When you think about Ontario, you might think about Canada’s biggest city. Or your mind might wander to the beautiful lakes. Farming, on the other hand, usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind and you might be surprised to know that almost 12.5 million acres of the province are classified as farmland.
In Ontario, just like in the rest of Canada, many federally regulated pipelines run through farms. For the most part, landowners and pipeline companies work together to make sure each one gets what they need. But like any relationship, sometimes there are bumps in the road.
One time, a farmer in Ontario came to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), formerly known as the National Energy Board, for help. The pipeline company that operated on his land, fenced off an area of the right-of-way. The right-of-way is the area around the pipeline that companies use to maintain and operate a pipeline.
The farmer said the fence made it so he couldn’t farm the land alongside the fence. The company said the fence was needed to keep people and equipment safe.
“They weren’t seeing eye-to-eye,” says, Sam, a socio-economic and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) specialist at the CER. “The farmer came to us for help.”
After speaking with Sam, both the farmer and the company agreed to work together to find a solution. The company came and met with the farmer at his house. Sam was there to facilitate the meeting and make sure each side got a chance to be heard.
Sitting across the table from each other, both the landowner and the company were able to figure out a way to get what they needed. The farmer was compensated for the land he wasn’t able to use, and the company was able to keep the right-of-way safe.
“Our ADR process levels the playing field a bit,” Sam said. “It puts the power in the hands of those actually involved and that makes for a better outcome.”
The CER works to support landowners living and working near pipelines and powerlines.
Other ways we are working to do this include:
- Creating a Land Matters Advisory Service (LMAS) to help people understand and navigate the services we can offer related to land matters
- New powers to settle specific compensation matters where a company and landowner cannot agree on compensation
- Maintaining an online, interactive pipeline map so landowners and others can see the location of CER-regulated pipelines
- Making new information on compensation disputes and filing requirements for compensation hearing applications easily accessible on our website or through our library.
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