On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, the National Energy Board (NEB) became the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). For further information please visit our Implementing the Canadian Energy Regulator Act information page

Project Requirements and Conditions

Conditions are legal requirements that a company must meet to be allowed to construct and operate a project. Conditions are project-specific and are designed to protect the public and the environment by reducing possible risks identified during the hearing.

Most of the conditions attached to the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and the associated Orders require TransCanada Keystone to file documentation with the Board to demonstrate compliance. In some cases, the Board will need to review and approve the documentation before TransCanada Keystone can move forward. You can review these documents and any related NEB correspondence here [Folder 609772].

Conditions may require a company to submit documentation such as:

  • results of additional environmental and socio-economic assessments, species-specific studies, or traditional land use investigations;
  • engineering design details, and supporting assessments or information;
  • environmental protection plans;
  • mitigation and monitoring documentation;
  • construction schedules and progress reports; and
  • employee training programs and manuals.

The NEB evaluates the information provided by the company against the specific requirements that must be met for each condition and follows up with the company if more information is needed.

Although the Keystone XL Pipeline Project does not require any further approvals from the NEB other than ongoing condition compliance relating to the existing approvals, the company must obtain any applicable provincial or other permitting agencies’ permits, approvals or authorizations, if any are required.

There are also a number of steps that must be completed before oil begins to flow on the pipeline.

The NEB has imposed 22 conditions on this project that strengthen public safety, protection of the environment, and ensure continued consultation between the company, landowners and Indigenous peoples. You can read more about the conditions TransCanada Keystone must meet and how the NEB verifies compliance with these conditions here.

One of the conditions attached to the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for this project says:  Unless the Board otherwise directs prior to 11 March 2011, this Certificate shall expire on 11 March 2011 unless construction in respect of the Project has commenced by that date.

The company began construction on the project and has met this condition. In 2012, the company completed two horizontal directional drill (HDD) crossings of the Red Deer River and the South Saskatchewan River in southern Alberta. The HDD technique involves boring under the bottom of the water body and stringing the pipe through.

Approximately four kilometers of the Keystone XL pipeline has been constructed. The company also built some construction access roads and three crude oil storage tanks at the Hardisty, Alberta Terminal.

The NEB regulates pipeline projects for their entire lifecycle. If the Keystone XL Project is built, the NEB will be there to make sure that the project is safe and meets the conditions and commitments attached to its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

NEB Oversight

Throughout the lifecycle of the pipelines it regulates, the NEB uses Compliance Verification Activities to observe and gather information about the state of compliance in a specific area of a company’s operations, or to investigate whether companies are taking the appropriate preventive or corrective actions. Compliance Verification Activities include:

  • inspections (of facilities under construction or in operation)
  • emergency exercise evaluations
  • emergency procedures manuals reviews
  • formal compliance meetings (to check the progress of programs or corrective actions)
  • management system audits
  • reviews of post-construction monitoring reports

These activities are designed to determine if legislation and expectations are being followed, to assess if enforcement is required, and to provide feedback to a company. If a noncompliance is noted, follow-up is undertaken to verify corrective actions have been put in place and to apply appropriate enforcement actions if necessary.

As part of ongoing oversight of pipelines, companies are required to submit Operatios and Maintenance Notifications, if they meet certain criteria (such as working near bodies of water). Operations and Maintenance Notifications for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, can be found in the [Folder 961507].

Compliance and Enforcement Documents

Compliance and Enforcement Documents
NEB Action Recipient Region/
Description Documents
Board Letter and Order TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. Alberta Field Inspection, Environmental Protection, CVA 1516-431 2016-05-24
Letter and Order
Board Letter and Order TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. (AB) Field Inspection, Environmental Protection, CVA 1516-431 2016-05-24
Letter and Order
Investigation TransCanada PipeLines Limited Calgary (AB) Allegations of non-compliance 2015-10-30
Investigation Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Emergency Management Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Environmental Protection Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Safety Management Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Third Party Crossings Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Public Awareness Program 2014-03-31-24
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Operational Audit – Integrity Management Program 2014-02-24
Audit Report
Board Order TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TransCanada) on behalf of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Limited (Keystone) Portage La Prairie, Rapid City, Moosomin and Richardson (MB, SK) Lack of alternate power source for pump stations 2012-08-17
Letter and Order

Lifecycle Regulation

While most Canadians only hear about the NEB’s involvement at the beginning of projects, it actually regulates Canada’s federal energy infrastructure throughout its entire lifecycle. We do not simply make a decision on a project and walk away. When approved projects are being built and operated, we inspect and audit them. When a pipeline has reached the end of its usefulness, we hold a hearing to review abandonment applications to ensure that it is abandoned in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

In other words, the NEB regulates from “start to finish”, which can span the course of many decades. And we hold pipeline companies responsible for the full lifecycle of the pipelines they operate.

Here is the lifecycle of a regulated facility, showing the NEB’s involvement at each phase:

View larger PDF version [PDF 6815 KB]

NEB oversight throughout the lifecycle: Regulations – Conditions – Inspections – Audits – Enforcement. NEB requires companies to consult throughout the entire lifecycle, with those potentially affected.

  • Planning
  • Application to Construct and Operate
  • NEB Public Hearing Decision/Recommendation
  • Construction
  • NEB Decision on Safe Operation
  • Application for Leave to Open
  • Operation and Maintenance
  • Application to Abandon
  • NEB Public Hearing Decision
  • Abandonment

Contact Information

Contact Us

E-mail: KeystoneXL-Info@cer-rec.gc.ca
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Fax: 403-292-5503
Toll free fax: 1-877-288-8803

Media Inquiries

Dario Alvarez
Communications Officer

E-mail: dario.alvarez@cer-rec.gc.ca
Telephone: 403-690-0545

Media Relations
E-mail: media@cer-rec.gc.ca

TransCanada Keystone Contact Information

Telephone: 1-866-717-7473
Email: Keystone@transcanada.com
Keystone XL website: www.keystone-xl.com

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