Canada: New Pipeline Safety Measures Announced

Canada: New Pipeline Safety Measures Announced

Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, joined by Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, announced new measures to further enhance Canada’s world-class pipeline safety system.

The announcement builds on significant steps taken in June 2013 and the new measures include:

– Introducing absolute liability for all National Energy Board (NEB)-regulated pipelines, meaning companies will be liable for costs and damages irrespective of fault – $1 billion for major oil pipelines; companies continue to have unlimited liability when at fault or negligent;
– Developing a strategy with industry and Aboriginal communities in an effort to increase Aboriginal Peoples’ participation in pipeline safety operations, including planning, monitoring, incident response and related employment and business opportunities;
– Providing the NEB authority to order reimbursement of any cleanup costs incurred by governments, communities or individuals;
– Giving the NEB the ability to provide guidance on the use of the best available technologies used in federally-regulated pipeline projects. This includes materials, construction methods, and emergency response techniques; and
– Providing the NEB authority and resources to assume control of incident response if a company is unable or unwilling to do so (i.e. in exceptional circumstances).

Minister Rickford linked improvements to pipeline safety to the Government of Canada’s plan for Responsible Resource Development, which strengthens environmental protection, enhances Aboriginal engagement and streamlines the review of major resource projects to make the process more timely and predictable.

The government is committed to taking concrete actions to strengthen pipeline safety, enhance Aboriginal participation in pipeline safety activities and modernize the National Energy Board Act. New energy projects will provide Aboriginal Canadians with training as well as jobs in the areas of monitoring, planning and emergency response operations as well as supporting business opportunities.

These new measures enhance Canada’s already world-class pipeline safety system and build on the principles of incident prevention, preparedness, and liability. As part of this commitment, a number of amendments to the National Energy Board Act are also proposed to improve transparency and operations of the Board and its enabling legislation.

Press Release, May 23, 2014