Chapter 1: Introduction to the NEB

The National Energy Board (NEB) is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. It regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the public interest with safety as its primary concern.

The NEB is Canada’s energy and safety regulator. We oversee safety for the full life cycle of a project – from approval to construction to operation to abandonment. We work with communities, sharing the goal of making energy infrastructure as safe as it can be. We are a team of 7 Board Members, 12 Temporary Members and 460 full-time staff.

What does "in the public interest" mean?

The public interest is inclusive of all Canadians and refers to a balance of economic, environmental, and social interests that changes as society’s values and preferences evolve over time. The Board estimates the overall public good a project may create and its potential negative aspects, weighs its various impacts, and makes a recommendation or decision.

What type of information does the company have to file?

A company must follow the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act), applicable Regulations, and the National Energy Board Rules of Practice and Procedure, 1995 (the Rules) when it submits an application.

The NEB's Filing Manual provides direction regarding information the NEB would typically expect to see in an application. Applications for a new pipeline facility should include details about:

  • the purpose of the proposed project;
  • the company's consultation activities and results;
  • engineering design of the proposed project;
  • an environmental and socio-economic assessment (ESA) of the proposed project;
  • economic and financial information; and
  • lands information.

The level of detail that the NEB requires in an application to build a pipeline or other facility will depend on the type of project, the complexity or size of the project, its anticipated effects, and the level of public concern. The Board is responsible for weighing these factors before making a recommendation or decision.

What does the NEB base its assessments on?

Once an application is filed, the NEB begins the assessment of the project and determines the process it will follow. Our duties are set out in the NEB Act.

What are the NEB's goals?

The NEB has identified four goals it hopes to achieve. These are:

  • NEB-regulated facilities and activities are safe and secure;
  • The environment is protected throughout the lifecycle of NEB-regulated facilities and activities;
  • Canadians benefit from efficient energy infrastructure and markets; and
  • The rights and interests of those affected by NEB-regulated facilities and activities are respected.

How am I involved as a landowner or member of the public?

It is mandatory for the Board to hold hearings in certain circumstances. A public hearing can be conducted through either a written process or a combination of written and oral submissions. Smaller projects may not require an oral hearing, but those who are directly affected or have relevant information or expertise may still be involved in the written process by submitting letters of comment to the NEB.

How early should I get involved?

Some companies may ask for input from parties who may be potentially impacted by a project into the planning and design of a project prior to submitting an application to the Board. It is important that landowners and other affected people or groups (which may include tenants, concerned individuals, members of the public, Indigenous groups, or special interest groups) make their concerns known to the company as early as possible and stay involved in the process. It is a good idea to attend open houses and call information lines or visit websites provided by the company. The NEB will take the comments from participants into account when assessing an application.

Will the NEB still be able to help me once a pipeline is approved or built?

The NEB’s involvement in a project lasts for the lifecycle of the project. We are involved in the assessment of an application, its construction stages, during the long-term operations stage, and through the abandonment of a project when it is no longer needed. The NEB strives to be responsive to Canadians and holds companies it regulates accountable for their commitments made in relation to a project. The NEB is available to landowners even after a project is built and is in operation, if any issues or concerns arise. For more information on the Landowner Complaint Process, please see Chapter 11.

THE LIFECYCLE OF A PIPELINE The Lifecycle of a Pipeline - Planning / Public Hearing - Construction - Operation - Deactivation, Decommission or Abandonment

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