Policy on Public and Media Access at CER Hearings

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1.0 Definitions

For the purposes of this document a hearing means the oral portion of a public hearing before the Canada Energy Regulator (CER or Commission) under the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act) or any regulations made under the CER Act.

Media describes accredited media professionals who represent organizations formally registered as a media organization in Canada.

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2.0 Preamble

The CER recognizes that regulatory process and the public interest are well-served when hearings are fully open to the public and media.

At the same time, the CER has a responsibility to ensure that hearings are conducted safely and fairly, and to protect the integrity of its processes. Restrictions on physical access to hearings that are limited in scope may at times be necessary to address safety and security issues or other concerns. Any restrictions are applied on an exception basis.

In the limited circumstances when the CER deems that physical access restrictions are necessary, transparency and accessibility of the hearings will be maintained to the extent possible through means such as live audio or video feeds and transcripts of all hearing sessions.

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3.0 Preamble

The purpose of this policy is to articulate the CER’s commitment to open access for the public and media at its hearings. This Policy also describes the circumstances under which it is appropriate to restrict public and media physical access to CER’s hearings.

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4.0 Policy

The CER is committed to ensuring that its adjudicative processes are fair, timely, transparent and accessible. All hearings are open and accessible to the public and media to the extent feasible and a level of decorum is expected in the hearing room as set out by the CER in its Expectations of Hearing Attendees. Any restrictions on public and media’s physical access to the hearing room will be limited in scope. Such limitations are at the sole discretion of the CER and will occur when necessary to:

  • address safety and security issues or other related concerns;
  • address limitations associated with room size (standing during a hearing is not permitted); and/or
  • ensure proceedings comply with the CER Act or other specific legislative requirements (such as confidentiality).

Public and media access limitations may be enacted prior to the start of a hearing, or during hearing proceedings, at the discretion of the CER.

Use of Electronics and Communications Devices

Electronic devices such as laptop computers, tablets and similar devices are permitted in CER hearings provided that they do not disrupt hearing proceedings.

Communications devices such as cell phones, pagers and similar devices, are also permitted in a hearing room, must be set on silent mode, and never used for voice communication.

Individuals participating in hearings who disrupt the hearing proceeding directly or indirectly through the use of electronic or communications equipment will be asked to refrain from doing so, or asked to leave the hearing room so that proceedings can continue in a timely manner, respectful of all participants.

Recording, Photographing or Videotaping CER Hearings

Recording, photographing or videotaping, cross-examination during hearings is prohibited.

Members of the public including observers, counsel and hearing participants who wish to record, photograph or videotape other portions of hearing proceedings must seek prior consent of the CER. Such requests should be provided to the CER in writing in advance of a hearing or directed to CER personnel at the hearing registration desk prior to entering the hearing room.

Members of the media who have received accreditation to attend a hearing in person in accordance with the CER’s Media Accreditation & Guidelines for Covering CER Hearings Policy may record, photograph or videotape portions of hearing (that do not include cross-examination) as directed by the CER, from a designated area.

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5.0 Revision Date

This Policy is effective 1 May 2018 and will be reviewed on an as needed basis.

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6.0 Inquiries

Inquires related to this policy should be directed to CER’s media relations department at media@cer-rec.gc.ca.

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7.0 Approvals

Approved by: Original Signed by
Peter Watson, CEO

Date: 30 April 2018

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