Electricity Filing Manual – Chapter 5 – Consultation

Table of Contents

The Board expects an applicant to have a company-wide Consultation Program that establishes a systematic, comprehensive and proactive approach for the development and implementation of project-specific consultation activities. A Consultation Program should be appropriately integrated into a company’s overall management system to provide protection for the public, employees, property and the environment throughout the lifecycle (design, construction, operation, maintenance, abandonment) of an IPL project.

The Board expects applicants will consider consultation for all projects. Depending on the project, that could mean carrying out extensive consultation activities or a simple consultation activity such as notifying a single landowner. Applicants are responsible for justifying the extent of consultation carried out for each application. Applicants may also make use of the Board’s publications to inform potentially affected persons about the NEB and its processes. On the NEB‘s website there is a detailed list of our publications and what each is used for. (See Guidance for Companies on NEB Publications under Participation & Lands.)

The following information should be provided within the application:

  • an overview of the policies and goals of the Consultation Program;
  • a description of the design of the project-specific consultation activities; and
  • a description of the outcomes of the project-specific consultation activities.

If no project-specific consultation activities are implemented, an explanation is also required. Each of these information requirements is discussed in further detail in the following sections.

5.1 Policies and Goals of the Consultation Program

Goal

The application outlines the policy and principles by which the project proponent will ensure that it adequately consults with, and respects the rights of, those potentially affected.

Filing Requirement

Provide an overview of the company's consultation philosophy, which should include, but not be limited to:

  • the corporate policy or vision with respect to consultation;
  • the principles and goals established for the project's consultation program; and
  • a copy of the Aboriginal consultation protocol, if established, along with any documented policies and principles for collecting traditional knowledge or traditional use information, if applicable.

Guidance

The Board expects an applicant to develop and implement a Consultation Program to anticipate, prevent, mitigate and manage conditions which have the potential to affect persons and groups.

5.2 Designing Project-Specific Consultation Activities

Goal

The application indicates why the design of project-specific consultation activities is appropriate for the nature of the project in alignment with the company’s Consultation Program.

Filing Requirement

Provide a description of the project-specific consultation activities and the factors that influenced its design.

Guidance

When designing project-specific consultation activities, applicants should consider that the Board expects consultation activities will, at a minimum:

  • be initiated as soon as possible in the planning and design phase of a project;
  • provide clear, relevant and timely information to potentially affected persons or groups;
  • be accessible to and inclusive of all potentially affected persons or groups;
  • be responsive to the needs and input of potentially affected persons or groups; and
  • continue throughout the regulatory process, as well as the construction and operation phases of a project.

When consultation includes Aboriginal groups, consider establishing a consultation protocol in collaboration with these groups that takes into consideration their needs and cultural elements.

Project-Specific Consultation Activities

Describe project-specific consultation activities. At a minimum describe the:

  • potentially affected persons or groups to be consulted, including:
    • local residents, landowners and land or waterway users;
    • government authorities; and
    • Aboriginal groups;
  • potential information needs of the persons or groups;
  • the process by which potentially affected parties can comment to the Board before the Board makes its decision;
  • methods and timing of consultation;
  • procedure for responding to issues and concerns; and
  • plans for future consultation and follow-up throughout the operations phase of a project.

Design Factors

Consider the following factors, where appropriate, in the design of consultation activities:

  • the nature, magnitude and areal extent of the project;
  • the potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the project;
  • effects of the project on navigation and navigation safety;
  • potential broad impacts of the project that may extend beyond the project boundaries (e.g., noise and air emissions);
  • all registered and non-registered interests held in the lands that may be affected by the project, which may include individuals or organizations identified through the consultation process;
  • the specific or distinct needs of various potentially affected persons and groups;
  • the location of Indian reserve lands, Métis settlements and traditional territories;
  • existing local community concerns or sensitive issues that may be exacerbated by the project;
  • the availability of emergency services;
  • the compatibility of the project with current land use and zoning;
  • the proximity of the project to urban centres;
  • different project routing, design and construction alternatives, and their potential impacts on persons and groups; and
  • any other relevant factors not included in this list.

