Introduction to the Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) Review

Introduction to the Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) Review [PDF 1605 KB]

Left – Feather, métis infinity symbol and an inuksuk; Right – Prairie landscape and gravel township road

Winter 2022

1. Land & Territory Acknowledgement

Top – Symbol of the Blackfoot Confederacy; Bottom – Symbol of the Tsuut’ina Nation

Top – Symbol of the stoney nakoda; Bottom – Symbol of the metis nation of alberta


We would like to acknowledge that the CER head office is on Treaty 7 Lands which is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy that is the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations.

Treaty 7 also includes the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda, that is the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

Thank you – to each of you – for joining from where you are and we would like to honour each of your traditional territories as we come together from all across the country.

2. Purpose and Structure

  • CER – overview
  • Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) – overview
  • Why is the CER reviewing the OPR?
  • Discussion Paper – issues and lessons learned
  • Involvement and participation
  • Next steps
Totem pole at the water’s edge

3. The Canada Energy Regulator

  • We are the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). Head office is situated in Calgary, with regional offices in Montréal, Vancouver and Yellowknife
  • A group of 500 highly qualified people from across the country and the world. We have six decades of experience overseeing energy companies and projects in Canada.
CER-regulated facility company personnel

4. The CER

  • We regulate pipelines that cross provincial and international borders
    • 73,000 km of regulated pipelines in the country
  • We regulate international power lines
    • 1,400 km of regulated power lines
CER-regulated facilities map

5. The Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) Overview

  • CER’s principal regulation for the physical (vs. financial) oversight. It applies to regulated companies and is used to provide oversight after a company has a certificate.
  • Applies to regulated companies.
  • Provides for safety, security and environmental protection outcomes.
  • Includes management system requirements.
Pipeline construction spread

6. Advancing Reconciliation

Strategic priorities illustration

Reconciliation illustration

7. Why is the CER reviewing the OPR?

  • The regulations were made in 1999. This is our first major review since becoming the CER.
  • We are transforming the way we, and our regulated companies, work with Indigenous peoples across the lifecycle of regulated facilities.
  • All areas of the OPR need to be updated (plus related regulatory documents, guidance (e.g., Filing Manual and processes).
  • The regulation, and the process we use to engage on it, needs to reflect new CER Act.
Hand holding fountain pen writing on paper

8. Discussion Paper (DP)

  • Identifies issues and possible areas of change.
  • Six sections with questions seeking your input.
  • We want to hear from you on the topics and questions.
  • Content is based on years of learnings from oversight of regulated companies and feedback from Indigenous peoples and stakeholders.
Cover of the OPR Discussion Paper

9. DP Section 1. OPR – Lessons Learned

  • Through the OPR Review, the CER is seeking feedback on the OPR and its implementation.
    • What's working well in relation to the OPR, and its implementation, and what could be improved?
CER inspectors observing construction work

10. DP Section 2. Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

  • Working Differently
  • Heritage Resources
  • Traditional Land and Resource Use, and Sites of Significance for Indigenous Peoples
  • Indigenous Knowledge
  • Involvement of Indigenous peoples in pipeline oversight
Person working at desk

11. DP Section 3. Engagement and Inclusive Participation

  • Planning for Pipelines and Related Company Activities
  • Proactive Communication and Engagement
  • Trust and Confidence
  • Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus)
Four people having a discussion at a table

12. DP Section 4. Global Competitiveness

  • Predictable and Timely Regulatory Oversight
  • Innovation and Flexibility
  • Data and Digital Innovation
  • Change in Pipeline Use and Status
Three people at an emergency response exercise

13. DP Section 5. Safety and Environmental Protection

  • Management Systems
  • Human and Organizational Factors
  • Programs and Plans for Safety
  • Respect and Workplace Safety
  • Contractor Management
  • Process Safety
  • Programs and Plans for Environmental Protection
  • Management of Contaminated Sites
  • Emergency Management Program
  • Quality Assurance for Pipeline Materials
  • Strength of Steel Pipe Relative to Welds
CER inspectors standing in a field

14. DP Section 6. Implementation Objectives

  • Provide a Compliance Promotion Function
  • Support the Regulations with Technical Guidance
Pipeline construction activities

15. Discussion Paper

  • Are there issues that we may have missed?
  • Are there other issues we should be describing and considering at this stage?
Cover of the OPR Discussion Paper

16. How to get involved

  • Receiving updates by mail or email on the project. Sign up for the Distribution List by sending a note to
  • Being kept informed by our Regional Office contacts. Send us a request for those contacts.
  • Send written feedback to
  • Other options that work best for you.
    • Let us know how you would like to be involved.
Mountain, trees and a lake

17. OPR Review timeline and opportunities to participate and comment

OPR Review timeline and opportunities to participate and comment

OPR Review timeline and opportunities to participate and comment

Phase 1 – 2022 – Initial engagement – Discussion Paper (input due 30 June 2022)

Phase 2 – 2023 – Engagement on proposed regulatory changes

Phase 3 – 2024 – Engagement draft regulations, in Canada Gazette, Part I

Phase 4 – 2025 – Final regulations in Canada Gazette Part II Implementation

This is a multi-year project for the CER and there will be many opportunities to engage.

We will be seeking your input at each of Phase 1, 2 and 3.

18. What’s next?

  • Seek initial feedback on regulatory issues during engagement sessions (orally) and in written submissions.
  • A “What we Heard” report will be prepared and shared with you and other participants.
  • Your input on the Discussion Paper will help to inform the regulatory proposal.
Nine people working around a table
CER inspectors observing construction activities

19. For additional information

Please contact us at

Left top – Two people talking; Left middle – Northern lights; Left bottom – Person in a field; Right top – People posting for a group photo; Right bottom – Two persons sitting at a table
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