On Wednesday, Aug. 28, 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
Reporting Unauthorized Activities
Unauthorized excavation, construction, and vehicular crossings near pipelines have the potential to cause unintended damage. To protect the safety of people and the environment, there are rules to follow when working near pipelines and everyone has a role to play.
Pipeline Companies: Are responsible for informing the public about how to work safely around pipelines.
The Public: Is responsible for following the safety laws and requirements when working around pipelines.
The Regulator: The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) is responsible for promoting and encouraging improvements in safe work practices around pipelines. The CER promotes education and awareness as the primary tools for safe practices around pipelines.
The CER’s response to reports of unauthorized activities will:
- continue to use education and awareness as the primary tools to address unauthorized activities;
- use formal compliance and enforcement tools, when required, to ensure public safety and environmental protection;
- hold persons and / or companies accountable for safety by addressing underlying causes of unauthorized activities to prevent future unsafe work around pipelines;
- provide a consistent and effective response to reports of unauthorized activities; and
- encourage parties to learn from unauthorized activities and address gaps to prevent events that could put people and the environment at risk.
Reporting an unauthorized activity
The National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, s.11(1) directs all CER-regulated pipeline companies to report:
- every contravention of the National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations;
- all damage to its pipe caused or identified during the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, the operation, maintenance or removal of a facility, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the pipeline; and
- any activity related to the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across a pipeline that the pipeline company considers could impair the safety or security of the pipe.
Regulated companies should notify the CER of the unauthorized activity using the online event reporting system (OERS) to submit the preliminary unauthorized activity report immediately or within 24 hours of discovery.
The regulated pipeline company is required to submit a final report in OERS for each unauthorized activity near a CER-regulated pipeline within 30 days of submitting the preliminary UA report.
CER Enforcement Policy
There are a range of possible responses to unauthorized activities. For example, the CER may seek a voluntary commitment to undertake corrective measures. The CER may also issue an Inspection Officer Order to address certain issues that were deemed deficient. Follow-up may include written submissions, meetings, or site visits. For each situation, the CER will carefully consider what, if any, form of regulatory instrument to apply, depending on what is considered to be the most appropriate way to address underlying causes and to promote safety.
The CER’s approach to enforcing regulatory requirements under its mandate is based on the principle of a compliance and enforcement continuum, which includes ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and escalating matters of non-compliance for appropriate action when required.
Where non-compliance occurs, the CER will take necessary compliance and enforcement action to bring companies back into compliance, and/or deter any future non-compliance based on a graduated enforcement model. The Enforcement Policy also provides guidance to CER staff, industry and the public on guiding principles, processes and tools supporting all CER enforcement actions.
To learn more, see the CER’s Enforcement Policy
For more information, email request to DPInfo@cer-rec.gc.ca or by mail to the CER at:
Canada Energy Regulator
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
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