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

Fact Sheet: Emergency Management

Fact Sheet: Emergency Management [PDF 361 KB]

The NEB’s top priority is the safety and security of people, and the protection of the environment and property. The NEB has strict safety requirements companies must follow in order to operate their pipelines. These requirements touch on everything from the type of materials used to build a pipeline, to the steps that should be taken to protect people and the environment – all focused on preventing incidents and emergencies.

While the prevention of incidents is out top priority, the NEB also believes that being prepared for any situation is a critical part of energy safety. NEB regulated companies must have robust emergency management programs, that will anticipate and prevent incidents and manage conditions during an emergency.

Emergency Response Flowchart
Report Incident is discovered and reported to a 24-hour emergency response line. NEB staff are notified.
Assess NEB gathers information from company about the company to determine the level of emergency and appropriate response.
Respond On-site response begins. NEB staff monitor the clean-up response 24/ 7 on-site and from emergency management headquarters.
Review NEB conducts incident review under applicable Acts, or in cooperation with Transportation Safety Board.
Verify NEB verifies clean-up response, identifies what went wrong and takes enforcement actions as required.


For a pipeline emergency, please call the Transportation Safety Board’s 24-hour hot line at (819) 997-7887.

For all other emergencies related to a NEB-regulated company’s operations, facility or activity, please call the NEB at (403) 807-9473.

What is an Emergency Management Program?

An Emergency Management Program must include:

  • the identification and analysis of potential hazards
  • the evaluation and management of risks associated with all hazards
  • an up-to-date emergency procedures manual that is filed with the NEB
  • liaising with agencies that may be involved in an emergency situation
  • taking all reasonable steps to inform all persons who may be associated with an emergency response activity on the pipeline of the practices and procedures to be followed
  • having a continuing education program for the police, fire departments, medical facilities, other appropriate organizations and agencies and the public residing adjacent to the pipeline to inform them of the location of the pipeline, potential emergency situations and the safety procedures to be followed in case of an emergency
  • procedures for the safe control or shutdown of the pipeline system in the event of an emergency
  • sufficient response equipment
  • training to instruct employees on the emergency procedures and emergency equipment
  • capability to respond to an emergency, demonstrated through emergency response exercises

What happens if an incident occurs?

Incidents are reported by the NEB-regulated company to the appropriate 24-hour incident line such as Transportation Safety Board (TSB) incident line for onshore pipeline, the Spill Report Line for spills in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or in Canadian Arctic waters, or directly to the National Energy Board incident line.

As the lead federal regulatory agency, the NEB monitors and assesses the responsible company’s emergency response, validating that any clean-up is done correctly.

We conduct an inquiry into the incident, either in cooperation with the Transportation Safety Board, under the Canada Labour Code, or as per the NEB Act or the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA) as applicable. NEB inspectors and Operations staff will:

  • inspect the pipeline or facility
  • examine the integrity of the pipeline or facility
  • verify that appropriate clean-up of any contaminated areas is conducted
  • coordinate stakeholder and First Nations feedback regarding environmental clean-up and remediation through an integrated approach both during and after the emergency phase
  • confirm that a company is following its Emergency Procedures Manual commitments, plans and procedures and NEB regulations
  • identify non-compliances and initiate enforcement actions as required
  • coordinate post-incident follow-up meetings with the company to further enforce compliance and to share knowledge obtained during the emergency

The NEB has federal, provincial and territorial partnerships in place to deal with overlapping and adjoining jurisdictions, common regulatory objectives and the need for effective communication.

For more information on how the NEB responds to emergencies, please visit our website, and click under Safety and Environment/Emergency Management.

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