Notification for Indigenous peoples

Subject: Notification for review of pipeline regulations, and notice of funding

Date: December 14, 2021


The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) will be starting a review of the Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR), which are the main regulations we use to oversee pipelines in Canada. This message is to establish initial contact with Indigenous peoples across Canada who may be affected by the CER’s mandate to oversee pipelines that have been approved, to seek input on engagement approaches, and to provide you with notice of funding to participate.

We recognize the challenges posed at present due to situations affecting communities in various regions of Canada. If your community has been impacted, please let us know how the CER can be flexible in the review process. We welcome your suggestions.

How do you want to be involved?

The first step is to ask how you would like to be engaged throughout the OPR Review process. This first step is part of our commitment to Reconciliation, and working in a way that allows for the participation and inclusion of Indigenous peoples across Canada in the evolution of our regulatory framework and decision-making processes that affect your way of life, culture, and socio-economic structures. We are working to enhance the involvement of Indigenous peoples in how we implement our mandate recognizing your unique cultures, knowledge, and histories.

There are a number of ways to be involved, including:

  • Receiving updates by mail or email on the project.
  • Participating in live sessions to share your feedback.
  • Being kept informed by our Regional Office contacts.
  • Other options that work best for you.

Please let us know how you would like to be involved by sending us an email at

Working toward Reconciliation

The CER, with its Indigenous Advisory Committee, is in the early stages of working through how to implement Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The CER’s development of regulatory tools responsive to issues raised during engagement with Indigenous peoples, including the OPR, represents a part of this work. The CER’s objective for this review is to deliver a regulation that supports the highest level of safety, security and environmental protection, advances Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, addresses transparency and inclusive participation, provides for predictable and timely oversight, and encourages innovation.

Discussion Paper

Soon, we will share a Discussion Paper with questions to help guide the conversation. The CER will be seeking input from Indigenous peoples to build a modern regulation that clearly shows how the CER and its regulated companies will work alongside Indigenous peoples and communities through the lifecycle of the pipelines we regulate.

The OPR Review builds on important work that has been done with Indigenous peoples and with groups such as the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees. The Discussion Paper reflects concerns raised by Indigenous peoples related to pipelines regulated by the CER over the years, with sections on:

  • Regulated companies working differently with Indigenous peoples, and advancing Reconciliation.
  • Protection of heritage resources, sites of Indigenous significance, and traditional land and resource use, throughout the lifecycle of a pipeline.
  • Use of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making throughout the lifecycle of a pipeline.
  • Involvement of Indigenous peoples in pipeline oversight, such as through Indigenous Monitors.
  • Inclusion of Indigenous peoples in company planning for operations and maintenance activities, and in emergency and response planning and exercises.
  • Proactive company communication and engagement on planning and implementing activities related to pipeline construction, operations and maintenance, and emergency management processes.

A high-level overview of the Discussion Paper, and the connection with Indigenous peoples, can be found below.

Funding to participate in the OPR Review

With the help of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, funding is available for Indigenous peoples of Canada to review the Discussion Paper and develop input for submission to the CER. You can apply for funding online or you can email us at You are encouraged to submit your application by 28 January 2022. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.

Update – March 1, 2022 – Deadline has passed; please contact the CER about availability of funding prior to applying.

How to find out more

Please let us know if and how you would like to be involved, or if you have questions, through the email contact information below. To sign up to be notified when the Discussion Paper is available for review, please email with the subject line “Sign Up”. We will be sure to let you know when the Discussion Paper is available, along with information about how to provide input and by when. We will reach out directly to those communities with whom we are currently actively engaged. Updates will also be provided on the CER Consultation and Engagement Activities webpage.


Once again, your participation is very important to us and we look forward to hearing from you about how you would like to be involved in this process.

OPR Review – Overview of the Discussion Paper

A Discussion Paper will be provided to identify possible areas of change and to focus early engagement activity.  The Discussion Paper will include high level questions related to regulatory requirements, and also requests feedback on the approaches to be taken by the CER to review the regulations.

What is the OPR?

The CER’s Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) provides the rules that companies with authorizations to build and operate pipelines that cross provincial and international borders, must follow. The OPR requires regulated companies to establish, implement and maintain management systems and protection programs in order to anticipate, prevent, manage and mitigate conditions that may adversely affect the safety and security of the company’s pipelines, employees, the public, as well as property and the environment.

Why is the OPR Review important for Indigenous peoples?

The Discussion Paper provides opportunity for input from Indigenous peoples in a wide variety of areas, from broad implementation issues to protection of Indigenous rights and interests:

  1. Lessons learned (what we have learned over the past 20 years using the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, including working proactively with Indigenous peoples).
  2. Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples (working differently with Indigenous peoples over the lifecycle of a pipeline; respecting and protecting heritage resources and sites of significance for Indigenous peoples; involving Indigenous peoples in pipeline oversight).
  3. Engagement and inclusive participation (inclusion of Indigenous peoples in planning for how pipelines are operated and maintained, and other company activities like emergency management; communicating and engaging Indigenous peoples affected by pipeline activities once a project is approved; using a gender-based analysis plus lens, which looks at how policies affect women, men and non-binary people differently).
  4. Global competitiveness (helping companies and people affected by the OPR, including Indigenous peoples, know what to expect; improving innovation and flexibility; changing how we can use CER data and digital platforms to find new, better ways of working, including information important to Indigenous peoples; changing pipeline use to carry different products or ending the use of a pipeline, and including the input of Indigenous peoples for these decisions).
  5. Safety and environmental protection (using management systems to plan for all aspects of pipeline operations, including engagement with Indigenous peoples; exploring human and organizational factors that impact how work is done; looking at programs and plans for safety and environmental protection, including the protection of Indigenous peoples; making sure contractors are properly managed; looking at how contaminated sites are cleaned up, including how Indigenous peoples are engaged; making sure there is a strong emergency management program in place, including how Indigenous peoples are involved; checking quality of pipeline materials).
  6. Implementation of the regulations (looking for ways to improve understanding of the rules in order to get the intended results; developing technical guidance to support the regulations, including how Indigenous peoples may want to participate in implementation).


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