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Disclaimer, Executive Summary, Interpretation, and Abbreviations


The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) 2020 Remediation Process Guide (Guide) is our policy framework for the management and oversight of contamination and remediation related to CER-regulated Facilities and activities.

Additional Approvals or Permits

Some of the activities described within this Guide may require additional approvals or permits from the CER or other regulatory bodies, including from local, provincial or territorial governments. Companies must comply with applicable laws from all authorities including local, provincial and territorial governments.

Professional Judgment Required

Professional judgement must be exercised when conducting Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and submitting Remedial Action Plans (RAPs). Sampling and ESA requirements and procedures to be followed for any site depend on the site conditions, and must be determined by the environmental professional responsible for conducting the work required by this Guide. Environmental professionals responsible for conducting this work must consider ongoing improvements of practices and approaches in conducting ESAs and RAP submissions.

Document to be Updated

This document will be updated periodically. Companies must ensure they are always relying on the most up-to-date edition of the Guide and any documents referenced within, including manuals, guidelines, and legislation. This document replaces and supersedes the 2011 Remediation Process Guide.

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Executive Summary

As the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), we oversee our environmental protection mandate throughout the lifecycle of Facilities that are regulated under our jurisdiction. Environmental protection activities include the management of Contamination by companies operating Facilities that are under our jurisdiction. Companies must comply with all laws related to the reporting, management, remediation, and monitoring of contamination.

The CER 2020 Remediation Process Guide provides the framework for companies to demonstrate they are effectively anticipating, preventing, managing and mitigating the Adverse Effects of Contamination related to their Facilities. Find information within the Guide on our process for the submission of remediation process documents, and guidance on how to maintain compliance with our requirements.

Our first Remediation Process Guide was published in May 2011. The 2020 edition of the Remediation Process Guide includes the following updates:

The Guide:

  • is applicable throughout all phases of the project lifecycle, from construction to abandonment and to abandoned pipelines
  • provides clarity on expectations for Risk Management and reporting and management of Contamination that is encountered on Company Owned or Leased Lands
  • describes requirements for notification and engagement of potentially affected persons and communities, including Indigenous Peoples
  • outlines our approach to enhancing public transparency by the CER of the remediation process and information collected by the CER within the remediation process
  • provides reporting requirements for Company’s Off-site Contamination and Third Party Contamination
  • includes the template for the Declaration Letter to be signed by an Accountable Officer
  • describes reporting requirements using the CER’s online event reporting system (OERS)
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The following interpretations apply in this Guide.

Adverse Effect means the impairment of or damage to the environment or the health of humans, or damage to property or loss or reasonable enjoyment of life or property. (Canada Energy Regulator Filing Manual, 2020)

All Lands means Company Owned or Leased Lands, Right-of-Way or any other temporary or permanent lands required for the construction, operation, maintenance or abandonment of a Facility. All Lands includes lands occupied by an abandoned pipeline.

Company’s Off-Site Contamination means any Contamination that has emanated from the Company Owned or Leased Lands, company’s Facilities or Right-of-Way, to beyond the real property boundaries to property owned, leased, licensed or controlled by a third party.

Company Owned or Leased Lands means company owned, occupied, controlled, leased or licensed lands, excluding the Right of Way, on which above-ground energy infrastructure or Facilities are located or were formerly located (including but not limited to; pump or compressor stations, meter stations, valve sites, tank terminals or processing plants) that are within CER jurisdiction.

Contamination means the presence of a substance in soil, sediment, air, or water at concentrations (1) above background (normally or naturally occurring) levels, and poses an actual or potential hazard to the environment, including human health or (2) exceeding levels specified in applicable laws and guidelines.

Detailed Incident Report (DIR) means the submission required by the Canada Energy Regulator Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) section 52 following the notification of an incident.

Facilities or Facility means regulated Facility as defined in the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act) and which shall include abandoned Facility, as defined in the CER Act, as well as a pipeline, well, or abandoned pipeline as defined in the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA), and the Oil and Gas Operations Act (OGOA) (NWT) and for certainty, includes but is not limited to; pump or compressor stations, pipelines, meter stations, valve sites, tank terminals or processing plants that are within CER jurisdiction.

Incident means an Incident that must be reported under the CER’s Onshore Pipelines Regulations (OPR) and Processing Plant Regulations (PPR), or the Drilling and Production Regulations (DPR) under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA), or the Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations (OGDPR) (NWT) under the Oil and Gas Operations Act (OGOA) (NWT).

On-site Contamination means Contamination in, on, under or over All Lands.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) means the systematic process, as prescribed by CSA Z768-01, by which an assessor seeks to determine whether a particular site is or may be subject to Contamination. (Canadian Standards Association, R2016).

