Pipeline industry working collaboratively to protect Canada’s critical infrastructure

Pipelines play a major role in the everyday lives of Canadians. We rely on the energy they transport to heat our homes, fuel our cars and drive our economy. This important function means pipelines hold a place on the list of Canada’s critical infrastructure.

What is critical infrastructure?

In its National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure, the Government of Canada defines critical infrastructure as:

Processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government.

The 10 sectors of critical infrastructure include:

  • Energy and utilities
  • Finance
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Government
  • Information and communication technology
  • Health
  • Water
  • Safety
  • Manufacturing

Separately, every one of these sectors plays a fundamental role in the daily lives of Canadians. Together, they make up the framework of our society. A disruption to any of this infrastructure could have severe negative consequences on the lives of Canadians.

The protection, maintenance and improvement of Canada’s critical infrastructure requires the collaboration of the federal, provincial and municipal governments, along with stakeholders in the private sector and civil society.

2012 Critical Infrastructure Summit

On October 1, 2012, CEPA co-hosted the 2012 Critical Infrastructure Summit along with the Canadian Gas Association (CGA). The Summit brought together senior decision‐makers from both government and industry, with representatives from all 10 critical infrastructure sectors. The event was a national forum for discussions on how stakeholders can work together to ensure a positive future for Canada’s critical infrastructure.

“Over 100 representatives of government and industry – including other sponsors/stakeholders CAPP, CEA, CSA, CCGA, the NEB, Public Safety Canada and NRCan – gathered to discuss damage prevention, cyber security, resilience and contingency planning and the need for proactive communication,” said Jim Tweedie, director, operations, safety and integrity management for CGA.

“Over the day, participants gained a greater awareness of the broader challenges and opportunities industry and government face to stay vigilant, a sense of the common issues across a wide array of stakeholder interests and an appreciation for the need to continue the dialogue. All of the organizers are meeting in the next few weeks to discuss follow-up, but whatever happens with the broader group both CEPA and CGA will continue to cooperate on their core safety and integrity management agendas.”

For Canada’s natural gas distribution and transmission pipeline companies, this Summit serves as one example of the industry’s commitment to ongoing meaningful discussions with government and regulatory bodies, on topics including safety standards, industry best practices and emerging technologies.

In a news release, Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, commended the Summit, and its organizers, for bringing stakeholders from both the private and public sectors together.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the organizers for bringing together this diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the opportunities for continued improvement in the safety, protection and resilience of our critical infrastructure,” he said.

“This kind of collaboration is key to the ongoing security of our critical infrastructure, and so our Government is very proud to be a close partner with the provinces, territories and private sector.”

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 110,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2011, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.