Government Authorities

Ensure the appropriate government authorities (local, regional, provincial and federal) are included in consultation activities. In some cases, regulatory approval from another authority will be required. Contact that authority to determine their information requirements.

Table 5-1, while not exhaustive, identifies federal authorities that might need to be contacted for certain projects. This list is intended for assistance and guidance only – applicants are responsible for obtaining all necessary approvals for any project. The Board accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this list.

Table 5-1:
Other Potential Federal Contacts
Project Considerations Contact
Does the project occur in a National Park or National Historic Site or is it likely to affect a National Park or National Historic site? Parks Canada
Is the project likely to take place on, involve dredge or fill operations in, draw water from or discharge water to a historic canal administered by and operated by Parks Canada? Parks Canada
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Is the project likely to affect Indian reserve lands? Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Will the project occur on lands in the Yukon or the Northwest Territories that are under the control, management and administration of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and require the issuance of a Class A or Class B permit? Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Is the project likely to result in international air pollution? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Is the project likely to result in the deposition of materials into the marine environment? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Does the project occur in a wildlife area as defined in the Wildlife Area Regulations? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Could the project affect wildlife species at risk or their critical habitat or the residences of individuals of those species? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Parks Canada

Is the project likely to result in:

  • killing, capturing, taking or possessing a migratory bird or its nest or eggs;
  • collecting eiderdown or depositing oils or other harmful substance in areas frequented by migratory birds;
  • an effect on migratory bird habitat within a bird sanctuary; or
  • the release of a species of bird not indigenous to Canada?
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Will the project affect the natural flow of an international river (i.e., water flowing from any place in Canada to any place outside Canada) or affect the actual or potential use of that river outside Canada? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Is the project likely to result in the release of a deleterious substance? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Is the project likely to affect wetland function? Environment and Climate Change Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Parks Canada
Is the project likely to affect fish or fish habitat, affect the quantity or quality of water available for fish, or result in the destruction of fish by means other than fishing? Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Is the project likely to affect the operation of a railway company or property owned or leased by a railway company, or require the installation of telephone, electricity, telegraph or other wire services for a railway facility? Canadian Transportation Agency
Transport Canada if Railway Safety Act is involved
Will the project result in cutting timber or constructing roads in a Federal Forest Experimental Area? Natural Resources Canada
Does the project involve producing or holding explosives in a magazine? Natural Resources Canada
Does the project involve replacing or repairing a bridge? Public Services and Procurement Canada

Identifying Aboriginal Groups

Aboriginal groups potentially affected by the proposed project can be identified by:

  • considering the location of Indian reserve lands, Métis settlements, Métis or other Aboriginal populations, and the traditional territory that may be claimed by one or more Aboriginal groups;
  • contacting regional Aboriginal organizations or government agencies familiar with local Aboriginal groups; and
  • taking into consideration past experience working in the area.

Consider augmenting the application with local and traditional knowledge and integrating the information and knowledge, where appropriate, into the design of the project. Where local and traditional knowledge is obtained, provide an opportunity for the individual who provided the information to confirm the interpretation of the information and how it was used in the project design.

Methods and Timing of Consultation

Project information should be communicated in a format and manner that is appropriate to the audience. If feasible, determine the means of communicating project information in conjunction with the potentially affected persons or groups.

Consultation methods to inform the public on project details may include:

  • project brochures, either mailed or hand delivered;
  • periodic newsletters;
  • advertisements in local newspapers;
  • radio spots; and
  • a project web page.

Consultation methods which also provide direct opportunities for public input may include:

  • telephone calls;
  • open house meetings;
  • project questionnaires;
  • facility tours;
  • on-site meetings;
  • personal visits; and
  • workshops.

Consultation activities should be early enough to allow those consulted opportunity for meaningful input into project planning and for adequate notification of project activities. The timing of consultation activities should also be sensitive to seasonal and other schedule constraints of potentially affected persons or groups (e.g., harvest, trapping, hunting, holiday periods).

