Pipeline Companies

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Who this is for

This page is for federally regulated pipeline companies. Regulations, Guidance Notes, and links to full regulations are on this page.

Regulatory requirements

Pipeline companies build, operate and maintain pipelines, implement a damage prevention program, authorize activities, and locate pipelines within 3 days. They must also follow:

On this page

Pipeline company’s obligations

Regulatory Reference: Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations for Pipeline Companies

Creating and maintaining a damage prevention program

Guidance Notes – National Energy Board Regulations for Pipeline Damage Prevention, Section 16 – Minimum content

Every federally regulated pipeline company must develop, implement, and maintain a damage prevention program that includes:

  • a public awareness program
  • ongoing land use monitoring
  • a process to ensure timely response to locate requests
  • standards for locating a pipeline, and
  • a process for managing:
    • requests and written consent for ground disturbance activities within the prescribed area (30 m prescribed area)
    • facility construction, or
    • to operate a vehicle or mobile equipment across the pipeline

For full details, read DPR – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, section 16

Hazard management

Pipeline companies must review trends in unauthorized activities, and take necessary measures to reverse those trends. They must:

  • identify and analyze hazards and potential hazards
  • implement risk assessment and controls to mitigate risk

For further details, read:

Implementing public awareness programs

Public awareness programs tell landowners, land users, and other people about the presence of the pipeline. These programs let people know how to work safely around the pipeline, as well as how the company will handle potential emergencies.

Excerpt from regulations on public awareness programs, Section 16 (a)...

Section 16

  1. An ongoing public awareness program to inform the public: (i to ix)
  2. ongoing monitoring of any changes in the use of the land on which a pipeline is located and the land that is adjacent to that land;
  3. ongoing monitoring of any change in the landowner of the land on which a pipeline is located;
  4. a process for managing requests for the consent to construct a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, to engage in an activity that causes a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or to operate a vehicle or mobile equipment across the pipeline.

For full details, read (s) 16 Damage Prevention Program.

Obligation to report: what needs to be reported to the CER

Federally regulated pipeline companies must immediately report:

  • every contravention of the Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations
  • all damage to their pipe, caused by either the pipeline company, their contractor, or by any 3rd parties
  • all damage to their pipe caused or identified during the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, the operation, maintenance or removal of a facility, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area (30 m prescribed area) or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the pipeline, and
  • any activity related to the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across a pipeline that the pipeline company considers could impair the safety or security of the pipe

For full details, read Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, s. 11(1).

Online event reporting system

Regulated companies should notify the CER of the unauthorized activity using the online event reporting system to submit the preliminary unauthorized activity report immediately or within 24 hours of discovery.

The regulated pipeline company is required to submit a final report in the online event reporting system for each unauthorized activity within 30 days of submitting the preliminary UA report.

To make a report, visit Event Reporting System.

To read the guidelines, visit Event Reporting Guidelines.

CER’s response to unauthorized activities

The CER’s response to reports of unauthorized activities will:

  • continue to use education and awareness as the primary tools to address unauthorized activities
  • provide a consistent and effective response to reports of unauthorized activities
  • encourage parties to learn from unauthorized activities and address gaps to prevent events that could put people and the environment at risk
  • use formal compliance and enforcement tools, when required, to ensure public safety and environmental protection
  • hold persons and / or companies accountable for safety by addressing underlying causes of unauthorized activities to prevent future unsafe work around pipelines

For full details, visit Compliance and Enforcement.

Records

The pipeline company must keep a record of all construction of facilities across, on, along, or under a pipeline and of all activities that cause a ground disturbance within the prescribed area (30 m prescribed area) for the life of the pipeline.

Every pipeline company that is required by these Regulations to keep records must make the records, and all other materials necessary to verify the information in those records, available to the CER and other persons authorized by the CER for that purpose and must give the CER and other authorized persons any assistance necessary to inspect the records.

For full details, read 12 - Records.

Responding to requests

Pipeline companies must reply to requests for authorization for activities in the prescribed area or vehicle crossings within 10 days. They must inform the person making the request whether it has been granted or denied.

If the pipeline company denies the request, they must provide the reason(s) for the refusal. The pipeline company must also provide the proponent with information on how to contact the CER for assistance.

Details on responding to requests...

When a pipeline company receives a request for written consent for ground disturbance activities within the prescribed area (30 m prescribed area) or facility construction, or to operate a vehicle or mobile equipment across the pipeline, the pipeline company must, within 10 working days after receiving the request, inform the person that made the request whether the consent has been granted or refused and, in the case of a refusal, the reasons for the refusal.

For full details, read DPR – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, section 3(1)

Locating and marking a pipe

The pipeline company must locate a pipe within 3 working days of receiving a locate request, unless both sides agree to allow more time to locate the pipe.

When marking the pipeline, the pipeline company must:

  • give written safety practices to the person making the locate request, and
  • mark the pipeline and explain what the markings mean
Details for marking and locating a pipe...

