Council.
- Individuals with a direct local interest in the project. Such as a landowner or land user, even if they operate a non-energy business. Landowners will be treated as an individual regardless of the number of people that comprise the ownership (e.g. family trust, co-owners).
- Group of Individuals with a direct local interest in the project. Such as an unincorporated local community group.
- Non-industry* not-for-profit** group with a direct local interest or expertise on the anticipated effects of the project. Such as an incorporated environmental or landowner group, agricultural organization, condo board, board of trade or chamber of commerce, associations of municipalities or first responders. Provided the group does not represent the energy industry or has been created by a government statute.
- * Non-industry means not energy industry
- ** not-for-profit means non-profit or charity as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency
The following groups cannot apply for participant funding:
- Municipal, provincial and federal governments (except Indigenous) and government entities created by statute.
- Organizations in the Energy Industry (oil, gas, or electricity sector). Such as: upstream, downstream, shippers, pipelines, marketing, utilities, operators or direct service providers.
- For profit companies
- Landowners with a business that can reasonably be assumed to have the means to participate.
Even though these groups are not eligible for funding from this program, they may still be able to participate in a hearing or environmental assessment.
Funding for hearings is conditional on applying for and obtaining intervenor status in the Hearing process. Obtaining intervenor status is a separate process with its own set of deadlines. You must apply to participate and become an intervenor separately from your PFP application. Information about the Application to Participate (ATP) process is posted on each project page on the CER website, including when the CER will begin accepting applications to participate and a submission deadline. You can also contact a Hearing Process Advisor by calling 1-800-899-1265 (toll-free).
3. How do I apply?
To apply for participant funding, you must complete the application form before the deadline announced in the table of Current funding opportunities.
Please send your completed application by the deadline using any of these methods:
- email: PFP.PAFP@cer-rec.gc.ca
- mail or courier:
- Canada Energy Regulator
Participant Funding Program
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0A8
- Canada Energy Regulator
- fax: 1-877-288-8803
4. What costs are eligible?
In general, the contribution agreement allows for eligible costs incurred from the date the company filed the project application with the CER to the date the hearing record closes. Recipients should also understand that at the time of applying for funding, there are many uncertainties surrounding the process such as timing of process steps and locations of any oral components. Delays from the original hearing schedule are fairly common and so recipients should plan for this in their spending.
The following costs are eligible for funding, provided they relate to eligible activities and enough rationale is provided in the PFP application form:
- legal fees
- expert fees
- travel expenses
- honoraria and ceremonial costs
- other appropriate costs necessary for the proposed activity, such as rental of meeting room and collection, distribution, translation or purchase of information materials.
No financial support will be directed toward ineligible costs such as:
- Activities that do not relate to your participation in the CER hearing or environmental assessment e.g. negotiations with the proponent, issues outside the CER's jurisdiction.
- Services, studies or written materials that duplicate information already prepared by you, the CER, the proponent, or other public sources.
- Costs not directly incurred e.g. recipient to pay him or herself, lost income, facility or rental equipment owned by applicant, general administration fee.
- Duplicative payments e.g. costs reimbursed by other sources, individuals already in receipt of income for their time.
- Normal operating expenses such as rent, overhead, general operations, or salaries.
- Capital expenditures, costs for construction, renovation of buildings and maintenance.
Funding for public hearings is provided for the following eligible activities:
- preparing submissions for the hearing record, including Oral Traditional Evidence;
- coordinating the views of interested parties represented by the recipient;
- review of the hearing record, including the application submitted by the project proponent; and
- activities associated with preparation for and participation in the oral portions of hearings and any early engagement sessions convened by the CER.
5. How much can I expect to receive?
The Senior CER officer responsible for PFP approves the maximum award amounts for grants and contributions by recipient type prior to announcing the funding opportunity. Determining factors may include:
- the range and level of priority of initiatives that would benefit from funding as determined by the Regulator’s strategic and business planning exercises;
- adequacy of funding levels for similar funding streams based on feedback;
- comparable levels of funding offered by similar programs;
- the forecasted demand for all funding across the program; and/or
- the available annual grants and contributions budget.
The applicable maximum award amount will be communicated to applicants when the funding opportunity is announced.
6. How will I know if I have been awarded funding?
Funding applications are reviewed by the PFP Manager. For complex or unique cases, a Funding Review Committee may be established with internal or external members independent of the regulatory process. The PFP Manager drafts a recommendation report for the CER’s Executive Vice President, Regulatory, who makes the funding award decision.
The service standard is 80 percent of funding decisions are provided within 30 days of a complete application or application deadline.