Addressing Input

Input refers to all of the information provided to the company, or its representative, by persons or groups during the project’s consultation program. To effectively address input provided by potentially affected persons or groups, the Board expects an applicant to incorporate in the design of its consultation activities a system for:

  • recording input received, and ensuring opportunities to seek to understand the full nature of that input;
  • considering the feasibility of and implementing any proposed changes to the project based on input obtained during consultation;
  • augmenting the application with local and traditional knowledge and integrating the information and knowledge, where appropriate, into the design of the project;
  • allowing opportunity for the individual(s) who provided local and traditional knowledge to confirm interpretation of the information and how it was used in the project;
  • ensuring input is responded to;
  • tracking how input has been considered, addressed and responded to; and
  • working with persons or groups to jointly address outstanding concerns.

5.3 Implementing Project-Specific Consultation Activities

Goal

The application describes the results of the public consultation conducted to-date for the project, with sufficient detail to demonstrate:

  • that all persons and groups potentially affected by the project are aware of: the project, the project application to the Board, and how they can contact the Board with outstanding application-related concerns;
  • that those potentially affected by the project have been adequately consulted; and
  • that any concerns raised have been considered, and addressed as appropriate

Filing Requirement

Provide confirmation that the information provided to potentially affected persons and groups described:

  • the Applicant's intention to apply to the Board for approval of its project, and
  • how they can contact the Board with outstanding application-related concerns before the Board makes its decision on the application.

Describe the outcomes of the consultation activities conducted for the project ,including, but not be limited to:

  • the persons or groups consulted;
  • the methods, dates and locations of consultation activities;
  • the information that was distributed to persons or groups, which in most cases will include:
    • the location, starting and ending points, route and main components of the project;
    • a map or maps at appropriate scale that show all major components of the project, the routing of the project, the workspace required, the location of proposed facilities such as pump and compressor stations, and the location of any major towns, roads, water bodies or other landmarks in the area of the project;
    • the proposed timing and duration of construction;
    • the potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the project and how those effects will be addressed;
    • how public safety will be addressed;
    • the emergency response information;
    • how comments or concerns raised by potentially affected persons or groups will be addressed throughout the consultation process;
    • how interested persons can participate further in the consultation process;
    • company contact information;
    • the proposed timing of filing the application with the Board; and
    • the NEB pamphlet (blue colour) Information for Proposed Pipeline or Power Line Projects that Do Not Involve a Hearing if the project is not subject to a hearing. (For hearings, provide the NEB pamphlet (yellow colour) Information for Proposed Pipeline or Power Line Projects that Involve a Hearing);
  • a summary of the comments and concerns expressed by potentially affected persons or groups;
  • a summary of the response made regarding each of the concerns or comments, including:
    • the measures taken, or that will be taken to address those concerns or an explanation of why no further action is required to address the concerns or comments; and
    • the methods and dates that the response was made to the person(s) who raised the concern(s);
  • how outstanding concerns will be addressed;
  • how input from persons or groups has influenced the design, construction or operation of the project;
  • details regarding discussions with Aboriginal groups, which includes each of the items listed above and:
    • the identity of all Aboriginal groups contacted, how they were identified, when and how they were contacted and who was contacted;
    • any relevant, non-confidential written documentation regarding consultations;
  • any concerns about the project raised by Aboriginal groups that you have discussed with any government department or agency, including when contact was made and with whom; and
    • if you are aware of any involvement of the Crown in consultations with the Aboriginal groups with respect to the project, describe the Crown involvement; and
  • the details and results of the consultation undertaken with all persons who may be affected by any changes to the project.

Guidance

Notice To Those Potentially Affected

The Applicant should provide confirmation of adequate notice by providing a description of:

  • the process by which potentially affected persons and groups can contact the Board before the Board makes its decision; and
  • the methods and timing of notification and consultation.

The Applicant should maintain records and be prepared to further demonstrate the adequacy of the notice that was provided to all potentially affected persons and groups.

See Guidance in Chapter 5.2.

For consultation programs that involve a large number of people, it might not be practical to list all individuals that were consulted. It may be more practical to group people and provide the rationale for the grouping. For example, where a group of people has a common concern, need or association, the application should describe:

  • the group;
  • its location(s);
  • its common concern, need or association; and
  • the authority of any representatives of the group.