If a pipeline company receives a request to locate its pipes from a person that intends to conduct ground disturbance activities within the prescribed area or facility construction, the pipeline company must, within 3 working days after the day on which the request is made, or any longer period agreed to by the pipeline company and that person,

  • inform the person, in writing, of safety practices to be followed while working in the vicinity of its pipes and, in case of a ground disturbance, within the prescribed area;
  • mark the location of its pipes in the vicinity of the proposed facility or the prescribed area at maximum intervals of 10 m along each pipe using markings that are clearly visible and distinct from any other markings that may be in the vicinity of the proposed facility or the prescribed area; and provide information to the person that clearly explains the significance of the markings

For full details, read DPR – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, section 6(1) (a)-(c)

Inspections and field observations

The pipeline company has to be present during most activities that cause a ground disturbance near the pipe, and must inspect all exposed pipe prior to any backfilling over the pipe.

For full details, read DPR – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, section 8

Managing vehicle crossings

Agricultural vehicles

Pipeline companies are responsible for:

  • identifying areas where normal agricultural activities could damage the pipe
  • notifying the affected landowner or land user of these areas, and
  • for taking measures to resolve any issues
Rules for managing agricultural vehicle crossings...

7 Even if the condition set out in paragraph 13(1)(a) of the Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations is met, when the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across a pipeline at specific locations for the purposes of performing an agricultural activity could impair the pipeline’s safety or security, the pipeline company must identify those locations and notify the following persons in writing of those locations:

  1. landowners of the specific locations in question; and
  2. persons that are engaged in agricultural activities, rent or lease the land or work as service providers or employees at the specific locations in question

For full details, read:

Construction equipment and non-agricultural vehicles

Pipeline companies must be able to assess what vehicles pose a danger to the pipeline, and determine what can be permitted on the right-of-way.

Authorization – operation across a pipeline...

Authorization – operation across pipeline

12 Subject to section 13 and for the purposes of paragraph 112(2)(a) of the Act, the operation of a vehicle or mobile equipment across a pipeline is authorized if the person that intends to operate the vehicle or mobile equipment across the pipeline obtains the pipeline company’s written consent.

One-call notification centres

Federally regulated pipeline companies must register their facilities with one-call notification centres. Note: this applies to provinces where one-call notification centres are available.

Please refer to 2 - One-call Centre for details.

Obligation to provide information

Federally regulated pipeline companies must:

  • post information that is easily accessible by the public
  • respond within 10 working days to anyone:
    • making requests to construct a facility on, along, across, or under a pipeline
    • making requests to cause a ground disturbance within the prescribed area (30 m prescribed area)

Please refer to 4 - Obligation to Provide Information for details.

Obligations respecting certain locations

For agricultural activities or vehicle crossings, pipeline companies must:

  • identify specific locations where vehicle crossings or agricultural activities could impair the pipeline’s safety or security
  • notify the persons engaged in the activities of the specific locations

Please refer to 7 - Obligations Respecting Certain Locations for details.

Suspension (of consent)

Federally regulated pipeline companies may suspend consent if the work might impair the pipeline’s safety or security. This includes:

  • constructing a facility on, along, or under a pipeline, or
  • causing a ground disturbance within the prescribed area (30 m prescribed area)

Please refer to 10 - Suspension for details.

Reaching agreement for activities near a pipeline and apportionment of associated costs

The CER encourages pipeline companies and anyone planning to conduct an activity near a pipeline to work together to reach agreement regarding activities within the prescribed area, or for crossing a pipeline. The regulations require that the written consent provided by the pipeline company outlines how to safely carry out activities near the pipeline.

If there are costs directly incurred as a result of the authorized construction or disturbance, the parties are encouraged to reach agreement on how these costs will be addressed.

If parties are not able reach an agreement on either of these elements, they can seek assistance from the CER.

Obtaining assistance from the CER

The CER expects that the vast majority of activity requests made to pipeline companies will result in a timely issuance of written consent for the proposed activity to occur. However, if the person(s) who is planning to conduct an activity near the pipeline is experiencing difficulty agreeing on the terms of the work, or who pays for costs related to authorized construction or activities, they can contact the CER for assistance.

There are two approaches available to manage disagreements, both of which can be accessed by filing a section 335 application:

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): ADR is a voluntary and confidential way for parties to jointly resolve disputes. It includes negotiation, facilitation and mediation. The CER encourages parties to use ADR to resolve issues to explore and understand interests, and develop acceptable solutions where possible.

Note: ADR services can be requested at any time and prior to filing a section 335 application; however, both parties to the dispute must agree to participate

Adjudication (Hearing and Decision): if a dispute cannot be resolved through ADR, or if the parties do not wish to participate in ADR, they can request the Commission to conduct a hearing to determine the matter.

Potential applicants can refer to the following guidance documents for additional information:

Related publications, regulations, and guidance

Request publications

Damage prevention publications are available to the public. To access these publications, you can:

Acts

List of Acts and Regulations

Canadian Energy Regulator Act

The New Canada Energy Regulator

National Energy Board Act (repealed)

Concordance between the Canadian Energy Regulator Act and National Energy Board Act (Related document to NEB Act)

Regulations

Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations, SOR/2016-124

Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, SOR/2016-133

Onshore Pipeline Regulations

Guidance Notes

CER – Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines under the National Energy Board Act – Requirements and Guidance Notes

CER – Regulations and Guidance Notes under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, and other Acts

Guidance for Safe Crossings of NEB-Regulated Pipelines Using Agricultural Vehicles and Mobile Equipment

Pipeline Damage Prevention – Ground Disturbance, Construction and Vehicle Crossings

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