Participant Funding Guide

Last updated: 13 July 2017

  1. What is the Participant Funding Program?
  2. Am I eligible?
  3. How do I apply?
  4. What costs are eligible?
  5. How much can I expect to receive?
  6. How will I know if I have been awarded funding?
  7. How do I access the funds I have been awarded?
  8. What supporting documentation do I need to provide with a claim?
  9. What happens if the obligations of my contribution agreement are not met?
  10. Whom should I contact if I need help?

1. What is the Participant Funding Program (PFP)?

Since 2010, the NEB’s Participant Funding Program (PFP) provides funding to facilitate public participation in certain hearings and environmental assessments of designated projects. The program is not intended to cover the full cost of expenses. PFP is administered independently of the public hearing or environmental assessment.

Regulatory processes eligible for PFP
Regulatory processes eligible for PFP

NEB Act public hearings:

  • Applications for Certificate of public convenience and necessity for a pipeline (s52)
  • Exempting orders respecting pipelines (s58)
  • Certificate of public convenience and necessity for an international or designated interprovincial powerline (s58.16)
  • Abandonment of an international or designated interprovincial powerline (s58.34)
  • Abandonment of a pipeline (s74.1d)
  • Any other public hearing held under s24 where the Board considers it advisable to offer funding to facilitate public participation

NEB Act or COGO Act hearing or and environmental assessments of designated projects such as:

  • pipeline with a length of 40 km or more
  • electrical transmission line with a voltage of 345 kV or more that requires a total of 75 km or more of new right of way
  • offshore platforms, pipelines, or exploratory wells
  • sour gas processing facility with a sulphur inlet capacity of 2 000 t/day or more
  • petroleum storage facility with a storage capacity of 500 000 m³ or more
  • facilities in a wildlife area or migratory bird sanctuary

Please note that PFP is not available for detailed route hearings.

If a proposed project is eligible for participant funding, the NEB will determine the amount of funding (sometimes called the “envelope”) based on:

  • the size, location and possible effects of the proposed project
  • the range of issues associated with the proposed project
  • the number of Indigenous groups in the proposed project area
  • the level of public interest
  • the funding maximums in effect
  • available resources, as allocated in annual budget

Active funding opportunities and any applicable deadlines are announced on the website www.neb-one.gc.ca/pfp.

2. Am I eligible for participant funding?

The following individuals or groups can apply for participant funding:

  • Indigenous group with a direct interest in the project, impact on claims or rights, and/or providing traditional knowledge. Such as First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Tribal Council.
  • Individuals with a direct local interest in the project. Such as a landowner or land user, even if they operate a non-energy business. Landowners will be treated as an individual regardless of the number of people that comprise the ownership (e.g. family trust, co-owners).
  • Group of Individuals with a direct local interest in the project. Such as an unincorporated local community group.
  • Non-industry* not-for-profit** group with a direct local interest or expertise on the anticipated effects of the project. Such as an incorporated environmental or landowner group, agricultural organization, condo board, board of trade or chamber of commerce, associations of municipalities or first responders. Provided the group does not represent the energy industry or has been created by a government statute.
    • * Non-industry means not energy industry
    • ** not-for-profit means non-profit or charity as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency

The following groups cannot apply for participant funding:

  • Municipal, provincial and federal governments (except Indigenous) and government entities created by statute.
  • Organizations in the Energy Industry (oil, gas, or electricity sector). Such as: upstream, downstream, shippers, pipelines, marketing, utilities, operators or direct service providers.
  • For profit companies
  • Landowners with a business that can reasonably be assumed to have the means to participate.

Even though these groups are not eligible for funding from this program, they may still be able to participate in a hearing or environmental assessment.

Funding for hearings is conditional on applying for and obtaining intervenor status in the Hearing process. Obtaining intervenor status is a separate process with its own set of deadlines. You must apply to participate and become an intervenor separately from your PFP application. Information about the Application to Participate (ATP) process is posted on each project page on the NEB website, including when the NEB will begin accepting applications to participate and a submission deadline. You can also contact a Hearing Process Advisor by calling 1-800-899-1265 (toll-free).

3. How do I apply?

To apply for participant funding, you must complete the application form before the deadline announced in the table of Current funding opportunities.

Click to see a sample application form [PDF 169 KB].

Please send your completed application by the deadline using any of these methods:

  • email: pfp.pafp@neb-one.gc.ca
  • mail or courier:
    • National Energy Board
      Participant Funding Program
      Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
      Calgary, Alberta  T2R 0A8
  • fax: 1-877-288-8803

4. What costs are eligible?

In general, the contribution agreement allows for eligible costs incurred from the date the company filed the project application with the NEB to the date the hearing record closes. Recipients should also understand that at the time of applying for funding, there are many uncertainties surrounding the process such as timing of process steps and locations of any oral components. Delays from the original hearing schedule are fairly common and so recipients should plan for this in their spending.

