Participant Funding Guide

Last updated: 23 December 2016

  1. What is the Participant Funding Program?
  2. Am I eligible?
  3. How do I apply?
  4. What costs are eligible?
  5. How much can I expect to receive?
  6. How will I know if I have been awarded funding?
  7. How do I access the funds I have been awarded?
  8. What happens if the obligations of my contribution agreement are not met?
  9. Whom should I contact if I need help?

1. What is the Participant Funding Program (PFP)?

The NEB’s Participant Funding Program (PFP) provides funding to facilitate public participation in certain hearings and environmental assessments of designated projects. The program is not intended to cover the full cost of expenses. Please note that PFP is not available for detailed route hearings

Regulatory processes eligible for PFP
Regulatory processes eligible for PFP

NEB Act public hearings:

  • Applications for Certificate of public convenience and necessity for a pipeline (s52)
  • Exempting orders respecting pipelines (s58)
  • Certificate of public convenience and necessity for an international or designated interprovincial powerline (s58.16)
  • Abandonment of an international or designated interprovincial powerline (s58.34)
  • Abandonment of a pipeline (s74.1d)

NEB Act or COGO Act hearing or and environmental assessments of designated projects such as:

  • pipeline with a length of 40 km or more
  • electrical transmission line with a voltage of 345 kV or more that requires a total of 75 km or more of new right of way
  • offshore platforms, pipelines, or exploratory wells
  • sour gas processing facility with a sulphur inlet capacity of 2 000 t/day or more
  • petroleum storage facility with a storage capacity of 500 000 m³ or more
  • facilities in a wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary

If a proposed project is eligible for participant funding, the NEB will determine the amount of funding (sometimes called the “envelope”) based on:

  • the size, location and possible effects of the proposed project
  • the range of issues associated with the proposed project
  • the number of Indigenous groups in the proposed project area
  • the level of public interest
  • the funding maximums in effect
  • available resources, as allocated in annual budget

Active funding opportunities and any applicable deadlines are announced on the website

2. Am I eligible for participant funding?

The following individuals or groups can apply for participant funding:

  • Indigenous groups (e.g., First Nations, Métis, or Inuit)
  • landowners or individuals living on or near the proposed project area
  • unincorporated non-industry not-for-profit group or association
  • incorporated non-industry not-for-profit organization;
  • other affected groups or individuals (e.g., community organizations that would be affected by the project)

Funding for hearings is conditional on applying for and obtaining intervenor status in the Hearing process. Obtaining intervenor status is a separate process with its own set of deadlines. You must apply to participate and become an intervenor separately from your PFP application. Information about the Application to Participate (ATP) process is posted on each project page on the NEB website, including when the NEB will begin accepting applications to participate and a submission deadline. You can also contact a Hearing Process Advisor by calling 1-800-899-1265 (toll-free).

The following groups cannot apply for participant funding:

  • for-profit organizations
  • industry organizations
  • groups of people with a direct commercial interest in the project
  • government groups (except Indigenous)

Even though these groups are not eligible for funding from this program, they may still be able to participate in a hearing.

3. How do I apply?

To apply for participant funding, you must complete the application form before the deadline announced in the table of Current funding opportunities. For step-by-step instructions, click on a section below:

Please send your completed application by the deadline using any of these methods:

  • email:
  • mail or courier:
    • National Energy Board
      Participant Funding Program
      Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
      Calgary, Alberta  T2R 0A8
  • fax: 1-877-288-8803

4. What costs are eligible?

The following costs are eligible for funding, provided they relate to eligible activities and enough rationale is provided in the PFP application form:

  • legal fees
  • expert fees
  • travel expenses
  • honoraria and ceremonial costs
  • other appropriate costs necessary for the proposed activity, such as rental of meeting room and collection, distribution, translation or purchase of information materials.

See Section 5 – Eligible Costs for more information about Eligible Costs.

In general, the contribution agreement allows for eligible costs incurred from the date the company filed the project application with the NEB to the date the hearing record closes. Recipients should also understand that at the time of applying for funding, there are many uncertainties surrounding the process such as timing of process steps and locations of any oral components. Delays from the original hearing schedule are fairly common and so recipients should plan for this in their spending.

No financial support will be directed toward:

  • costs that would have been incurred even if the proposed activity not been done e.g. general operations, salaries, and general administrative expenses.
  • cost that are not directly incurred by the recipient e.g. lost income.
  • capital expenditures, costs for construction, renovation of buildings and maintenance.
  • activities that duplicate information available to the public or the applicant. This includes information prepared by the NEB or the applicant.
  • costs that do not relate to your participation in the NEB hearing e.g. negotiations with the proponent, issues outside the NEB’s jurisdiction.