Concerns

To close the loop in consultation activities and address concerns before they become complaints, the Board expects applicants to:

  • seek to understand the full nature of concerns expressed by persons or groups;
  • consider the feasibility of any mitigation proposed by persons or groups to address those concerns;
  • respond to concerns; and
  • work with persons or groups to jointly resolve concerns.

5.4 Justification for Not Undertaking Consultation Activities

Goal

The application provides justification of why it was not necessary to carry out consultation activities with respect to the proposed project.

Filing Requirement

Explain why consultation activities were considered unnecessary.

Guidance

Consultation activities might not be necessary if the applicant can demonstrate that one or more of the following scenarios applies.

Equivalent Consultation Program

In the event that the project has been the subject of a recent and equivalent consultation process carried out under the auspices of another agency, or conducted by another company or agency, the application should:

  • describe the alternative consultation activities;
  • provide evidence that these activities identified the project that is being applied for and its potential impacts; and
  • demonstrate that these alternative activities meet the requirements of this section of the manual.

For example, where a road widening requires that an already existing NEB-regulated facility be relocated, the responsible transportation authorities might conduct consultation activities for the road widening that includes consultation regarding the relocation of the NEB-regulated facility. The application to the NEB would then include a description of these consultation activities and how it meets the requirements of this manual.

For example, where a road widening requires that an already existing NEB-regulated facility be relocated, the responsible transportation authorities might conduct consultation activities for the road widening that includes consultation regarding the relocation of the NEB-regulated facility. The application to the NEB would then include a description of these consultation activities and how it meets the requirements of this manual.

No or Negligible Environmental or Socio-economic Effects

Applicants will be conducting environmental and socio-economic assessments of the project in accordance with the requirements of the NEB Act, the CEAA 2012 and this manual (see Chapter 6). Through this assessment process, applicants will determine the potential adverse effects of the project. If the project's potential environmental and socio-economic effects are negligible, public consultation activities might be unnecessary.

As described in Chapter 5.2, the nature of the project and its potential environmental and socio-economic effects should be factored into the design of project-specific consultationactivities. A project with negligible effects might exist where the following conditions are met:

  • the land acquisition process is complete and landowner concerns have been addressed;;
  • there are no residents near the proposed project;
  • no other land uses or waterway uses or interests would be affected;
  • the proposed project is of a small scale and is localized;
  • all construction is to occur on previously disturbed land;
  • there is no potential for an impact on navigation;
  • there is no potential for traditional use activities to be affected by the project;
  • there is no potential for cumulative environmental effects; and
  • any environmental or socio-economic effects associated with the construction and operation of the project would be localized to the project site, of short duration, reversible and negligible in magnitude.

FYI - Reminders...

Filing Requirements concerning landowner notification and land acquisition are outlined in Chapter 8.

Be sure to demonstrate how any environmental and socio-economic effects of the project are negligible.

Even when the effects of the project may be negligible, applicants must still conduct an environmental and socio-economic assessment of the project, in accordance with the requirements of the NEB Act, the CEA Act, 2012 and as outlined in this manual (see Chapter 6).

Facilities within Company Owned or Leased Lands

The application is a facilities application that relates to:

  • work within the confines of land the applicant owns or leases (not including land upon which the applicant holds an easement only), except where those facilities or activities:
    • relate to an increase in the storage or disposal of toxic substances;
    • could result in increased noise emissions;
    • could result in a change in the visual landscape;
    • could result in environmental or socio-economic impacts on adjacent lands or parties;
    • could result in increased emissions of air contaminants; or
    • could result in local nuisance, including the potential for increased dust or traffic.

Work Performed as Part of a Contingency Plan

Consultation activities may not be feasible if contingency repairs must be conducted immediately or on short notice as part of emergency work. This may occur to repair damage to project facilities resulting from an accident or incident, and for which public safety and environmental protection would be compromised if emergency repairs were delayed.

