Onshore Pipeline Regulations Review – What We Heard Report– Summary

Onshore Pipeline Regulations Review – What We Heard Report – Summary [PDF 439 KB]

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A series of Canadian landscapes including mountains, ocean, lakes, and a canoe.

April 2023

Mountain landscape


In January 2022, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) launched a multi-year process to improve our regulatory framework for onshore pipelines. We used a Discussion Paper to guide our early engagement, framing our questions based on years of prior learning and feedback from Indigenous Peoples, regulated companies, landowners and other stakeholders.

The level of participation that occurred during the first phase of our engagement was unprecedented. We met with over 400 people about how we could improve our oversight as well as how participants would like to be engaged in our future work. We received 97 written submissions in response to the Discussion Paper, all of which are posted on our CER Dialogue website.

We have prepared a report to reflect, at a high level, what we heard. The themes below represent some of the most common issues raised in the first phase of engagement. The report reflects the diversity of perspectives shared so far and will inform future discussions in the review of our regulatory framework for onshore pipelines. The report does not intend to define or limit the scope of the review, and we acknowledge that not every perspective shared with the CER is reflected within.

Some of the input we received was focused on our Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR): the rules that companies must follow to design, construct, operate and abandon pipelines in Canada. Though updates have been made, these rules have not undergone a comprehensive review since they were first made in 1999, and they remain silent with respect to Indigenous Peoples. We also received feedback that goes beyond the OPR to other aspects of the CER’s work.

Overhead view of trees.

The common themes of feedback we heard were as follows:

  • Advance Reconciliation and Implement the UN Declaration: meaningfully advance Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples through the CER’s Regulatory Framework, using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) as a framework.
  • Increase Indigenous involvement and incorporate Indigenous knowledge in lifecycle oversight: enhance the involvement of potentially affected Indigenous Peoples and incorporate Indigenous knowledge in all phases of lifecycle oversight.
  • Improve clarity and transparency: define terms, improve communication, and share information with regulated companies, Indigenous Peoples and interested parties.
  • Enhance competitiveness: incorporate flexibility and scalability into regulatory requirements without compromising safety, security and environmental protection, and pursue opportunities for jurisdictional alignment.
  • Update guidance and improve how the OPR is implemented: supplement rules for regulated companies with guidance, improve audit and compliance verification processes, and coordinate updates to relevant filing requirements.

We are carefully reviewing all input received as we prepare for the second phase of engagement, and more broadly, as part of our commitment to the ongoing process of Reconciliation. In the next phase, we will be engaging on specific issues to inform changes to our regulations, guidance, and CER processes. We anticipate starting to workshop regulatory issues and options on a topic by topic basis in mid-2023.

To read the full report, please visit the CER Dialogue website. The CER Dialogue website will also be updated once details on when and how to participate in the next phase of the review are made available. We will be reaching out directly to all individuals who have participated in the review of the OPR to discuss how we can work together to advance the next phase of engagement.

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, please contact us at opr-rpt@cer-rec.gc.ca.

A person taking field notes.

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