Before a company submits an application to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER ) for a federally regulated project such as a pipeline, it initiates an early engagement process. This includes sending information packages to those determined to be directly affected by the project. The CER expects companies to carry out meaningful engagement, giving the company the opportunity to get to know the concerns landowners have about the project on their land. The CER also expects companies to have an engagement program that helps anticipate, reduce or prevent conditions that might affect landowners.
In many cases, companies will notify the CER in advance that it intends to file an application, including applications for pipeline certificates and pipeline orders. This gives the CER opportunity to give input to the company on their engagement activities. The company then submits its application to the CER.
Landowners affected by the project will receive notification from the company when the application has been filed with the CER. Landowners who have specific concerns about a proposed project can submit a statement of concern within 30 days of the application being filed with the CER. A form is available for landowners who wish to submit their concerns.
More information on the CER’s early engagement process is available in the Early Engagement Guide.
The CER is required to hold a public hearing for pipeline projects that are more than 40 kilometres in length and may hold hearings for other projects as well. If you are interested in participating in a hearing, you have the option to participate as a commenter or as an intervenor. As a commenter, you would submit your concerns with no additional time or cost commitments. As an intervenor, there may be additional time and cost requirements as you may be called on to provide further evidence and information regarding your concerns. You can read a full description of the hearing process.
Whether you have raised your concerns through a statement of concern after an application has been filed with the CER or have brought them forward as a commenter or intervenor during the hearing process, all concerns are considered by CER decision makers.
If the CER decision makers recommend approval of an application for a pipeline certificate and the Governor in Council approves the project, a certificate is issued allowing the company to construct and operate a project within the approved corridor.
Before construction can begin, the company must provide information to landowners regarding the detailed route of the pipeline within the approved corridor. If you are a landowner with concerns about the route proposed by the company, you have the option to file a statement of opposition to the detailed route. This statement should include your contact information, identification of the land on which the detailed route is to take place, your interest on the land and any reasons you have concerns about or oppose the route. It may include concerns such as timing of the project, specific methods used to construct the pipeline, direct impacts to waterways and other activities on your land.
If a written statement of opposition is filed with the CER within 30 days, it will be considered by the CER’s decision makers and if accepted, a public detailed route hearing will be held. After considering all the evidence presented during a detailed route hearing, the CER may:
- approve the proposed detailed route
- reject all or part of the company’s proposed detailed route;
- or require more information from the participants of the hearing before making a decision.
CER decision makers can approve applications for a pipeline order without approval from the Governor in Council. For applications approved by an order, construction can begin without the company having to provide information regarding the detailed route of the pipeline. An example of a project approved by an order is a pipeline less than 40 kilometres in length.
A full Land Matters Guide is available through the CER with more detailed information for each stage of the application and hearing processes for federally regulated projects.