If you are awarded funding, the PFP will send you a contribution agreement. If you are signing on behalf of a group, you may be asked to demonstrate that you have authority to represent that group.
You must sign this agreement before you can access the funds you have been awarded. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the signed Contribution Agreement.
Decisions will not be reconsidered except in the case that an error was made. If you believe there has been an error, you may request that the PFP conduct a review. If an error was made and has a material effect on the amount of the award, the award will be adjusted accordingly.
7. How do I access the funds I have been awarded?
Please complete a Direct Deposit form [PDF 324 KB] if you wish to receive payments in this manner. Direct Deposit is reliable and faster than issuing payments by cheque and can avoid potential postal disruptions.
To receive payment for your costs, you must submit a claim form [PDF 166 KB] to the CER's Participant Funding Program. Supporting documentation (e.g., invoices) is required to show that you incurred eligible expenses between the date the proponent filed the project application and the date the hearing record closes. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the signed Contribution Agreement.
Final Payment – The PFP will notify you of the deadline to submit your final claim, generally 60 days after hearing record closes. You do not need to wait for the hearing to end to request a final payment.
Interim payments – An interim payment may be made after some Eligible Costs have been incurred. Up to 75 per cent of the total funding award may be paid. The remaining 25 per cent will be held back until the final payment.
Advance payments – Advance funding is provided in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the PFP. Advance payments cannot exceed the recipient's estimated cash flow requirements for the current fiscal year or 75 per cent of the total funding award. To request an advance, the applicant must submit:
- a written request stating the need for an advance payment and the impact of not providing the advance on your participation; and
- a schedule of planned expenditures by fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
It should be noted that an advance cannot be granted to cover expenses that have already been incurred. This situation requires an interim payment.
Recipients must submit a supporting a claim form [PDF 166 KB] by 31 March to ensure actual eligible expenses were incurred against the advance and the unspent balance is reasonable to avoid recovery. In cases where an initial advance payment has been made, supporting documents accounting for all expenditures to date must be provided before another advance payment can be made.
8. What supporting documentation do I need to provide with a claim?
Please provide the following supporting documentation with your completed claim form [PDF 166 KB] to request reimbursement of reasonable eligible costs incurred.
|Eligible Cost||Required Supporting Documentation for Claim|
Professional Services – Legal fees
Invoice(s) should clearly indicate the following:
Professional Services – Expert fees
Invoice(s) should clearly indicate the following:
Professional Services – Staff
Supporting Documentation should clearly indicate the following:
Provide a completed Attestation [PDF 95 KB] to confirm individual is not in receipt of any other salary or direct income.
Honoraria for elders
Supporting Documentation should clearly indicate the following:
Provide a completed Attestation [PDF 95 KB] to confirm person is not in receipt of any other salary or direct income for the activity for which the honorarium is claimed.
For each traveler, you must indicate the following:
And provide supporting documentation as directed in your contribution agreement (e.g. receipts for hotel, airfare, vehicle rental, or taxi).The number of travelers is to be limited to the minimum necessary. Generally funding is provided for up to two (2) travelers per participation activity (hearing, open house, oral traditional evidence, technical conference). Where the total number of travelers is greater, supporting justification must be provided.
Invoice(s) or receipt(s) should clearly indicate the following:
In the case of food for meetings, please refer to Rates for PFP Reimbursement of Travel and Meals for maximum reimbursement rates and provide:
DO NOT include any meals already claimed under travel expenses.
9. What happens if the obligations of my contribution agreement are not met?
If you fail to meet the obligations specified in your Contribution Agreement, without notifying the PFP and negotiating a modified set of terms, the CER may deny future payments under this agreement, in whole or in part.
For hearings, should you be denied Intervenor status or you choose to withdraw, you cease to be eligible for the financial assistance and your Contribution Agreement will be terminated.
If the CER finds that funding was awarded based on incorrect information provided by you, the PFP will advise you of the situation and:
- specify possible remediation; or
- deny future payments under this agreement, in whole or in part; or
- terminate the Contribution Agreement.
If the CER has made payments before it was discovered that the award was based on incorrect information, the CER may request from the Recipient a reimbursement, in whole or in part. The amounts that the Recipient must repay constitute a debt owing to Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada and interest will be charged on overdue repayments in accordance with the Interest and Administrative Charges Regulations.
10. Whom should I contact if I need help?
If you have any questions about the Participant Funding Program, please contact a Coordinator by e-mail at PFP.PAFP@cer-rec.gc.ca or by phone at 1-800-899-1265 (toll free) or (403) 299-2790.
If you have questions on the CER hearing process or require assistance regarding a specific hearing, please contact the CER at 1-800-899-1265 and ask to speak to a Process Advisor.
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