Implementation of Bill C-69

Discover how the NEB is preparing to become the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER).

  • Objectives of CER Act
  • New and Enhanced Role and Responsibilities
  • Changes to Regulations

The Government of Canada’s Bill C-69 proposes to repeal the National Energy Board Act and replace it with the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) Act, to establish the Canadian Energy Regulator. Although the CER Act would introduce some unique new elements, our job as Canada’s energy regulator will fundamentally remain the same. We will continue to regulate pipelines, power lines, energy development and trade on behalf of Canadians in a way that protects the public and the environment, while supporting efficient markets. 

With decades of experience regulating energy projects in the Canadian public interest, as well as a history of successfully implementing legislative changes, we are in a strong position to effectively implement Bill C-69.

Some of the key themes and overarching objectives of the proposed CER Act are:

Timely and predictable review processes

The CER Act promotes timely and predictable decisions, consistency and transparency through legislated timelines and other measures. This builds on our recent work to measure and transparently report on our performance, through our Departmental Results Framework and other mechanisms.

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

The CER Act is express about the Government’s commitment to reconciliation and includes a range of ways to enhance Indigenous engagement and involvement. This includes the establishment of an overarching Indigenous Advisory Committee with a mandate to enhance the involvement of Indigenous peoples throughout the lifecycle of regulated facilities. This Advisory Committee would build on our existing work with the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees for the Trans Mountain Expansion and Line 3 pipelines. Another example of the Government’s commitment to reconciliation is the mandatory requirement to have one member of the CER Board of Directors and one Commissioner be First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

The CER Act also makes mandatory the consideration and protection of Indigenous knowledge in decision making. The NEB is taking part in a series of government-led workshops with Indigenous groups across the country to explore, and refine, the guidance and procedures the CER will need to have in place to address this requirement.

Early engagement and inclusive participation

The CER Act has a strong focus on meaningful engagement and inclusive public participation. This builds on our desire to imbed engagement into every aspect of the work we do. For several years we have been working to engage more deeply with Indigenous peoples and stakeholders, through more innovative and flexible means: prior to the adjudicative process, through our assessments, and throughout a project’s lifecycle.

Preliminary work is underway to define what the early engagement process will look like as part of updated adjudicative processes under the CER. We are taking into account existing best practices, as well as the proposed Impact Assessment Agency (IAA)’s stated objectives on early engagement. We have led preliminary workshops on this topic with the Land Matters Group, industry, and Indigenous communities. More details and opportunities for participating will be provided as information becomes available.

Strong safety and environment oversight

Our primary focus has always been strong safety and environment oversight and the CER Act would clarify and build on our work in this area. The CER Act would enhance and clarify Inspection Officer powers, including for search and seizure, bringing these powers into line with modern federal statutes.

In response to a long-standing concern of landowners, we established a robust framework to ensure that companies proactively set aside funds for pipeline abandonment. The CER Act would advance this framework to ensure companies remain financially responsible for orphaned pipelines at the end of their useful life.

The CER Act would expand our role and mandate, add responsibilities, and introduce changes to our organizational structure and processes, including:

A modern governance structure

The CER Act would clearly define roles and responsibilities among the Commissioners, the Chief Executive Officer, and Board of Directors, setting a clear separation between the organization’s adjudication and management functions. Through regulations, the governance structure would allow certain technical or administrative decisions to be made by Designated Officers, instead of Commissioners.

Addressing Land Matters

Under the CER Act, the CER would be responsible for developing an approach for addressing land compensation disputes, which are currently conducted by Natural Resources Canada. Also, building upon existing services, a new land matters advisory service would be established to provide assistance to landowners and other stakeholders in navigating the Canadian Energy Regulator’s processes.  So far, we have undertaken research on best practices in these areas and have met with the Land Matters Group to collect their input.

Updated project review processes

The NEB has always assessed the potential environmental, socio-economic and health impacts of the projects we regulate, as well as the impacts on Indigenous rights, and all relevant economic and safety considerations. The new project review process envisioned in the CER Act would set out an explicit and broad list of factors to consider in the review of project applications. The inclusion of explicit factors adds further clarity and sets a transparent framework for project assessments moving forward. Our filing manual will be updated accordingly. More details and opportunities for participating will be provided as information becomes available.

Integrated Impact Assessments

We are working with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to develop an efficient and effective integrated impact assessment process. With the goal of reducing harm and delivering better safety and environmental outcomes for Canadians always at the forefront, our sustained involvement in the impact assessment process will be essential for two reasons:

  • First, having conducted reviews of energy infrastructure for decades, including environmental assessments in our decisions since the 1970’s, we bring great value as an experienced, expert regulator. We provide specialized knowledge and expertise on a range of issues including: engineering, safety; project design; environmental and socio-economic impacts; and market factors; among others.
  • Second, lifecycle regulators play an important role in shaping project-specific conditions enforced within the broader regulatory framework. Project-specific conditions are designed during the assessment phase to reduce possible risks over the lifecycle of a project.

The CER would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing condition compliance within this larger regulatory framework. It is important that these conditions can function as intended, and the link between assessments and condition compliance is critical. One informs and helps shape the other, ultimately leading to better safety and environmental outcomes.

Regulations under the CER Act

To ensure continuity in regulatory processes, existing regulations would remain in effective with the coming into force of the new CER Act. The following regulations are being amended or developed to fully implement the new CER Act. The NEB is currently consulting with Indigenous peoples and stakeholders to develop these regulations, which include the:

  • Power Line Damage Prevention Regulations
  • Designated Officer Regulations
  • Time Management Regulations
  • Transitional Cost Recovery Regulations

We also intend to consult on interim filing guidance for CER-led assessment processes. More information on these consultations will be provided in the coming weeks. See the Government of Canada website for further information on past and current consultations and discussion papers.

In addition to the regulations above, preliminary work is underway on the development of a regulatory tool that will address the apportionment of costs directly incurred by parties working near CER-regulated pipelines. These could relate to crossings, construction, or ground disturbances authorized under section 335 (damage prevention) of the Act. NEB staff have begun early engagement with key stakeholders to scope this regulatory project.

Next steps

We are diligently readying our organization and will be ready to implement the CER Act upon coming into force.

We encourage you to check this page often as further opportunities to engage in those preparations will be posted to this site.

For further information about these initiatives, contact Mod.questions@neb-one.gc.ca.

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