5. How much can I expect to receive?

The amount an applicant can expect to receive is a function of the following:

  • the eligibility and reasonableness of the costs requested in your PFP application
  • the funding envelope announced for the project divided by the number of eligible PFP applicants
  • the applicable funding maximum, (group or individual)
  • PFP’s annual budget (approved by Parliament).

Funding is limited and PFP is not intended to cover all costs associated with participating in the hearing. Eligible Recipients are encouraged to collaborate with others and seek out additional sources of funding. You may wish to contact other Intervenors to try sharing expenses.

The NEB has funding maximums on the total amount of funding available for each Eligible Recipient. Currently the maximum amount of funding is $12,000 for eligible individuals. The maximum amount of funding per eligible group is $80,000. These amounts are reviewed annually based on the NEB’s annual budget and the anticipated demand for funding.

The NEB establishes an independent Funding Review Committee (Committee) for each proposed project where funding is made available. The Committee usually consists of at least three people, including one person who works at the NEB and at least one person who is not connected to government. Committee members must be independent, which means they must have no interest or financial stake in the proposed project. The Funding Review Committee prepares a report recommending how to distribute the funds. The NEB’s Executive Vice President, Regulatory, considers this report in making each funding award.

6. How will I know if I have been awarded funding?

If you are awarded funding, the PFP will send you a contribution agreement. If you are signing on behalf of a group, you may be asked to demonstrate that you have authority to represent that group.

You must sign this agreement before you can access the funds you have been awarded. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the signed Contribution Agreement.

Awards are announced in Participant Funding Reports and under the proactive disclosure of contributions.

Decisions will not be reconsidered except in the case that an error was made.  If you believe there has been an error, you may request that the PFP conduct a review.  If an error was made and has a material effect on the amount of the award, the award will be adjusted accordingly.

7. How do I access the funds I have been awarded?

Please complete a Direct Deposit form [PDF 272 KB] if you wish to receive payments in this manner. Direct Deposit is reliable and faster than issuing payments by cheque and can avoid potential postal disruptions.

To receive payment for your costs, you must submit a claim form [PDF 198 KB] to the NEB's Participant Funding Program. Supporting documentation (e.g., invoices) is required to show that you incurred eligible expenses between the date the proponent filed the project application and the date the hearing record closes. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the signed Contribution Agreement.

Final Payment – The PFP will notify you of the deadline to submit your final claim, generally 60 days after hearing record closes. You do not need to wait for the hearing to end to request a final payment.

Interim payments – An interim payment may be made after some Eligible Costs have been incurred. Up to 75 per cent of the total funding award may be paid. The remaining 25 per cent will be held back until the final payment.

Advance payments – Advance funding is provided in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the NEB. Advance payments cannot exceed the recipient's estimated cash flow requirements for the current fiscal year or 75 per cent of the total funding award. To request an advance, the applicant must submit:

  • a written request stating the need for an advance payment and the impact of not providing the advance on your participation; and
  • a schedule of planned expenditures by fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).

It should be noted that an advance cannot be granted to cover expenses that have already been incurred. This situation requires an interim payment.

Recipients must submit a supporting a claim form [PDF 198 KB] by 31 March to ensure actual eligible expenses were incurred against the advance and the unspent balance is reasonable to avoid recovery. In cases where an initial advance payment has been made, supporting documents accounting for all expenditures to date must be provided before another advance payment can be made.

8. What happens if the obligations of my contribution agreement are not met?

Should you be denied Intervenor status or you choose to withdraw, you cease to be eligible for the financial assistance and your Contribution Agreement will be terminated.

If you fail to meet the obligations specified in your Contribution Agreement, without notifying the PFP and negotiating a modified set of terms, the NEB may deny future payments under this agreement, in whole or in part.

If the NEB finds that funding was awarded based on incorrect information provided by you, the PFP will advise you of the situation and:

  • specify possible remediation; or
  • deny future payments under this agreement, in whole or in part; or
  • terminate the Contribution Agreement.

If the NEB has made payments before it was discovered that the award was based on incorrect information, the NEB may request from the Recipient a reimbursement, in whole or in part. The amounts that the Recipient must repay constitute a debt owing to Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada and interest will be charged on overdue repayments in accordance with the Interest and Administrative Charges Regulations.

9. Whom should I contact if I need help?

If you have any questions about the Participant Funding Program, please contact a Coordinator by e-mail at or by phone at 1-800-899-1265 (toll free) or (403) 299-2790.

If you have questions on the NEB hearing process or require assistance regarding a specific hearing, please contact the NEB at 1-800-899-1265 and ask to speak to a Process Advisor.

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