Canada Energy Regulator’s Enforcement Approach Overview

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER)’s approach to enforcing regulatory requirements under its mandate is based on the principle of a compliance and enforcement continuum. This includes ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and escalating matters of non-compliance for appropriate action when required, using a Graduated Enforcement Response Model.

When non-compliances are observed, enforcement action is taken to correct the situation and ensure compliance. Enforcement is undertaken to:

  • promote compliance;
  • address non-compliance;
  • deter future non-compliance; and
  • prevent harm to people and the environment.

When selecting the most appropriate enforcement action, responses to non-compliances will be fair, predictable, consistent, timely and transparent based on the following considerations:

  • nature of the non-compliance;
  • achieving the desired outcome; and
  • applying consistent enforcement.

Graduated Enforcement Response Model

The Graduated Enforcement Response Model includes a variety of escalating tools, typically implemented in a step-by- step approach. However, enforcement tools are not mutually exclusive (except for AMPs and prosecution) and more than a one tool may be used as required. When selecting the most appropriate action to take, the CER will consider the nature and severity of the harm, or potential harm, to the public and the environment, the most appropriate tool(s) to use to achieve regulatory compliance within the shortest timeframe, and previous compliance history.

Graduated enforcement response model

Graduated enforcement response model
  • Corrected/Notice of Non-Compliance
  • Inspection Officer Order
  • Warning Letter
  • AMP
  • Board Order
  • Revoking or Suspending Authorization
  • Prosecution

The CER’s Enforcement Tools

Corrected Non-Compliance (CNC) and Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC)

A CNC and NNC are issued when a non-compliance is observed during a compliance verification activity. If corrected during the course of the inspection, and addressed to the officer’s satisfaction at the time of the inspection close-out meeting, this will be documented in the inspection report as a CNC. If more time is required, effective corrective action and a due date are issued in an NNC pursuant to section 108 of the CER Act.

Inspection Officer Order

An Officer, on reasonable grounds, may issue an order: a tool pursuant to CER Acts. An order is used to ensure necessary action is taken to address a contravention or a hazard to safety or security of persons, or damage to property or the environment. An order may also require that work be stopped until specified measures have been undertaken to the satisfaction of the officer.

Warning Letter (WL)

A Warning Letter (WL) is a non-statutory administrative tool used to elevate matters to the attention of senior company officials (typically, the designated Accountable Officer) or third parties, in order to elevate the seriousness of the issue, and inform of possible escalation of further enforcement action should the non-compliance re-occur.

Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP)

An Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) is a statutory financial penalty pursuant to the CER Act and Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA). An AMP is issued when compliance has not been obtained, harm is caused or is likely to be caused by the non-compliance, or in any other situation where it is deemed the best way to promote compliance by deterring future non-compliance.

Commission Orders or Directions

Commission or Designated Officer Orders are statutory and may be issued at any time to direct the company to take any measure(s) the Commission feels is necessary to address safety and/or environmental issues or non-compliances.

Revocation or Suspension of Authorization

If the Commission has lost confidence in a company’s ability to operate safely, or if any term or condition of a certificate, permit, or operating license is not complied with or has been contravened, the Commission may vary, revoke or suspend the company’s authorization to operate, in whole or in part.

Prosecution and Court options

Orders or decisions may be made a rule, order or decree of the Federal Court or of a superior court of a province, for the purposes of enforcement. It is also an offence to contravene certain provisions of the CER Acts and associated regulations, for which any person found guilty of such contraventions could be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

For more information, the Enforcement Policy is available on our website.


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