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA) means the systematic, iterative process, as outlined in CSA Z769-00, by which an assessor seeks to characterize and/or delineate the concentrations or quantities of substances of concern related to a site and compare those levels to established criteria. (Canadian Standards Association, 2013).

Receptor means the entity (e.g., organism, population, community, ecosystem, humans) that might be adversely affected by contact with or exposure to a substance of concern. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 2011).

Release includes discharge, spray, spill, leak, seep, pour, emit, dump and exhaust. (Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR)).

Reclamation means the process of re-establishing a disturbed site to a former or other productive use, not necessarily to the same condition that existed prior to disturbance. The land capability may be at a level different (i.e., lower or higher) than that which existed prior to the disturbance, depending on the goal of the process. Reclamation is not considered complete until the goals for Reclamation have been achieved.

Remediation means action to eliminate, limit, correct, counteract, mitigate or remove any contaminant or the Adverse Effects on the environment, including human health, of any contaminant. It includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. environmental site assessments; analysis and interpretation, including: tests, sampling, Surveys, data evaluation, risk assessment and environmental impact assessment
  2. evaluation of alternative methods of Remediation
  3. preparation of a Remediation plan, including a plan for any consequential or associated removal of soil or soil relocation from the site
  4. implementation of a Remediation plan
  5. monitoring, verification and confirmation of whether the Remediation complies with the Remediation plan (Adapted from British Columbia Environmental Management Act, retrieved on 20-04-2020)

Remediation Criteria means the numerical limits pertaining to substances in water, air, soil and sediment which are recommended to protect and maintain the environment, including human health, and may be subject to regulatory enforcement. The term Remediation Criteria includes generic Remediation Criteria and Site-Specific Remediation Objectives. (Adapted from Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, 2020)

Right-of-Way (RoW) means the strip of land acquired for which a company has obtained the rights for
the construction, operation, maintenance or abandonment of a Facility. This includes temporary workspace acquired for the construction, operations, maintenance or abandonment of a Facility. (Adapted from Canada Energy Regulator Filing Manual, 2020)

Risk means the probability of an Adverse Effect as measured by exposure of Receptors of potential concern to contaminants of potential concern. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 2011).

Risk Assessment means the process of evaluating potential Adverse Effects on the environment, including humans in response to Contamination. (Adapted from Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, 2020).

Risk Control means the process of decision-making for managing risk, and the related implementation, communication, and monitoring activities required to ensure the continuing effectiveness of the risk management process.

Risk Management means the selection and implementation of a strategy to control (e.g., reduce or eliminate) risk followed by monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the chosen strategy. This incorporates both scientific (risk assessment) and non-scientific (e.g., social, economic) considerations. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 2011).

Site Characterization and Delineation means a process that determines the magnitude, nature, degree, and lateral and vertical extent of Contamination.

Site-Specific Remediation Objectives means the numerical limits that establish Remediation targets for a particular site by taking into account site-specific conditions. Site-Specific Remediation Objectives may be adapted from existing generic Remediation Criteria or developed using a Risk Assessment approach.

Survey means the geospatial (GPS) coordinates and a Survey drawing provided to show the area of a site with Contamination, and includes boundaries, contours, elevations, improvements, and its relationship to the surrounding land in accordance with accepted coordinates. A Survey may include other elements that the CER requires.

Third Party Contamination means On-Site Contamination that can be established through confirmed analytical sampling or fingerprinting, or other such methods that the CER considers acceptable, that can be shown to be not emanating or migrating from the company’s Facilities or Company Owned or Leased Lands or Right-of-Way.

Work means construction, operations, Remediation, or any Work on Facilities or on or under All Lands.


  1. words importing the singular shall include the plural and vice versa;
  2. where a word or phrase is defined, its derivatives or other grammatical forms have a corresponding meaning; and
  3. any reference application laws, including legislation, regulations or guidelines in this document shall include any amendment, re-enactment, extension, replacement, modification, consolidation or repeal thereto.
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CCME Canada Council of Ministers of the Environment
CER Canada Energy Regulator
COGOA Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act
DIR Detailed Incident Report
DPR Drilling Production Regulations
EA Environmental Analyst
ESA Environmental Site Assessment
FCSAP Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan
GPS Global Positioning System
IR Information Request
NOC Notice of Contamination
OERS Online Event Reporting System
OGOA Oil and Gas Operations Act
OPR Onshore Pipeline Regulations
PPR Processing Plant Regulations
RAP Remedial Action Plan
RMP Risk Management Plan
RoW Right-of-Way
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