5.5 Notification of Physically Affected Third Parties

Notification of physically affected third parties is normally required when the outcome of the application might produce physical impacts to their systems or facilities, including:

  • reliability or safety of other provinces' power systems or the regional bulk power system;
  • reliability or safety of electrical service to other local Canadian system users;
  • interference with the operation of others' systems or facilities;
  • unintended/unwanted voltages or currents; and
  • audible noise or TV/Radio/Wireless communications interference.

The Board should be assured that all such third parties who could be affected by the decision are aware of the application and have had the opportunity to comment should they wish to do so.

Goal

The application provides sufficient information to demonstrate that all third parties whose systems or facilities could potentially be physically affected by the outcome of the application, have been provided with an opportunity to comment on the project and that any such comments have been considered.

Filing Requirements

  1. The application should confirm that all third parties whose systems or facilities could potentially be physically affected by the outcome of the application have been notified and should include:
    • the method used to notify those parties; and
    • when the parties were notified.
  2. The application should provide details regarding the concerns of third parties. This might include:
    • confirmation that no concerns were raised;
    • confirmation that concerns raised have been resolved; or
    • a list of the third parties who have outstanding concerns and a discussion of their unresolved concerns.
  3. The application should list the self-identified interested third parties and confirm they have been notified.
  4. The application should provide an explanation in the event that notification of such third parties was considered unnecessary.

Guidance

Identifying Appropriate Physically Affected Third Parties

Third parties who should be included are those whose systems or facilities could potentially be physically affected by the outcome of an application. The following are examples of when you should consider certain third parties to be affected by an application:

  • Consider the appropriate NERC Regional Reliability Corporation as affected when the IPL will interconnect networked transmission-level system elements and (i) be energized at 100 kv or greater or (ii) would be considered a "critical facility" pursuant to NERC's policies and guidelines;
  • Consider any pipelines, other power lines, railway or other utility facilities as potentially affected if they cross over or under the IPL, or parallel it in any appreciable manner for any appreciable distance;
  • Consider any TV/radio/wireless communications facilities, including individuals' antennae, as potentially affected when they are within reasonable proximity - for conditions as well as IPL design voltage and current - of the proposed line; and
  • Consider any fencing, buildings or other facilities in close enough proximity to the IPL that may experience stray voltage or current induced from the IPL.

Third parties involved in physical construction activities (e.g., contractors, material vendors, consultants) or that supply food and accommodation would not normally be considered to be affected third parties.

Notification

You should inform the physically affected third parties that an application has been, or will be, submitted to the NEB and provide a brief description. Notification should normally be done no later than the filing date of the application with the NEB. A copy of the application may be provided with the notification upon request or may constitute notification.

When determining the level of detail in the notification, you should consider the:

  • scope of the project;
  • potential impact on the third parties;
  • nature of any concerns raised by the third parties; and
  • resolution of concerns raised.

In general, the greater the scope of the project and the potential impact on these third parties the more information should be required. Further, more detailed information should normally be required when concerns have been raised by these third parties and remain unresolved at the time of filing.

Concerns

Where concerns have been raised and resolved, the application should include a discussion of the resolution when it would assist the NEB in making a decision. When providing a list of unresolved concerns, the application should provide any other information that would assist the NEB to understand the issues, including a discussion of any attempts to reach agreement, such as a summary of the consultative process that was used prior to filing the application.

Self-identified, Interested Third Parties

Self-identified, interested third parties refers to third parties who have indicated to the applicant that they have an interest in the application or one or more types of applications filed with the NEB.

Whether any third parties could be affected by the application or not, the NEB expects that the applicant will notify all self-identified interested third parties.

When Notification is Not Required

Notification might not be required if the outcome of the application is not expected to result in any significant physical impacts on third parties' systems or facilities. For example:

  • The proposed IPL will be energized at a voltage insufficient to produce TV/radio/wireless communications interference;
  • The proposed IPL will be operated at a voltage and at power levels insufficient to produce stray voltages or currents on existing surrounding facilities or produce interference with systems associated with these facilities;
  • The proposed IPL will be exempt from reliability standards set by NERC for bulk power system elements.

The requirements for consultation described in Chapter 5 continue to apply even if it is decided there are no additional third parties to notify of an application.

Date modified: