Land Matters Guide

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When you hear about a project being proposed on your land or on land in which you have an interest, you may have questions and concerns. The CER has produced this Land Matters Guide to help.

What you need to know

Below is a lifecycle graphic representing the CER’s regulatory oversight for the entire life of a federally regulated energy project (in this case a pipeline project). Click on the lifecycle headings to learn more.

Two people standing in a field surrounded by trees and
talking. One is male wearing a safety vest and holding a map. The other is female looking through a binder of notes.
They are in the planning stage of the pipeline lifecycle and are working together to plan a pipeline project.

Proposed Energy Project

Before the company can build a federally regulated pipeline, power line, or offshore renewable energy project, it must apply to the CER. The CER will review and assess the proposed project, including the company’s engagement activities and potential effects on people, property, and the environment. See how you can get involved by clicking on the topics below.

Early engagement

We expect companies to engage early about a project and demonstrate to us how it considered the information it gathered. Let the company know whether the project may affect you. The company will let potentially affected people and communities know when it files an application with the CER.

Crown consultation

We will consult with Indigenous peoples early and throughout our review process. The scope and nature of the Crown consultation activities will be tailored to the complexity of the proposed project and its potential effects, and the needs of Indigenous peoples.

Statement of concern

We rely on you to bring forward your concerns and views. If you have concerns about a project, you can send us a Statement of Concern within 30 days of the application being filed with the CER. Your concerns will guide the CER in planning its review.

Projects and hearings

The Commission of the CER assesses the project’s proposed design, construction and operation to make sure it’s safe, protects people and the environment, and it is in the public’s interest. The CER may hold a public hearing for facilities applications. If you have questions about the hearing process, contact a process advisor.

Detailed route

Once a project is approved, it may be necessary for the Commission to determine the best possible detailed route of the pipeline and the most appropriate methods and timing of its construction. To oppose the proposed detailed route, you will need to file a written statement of opposition with the CER.

Right-of-entry orders

If a company is unable to reach a land agreement for access to lands required for an authorized project, it may apply to the CER for a right of entry order. If you choose to object, you must file an Objection to an Application for Right of Entry within 10 days after receiving a copy of the company’s application.

Land agreements

The company must tell you what land it is planning to use to construct, operate, and maintain its proposed project. It may propose a land agreement with you to confirm the lands the company can work on.

Land use compensation

The company must compensate you for land acquisition, restricted use of lands, or damages caused by its activities.

 

Construction

Construction

Before the company can build a federally regulated pipeline, power line, or offshore renewable energy project, it must apply to the CER. The CER will review and assess the proposed project, including the company’s engagement activities and potential effects on people, property, and the environment. See how you can get involved by clicking on the topics below.

Damage prevention

If you live or work near a pipeline, find out how to safely do your activities. Before you dig near a pipeline, get the company’s consent. Visit clickbeforeyoudig.com to locate buried pipelines or utility lines.

Compliance and enforcement

CER inspection officers regularly go out into the field to verify and enforce requirements and standards in place to keep people and the environment protected.

Emergency management

In an emergency, we make sure companies respond in a way that protects people, property, and the environment. We expect them to take the action needed to stop spills, manage the incident, and clean up and pay for any damage done.

Operation

Operation

The CER continues to monitor and assess operations. We do this through regular inspections, audits, and incident investigations to make sure the pipeline operator company complies with regulations that protect public safety, property, and the environment. Where Indigenous peoples have interests in the area of a project, the company regulated by the CER CER-regulated company may work with them so they can be involved in aspects of monitoring a project. Visit the program pages below to learn more.

Damage prevention

If you live or work near a pipeline, find out how to safely do your activities. Before you dig near a pipeline, get the company’s consent. Visit clickbeforeyoudig.com to locate buried pipelines or utility lines.

Compliance and enforcement

CER inspection officers regularly go out into the field to verify and enforce requirements and standards in place to keep people and the environment protected.

Emergency management

In an emergency, we make sure companies respond in a way that protects people, property, and the environment. We expect them to take the action needed to stop spills, manage the incident, and clean up and pay for any damage done.

End of Life

End of Life

The CER requires the company to make sure all necessary precautions are taken for safe decommissioning or abandonment of the pipeline or facility. This includes issues like use of the land, ground settling, soil erosion and land restoration. If a company decides to take a pipeline out of service temporarily (decommission) or permanently (abandon), the operator must file an application with the CER. See how you can get involved on the pages below.

Decommission

This is an optional stage in a pipeline lifecycle that can happen prior to a pipeline abandonment. Decommissioning is when a company shuts down the operation of a pipeline, but service is still provided through other pipelines owned by the operator.

Abandonment of a pipeline

If a pipeline is abandoned in place, the CER continues to regulate the pipeline and requires companies to monitor and report on them. Even after the restoration work is over, pipeline companies have an ongoing responsibility to landowners and the public to ensure the pipeline right-of way and the associated facilities remain safe.

Services available throughout the lifecycle

The Land Matters Advisory Service (LMAS): If you have questions about land matters with respect to CER-regulated energy projects and processes, email LMAS@cer-rec.gc.ca.

Alternative dispute resolution: Any time during the life of a project, if you are unable to resolve concerns directly with the company, you can email ADR-RED@cer-rec.gc.ca to ask a specialist to work with you and the company to find solutions.

Complaint Resolution: If you are unable to resolve an issue with a CER-regulated company, facility, or activity on lands you use or own, you can send us a completed Complaint Form.

Related publications

The CER, Energy Projects, and You
 

Cover sample of The CER, Energy Projects, and You brochure

Download print (PDF) version or view online (HTML) version

The CER, Energy Projects, and Indigenous Peoples

Cover sample of The CER, Energy Projects, and Indigenous Peoples brochure

Download print (PDF) version or view online (HTML) version

Participating in a CER Hearing
 

Cover sample of the Participating in a CER Hearing brochure

Download print (PDF) version or view online (HTML) version

Features

Interactive pipeline map
 

Map of Canada showing the location of pipelines and data we have been collecting on incidents since 2008

An interactive tool to see exactly where a pipeline

Living and working near pipelines
 

Cover sample of the Living and working near pipelines video

Watch this short video to understand more about the risks of living and working near a pipeline and how you can prevent damage to pipelines.

CER Library
 

Rows of books on shelves of our library. Shows one way we give everyone access information.

Free access to CER publications, hearing materials, and industry related information.

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