The following costs are eligible for funding, provided they relate to eligible activities and enough rationale is provided in the PFP application form:

  • legal fees
  • expert fees
  • travel expenses
  • honoraria and ceremonial costs
  • other appropriate costs necessary for the proposed activity, such as rental of meeting room and collection, distribution, translation or purchase of information materials.

No financial support will be directed toward ineligible costs such as:

  • Activities that do not relate to your participation in the NEB hearing or environmental assessment e.g. negotiations with the proponent, issues outside the NEB's jurisdiction.
  • Services, studies or written materials that duplicate information already prepared by you, the NEB, the proponent, or other public sources.
  • Costs not directly incurred e.g. recipient to pay him or herself, lost income, facility or rental equipment owned by applicant, general administration fee.
  • Duplicative payments e.g. costs reimbursed by other sources, individuals already in receipt of income for their time.
  • Normal operating expenses such as rent, overhead, general operations, or salaries.
  • Capital expenditures, costs for construction, renovation of buildings and maintenance.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities

Funding for public hearings is provided for the following eligible activities:

  • preparing submissions for the hearing record, including Oral Traditional Evidence;
  • coordinating the views of interested parties represented by the recipient;
  • review of the hearing record, including the application submitted by the project proponent; and
  • activities associated with preparation for and participation in the oral portions of hearings and any engagement sessions convened by the NEB.

In the case of a CEAA 2012 Environmental Assessment conducted by the NEB where a public hearing is not held, funding is provided for the following eligible activities:

  • activities associated with reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement and/or Environmental Assessment; and
  • activities associated with preparing and submitting comments.

5. How much can I expect to receive?

The amount an applicant can expect to receive is a function of the following:

  • the eligibility and reasonableness of the costs requested in your PFP application
  • the funding envelope announced for the project divided by the number of eligible PFP applicants
  • the applicable funding maximum, (group or individual)
  • PFP’s annual budget (approved by Parliament).

Funding is limited and PFP is not intended to cover all costs associated with participating in the hearing or environmental assessment. Eligible Recipients are encouraged to collaborate with others and seek out additional sources of funding. You may wish to contact other Intervenors to try sharing expenses.

The NEB has funding maximums on the total amount of funding available for each Eligible Recipient. Currently the maximum amount of funding is $12,000 for eligible individuals. The maximum amount of funding per eligible group is $80,000. These amounts are reviewed annually based on the NEB’s annual budget and the anticipated demand for funding.

6. How will I know if I have been awarded funding?

Funding applications are reviewed by the PFP Manager. For complex or unique cases, a Funding Review Committee may be established with internal or external members independent of the regulatory process. The PFP Manager drafts a recommendation report for the NEB’s Executive Vice President, Regulatory, who makes the funding award decision.

If you are awarded funding, the PFP will send you a contribution agreement. If you are signing on behalf of a group, you may be asked to demonstrate that you have authority to represent that group.

You must sign this agreement before you can access the funds you have been awarded. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the signed Contribution Agreement.

Awards are announced in Participant Funding Reports and under the proactive disclosure of contributions.

Decisions will not be reconsidered except in the case that an error was made. If you believe there has been an error, you may request that the PFP conduct a review. If an error was made and has a material effect on the amount of the award, the award will be adjusted accordingly.

7. How do I access the funds I have been awarded?

Please complete a Direct Deposit form [PDF 272 KB] if you wish to receive payments in this manner. Direct Deposit is reliable and faster than issuing payments by cheque and can avoid potential postal disruptions.

To receive payment for your costs, you must submit a claim form [PDF 166 KB] to the NEB's Participant Funding Program. Supporting documentation (e.g., invoices) is required to show that you incurred eligible expenses between the date the proponent filed the project application and the date the hearing record closes. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the signed Contribution Agreement.

Final Payment – The PFP will notify you of the deadline to submit your final claim, generally 60 days after hearing record closes. You do not need to wait for the hearing to end to request a final payment.

Interim payments – An interim payment may be made after some Eligible Costs have been incurred. Up to 75 per cent of the total funding award may be paid. The remaining 25 per cent will be held back until the final payment.

Advance payments – Advance funding is provided in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the NEB. Advance payments cannot exceed the recipient's estimated cash flow requirements for the current fiscal year or 75 per cent of the total funding award. To request an advance, the applicant must submit:

  • a written request stating the need for an advance payment and the impact of not providing the advance on your participation; and
  • a schedule of planned expenditures by fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).

It should be noted that an advance cannot be granted to cover expenses that have already been incurred. This situation requires an interim payment.

