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Canada Energy Regulator Actions Supporting Administrative Flexibility during COVID-19

Press Release

April 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works. One thing that has not changed is our commitment to our oversight mandate to protect people and the environment. We also remain committed to the ongoing process of Reconciliation and building a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples. We are adapting all aspects of our work to make sure we stay focused on these areas.

On March 16, 2020, we shared the initial measures we were taking to protect our employees and those with whom we work closely. Those measures are still in place. Since that time, we have also shared updates on:

  • Oversight of Trans Mountain during COVID-19
  • Emergency preparedness during COVID-19
  • Keeping energy moving safely during a pandemic
  • The detailed route hearing process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project

The CER continues to look for ways to assist the communities, individuals and companies impacted by our work. We are mitigating impacts to those affected by the pandemic by fully responding to directions of public health authorities, including following physical distancing protocols; ensuring that regulatory requirements and expectations consider the impacts of redirected resources dedicated to pandemic response, and capacity needs and limitations of those impacted by our requirements; and by deferring non-essential regulatory development and associated consultation activities that might impose a further draw on resources.

Specifically, the CER is taking the following additional response measures:

  • Inspections and compliance verification activities will go ahead with extra precautions to keep people safe, or using technology to further reduce close personal interactions;
  • Financial audits that haven’t already started will be postponed;
  • Management system audits unrelated to ongoing construction activities or emergency response and that haven’t already been started, will be postponed;
  • Corrective Action Plan filings arising from completed audits, where there is no direct impact on protection of people and the environment, will be assessed for timing extension upon request; and
  • External engagement for all regulatory framework improvement initiatives will be deferred.

To be clear, none of these measures will impact our continued commitment to safety and environmental protection or our oversight of regulated activities.

The CER continues to receive applications for Commission decisions. Each of these are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Commission in its role as an independent decision-maker. In the event that exemptions or changes to the conditions of existing approvals, and other regulatory requirements are applied for, they will be assessed by the Commission through transparent processes as provided for in the Canadian Energy Regulator Act.

We are looking for ways to optimize hearing participant involvement in all current adjudication processes to ensure the processes continue in a manner that is fair and transparent. The Commission has recently issued directions in respect of a number of ongoing processes. Further updates on each process will be provided as they become available.

The CER is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving pandemic situation. We are committed to assessing the effectiveness and necessity of these temporary measures as we move forward. We continue to be open to feedback and ideas as we work to identify new and innovative regulatory initiatives that respond to our current context.

If you have follow-up questions or would like further information, please contact Chris Loewen, A/EVP, Regulatory, at [email protected] or Céline Sirois, Director, Regulatory Policy, at [email protected]

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Sandy Lapointe
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Canada Energy Regulator

c.c.: Christyne Tremblay, Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada

ILR4

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