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The New "CER" - Canadian Energy Regulator

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

The new Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) Act, replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 and the National Energy Board, came into force on August 28, 2019. Implementing the CER Act will take time. Over the next few months, we’ll see the CER release new policy, procedures and guidance documents related to new expectations around environmental protection, public and Indigenous engagement.

A few key messages and changes to note with the new CER Act include:

  • All applications filed on or before August 27, 2019 will continue under the NEB Act

  • Each project will be categorized into small, medium or large projects; each project category has assigned project review timelines

  • Small: Pipeline projects less than 40km require a full impact assessment within 10 months

  • Medium: Pipeline projects greater than 40km but less than 75km require a full impact assessment within 15 months

  • Large: Pipeline projects greater than 75km of new right-of-way will require an integrated review process led by the new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IACC) and approved by Cabinet

  • Robust early engagement is expected to help identify and respond to concerns

  • The CER has introduced “Gender-based Analysis Plus” within the Impact Assessment process

  • The CER Act will recognize Indigenous rights, including the Government’s duty to consult; require at least one member of the Board of Directors and one Commissioner to be Indigenous; and will implement an Indigenous Advisory Committee

  • The CER will also be the lifecycle regulator for offshore renewable energy projects

  • The CER will have the authority to create an orphan pipeline account and take action to safely cease operation of a pipeline if the owner cannot be located or is in receivership, insolvent, or bankrupt

More information can be found on the CER's website.

The CER has released the following Guideline Documents to note:

  • Practitioner’s Guide to Federal Impact Assessments under the Impact Assessment Act (Link)

  • These guidelines include templates, links for further information, and process for each phase of the Impact Assessment (planning, impact statement & impact assessment, Indigenous participation & engagement, and public participation)

  • Feedback on the Guide can be submitted to:

  • An interactive Impact Assessment Process Overview has been posted online (Link)

  • Operational Guide: Designating a Project under the Impact Assessment Act (Link)

  • These guidelines describe the process for considering whether to designate a project not identified in the Physical Activities Regulations under the Impact Assessment Act

  • A fact sheet to understanding Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in Impact Assessments (Link). GBA+ considers the potential project effects on sex and gender in addition to the effects on age, residency, ethnicity, socio-economic status, employment or disability. The fact sheet includes explanations as to why GBA+ is being implemented, the GBA+ approach, examples, GBA+ in practice, tips and FAQs

If you would like to discuss these changes further, please reach out to us at

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