Recipients must submit a supporting a claim form [PDF 166 KB] by 31 March to ensure actual eligible expenses were incurred against the advance and the unspent balance is reasonable to avoid recovery. In cases where an initial advance payment has been made, supporting documents accounting for all expenditures to date must be provided before another advance payment can be made.

8. What supporting documentation do I need to provide with a claim?

Please provide the following supporting documentation with your completed claim form [PDF 166 KB] to request reimbursement of reasonable eligible costs incurred.

Eligible Cost and Required Supporting Documentation for Claim
Eligible Cost Required Supporting Documentation for Claim

Professional Services – Legal fees
e.g. legal counsel meets with you, helps you prepare for and/or represent you in the Hearing process.

Invoice(s) should clearly indicate the following:

  • name of the legal counsel or firm
  • addressed to recipient
  • date(s) worked
  • brief description of the work
  • daily or hourly rate
  • number of hours or days worked
  • total amount to pay
  • calculation of any refunded portion of PST/GST

Professional Services – Expert fees
e.g. an expert presents at community meetings and /or provides evidence in the Hearing on issues within their expertise.

Invoice(s) should clearly indicate the following:

  • expert name(s)
  • addressed to recipient
  • date(s) worked
  • brief description of the work
  • daily or hourly rate
  • number of hours or days worked
  • total amount to pay
  • calculation of any refunded portion of PST/GST

Professional Services – Staff
Only incremental cost incurred related to the individual supporting your participation in the NEB process is reimbursed. e.g. temporary replacement (backfill) or incremental time required for the Individual.

Supporting Documentation should clearly indicate the following:

  • individual’s name
  • date(s) worked
  • brief description of the work
  • daily or hourly rate
  • number of hours or days worked
  • total amount paid

Provide a completed Attestation [PDF 95 KB] to confirm individual is not in receipt of any other salary or direct income.

Honoraria for elders
e.g. payment to an elder to speak at the Hearing about the Band’s history and the land potentially affected by a proposed project.

Supporting Documentation should clearly indicate the following:

  • elder’s name
  • date(s) worked
  • brief description of the work
  • daily or hourly rate
  • number of hours or days worked
  • total amount paid

Provide a completed Attestation [PDF 95 KB] to confirm person is not in receipt of any other salary or direct income for the activity for which the honorarium is claimed.

Travel Expenses
e.g. airfare, hotel, and meals to travel to and attend community meeting or the Hearing

See Rates for PFP Reimbursement of Travel and Meals
The number of travelers is to be limited to the minimum necessary. Generally funding is provided for up to two (2) travelers per participation activity (hearing, open house, oral traditional evidence, technical conference). Where the total number of travelers is greater, supporting justification must be provided.

Other
Eligible costs directly related to your participation in the NEB process:

  • Meeting rentals e.g. renting a room and equipment for a community meeting to discuss the issues associated with the proposed project.
  • Collection, purchase or translation of information e.g. surveying community members to get their insights or translating a research report into a local indigenous language.
  • Ceremonial costs for Indigenous meetings.
  • Office supplies, mail or telephone charges.

Invoice(s) or receipt(s) should clearly indicate the following:

  • Name of service/information provider
  • Item(s) or service(s) purchased
  • date(s) of purchase/service
  • per unit cost
  • total amount to pay
  • calculation of any refunded portion of PST/GST

In the case of food for meetings, please refer to Rates for PFP Reimbursement of Travel and Meals for maximum reimbursement rates and provide:

  • names of all meeting attendees
  • brief description of the meeting and how it relates to your participation in the NEB process
  • the number and types of meals provided

DO NOT include any meals already claimed under travel expenses.

9. What happens if the obligations of my contribution agreement are not met?

If you fail to meet the obligations specified in your Contribution Agreement, without notifying the PFP and negotiating a modified set of terms, the NEB may deny future payments under this agreement, in whole or in part.

For hearings, should you be denied Intervenor status or you choose to withdraw, you cease to be eligible for the financial assistance and your Contribution Agreement will be terminated.

If the NEB finds that funding was awarded based on incorrect information provided by you, the PFP will advise you of the situation and:

  • specify possible remediation; or
  • deny future payments under this agreement, in whole or in part; or
  • terminate the Contribution Agreement.

If the NEB has made payments before it was discovered that the award was based on incorrect information, the NEB may request from the Recipient a reimbursement, in whole or in part. The amounts that the Recipient must repay constitute a debt owing to Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada and interest will be charged on overdue repayments in accordance with the Interest and Administrative Charges Regulations.

10. Whom should I contact if I need help?

If you have any questions about the Participant Funding Program, please contact a Coordinator by e-mail at PFP.PAFP@neb-one.gc.ca or by phone at 1-800-899-1265 (toll free) or (403) 299-2790.

If you have questions on the NEB hearing process or require assistance regarding a specific hearing, please contact the NEB at 1-800-899-1265 and ask to speak to a Process Advisor.

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