With the approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project, the Government of Canada, Canada Energy Regulator (CER) and Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC) will each have distinct roles and responsibilities.
Government of Canada
The government will continue to engage directly with Indigenous groups to discuss the potential impacts of regulatory authorizations on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, as well as other outstanding issues related to the project.
This engagement will focus on collaboratively implementing the accommodation measures to ensure they respond to the needs of Indigenous communities.
These accommodation measures will address the four key areas that respond to concerns identified by Indigenous communities: bolstering marine safety; strengthening emergency response; protecting oceans and the South Resident Killer Whale; and addressing the cumulative effects of the project. The accommodations will build on other government actions such as the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) and the Whales Initiative.
As the project proceeds, the government has a broad response strategy to address the NEB’s 16 recommendations. These recommendations relate to marine shipping, including: cumulative effects management on the Salish Sea; increased underwater noise and increased strike risk posed to marine mammal and fish species listed in the Species at Risk Act; marine oil spill response; marine shipping and small vessel safety; and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from vessels. In addition, initiatives will continue under Canada’s $1.5-billion OPP.
Government action is required to implement these recommendations because they fall outside the NEB’s regulatory authority and are generally beyond the control of TMC.
Indigenous Economic Participation
With respect to possible economic opportunities for interested Indigenous groups, the government has previously committed to holding exploratory discussions. Those discussions would be led by Finance Canada and guided by the following principles:
- that the potentially impacted Indigenous communities would have an opportunity for meaningful economic participation in the project;
- that the participation of Indigenous groups could help the economic development of their communities in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation;
- that the government invested in the TMC to benefit all Canadians; and
- that the project would be built and operated on a commercial basis.
Additionally, all new corporate tax revenues, as well as profits earned from the sale of TMX, will be invested in the clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses, and communities for generations to come.
Canada Energy Regulator
The National Energy Board (now CER) issued an amended Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project. As the CER, it will then oversee condition compliance, project construction and operation, and hold TMC accountable for meeting its commitments and applicable regulatory requirements, including the 156 conditions.
The CER will also hold TMC responsible for keeping its pipelines and facilities safe and secure, as well as protecting people, property and the environment over the life cycle of the project. The CER will continue to monitor and enforce implementation of the conditions, as amended by the Governor-in-Council, once the project is operational.
Trans Mountain Corporation
As the proponent of the project and the operator of an existing pipeline, TMC remains subject to all applicable federal laws and regulatory requirements. TMC representatives were part of the consultation and accommodation process and participated in meetings with Indigenous groups, where appropriate.
Before construction can begin, TMC will be required to obtain additional regulatory approvals, which include:
- approvals from the NEB to authorize the construction and continued operation of the pipelines;
- authorizations under the Fisheries Act;
- permits under the Species at Risk Act;
- approval under the Indian Act to cross Indian reserves by Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada;
- authorization under the Canadian Transportation Act for construction crossing a railway line; and
- approval and licensing issued under the Explosives Act.
With the government’s decision to approve the project, timelines for all of these activities will now be established.
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