Do Canadians have a say where pipelines go?

A lot of people want to have a say in how pipelines are constructed and operated, and CEPA members listen. Throughout the project, pipeline operators engage with stakeholders to provide them with information and give them an opportunity to have their say. CEPA member companies are committed to a respectful two-way, constructive engagement process with Canadians who may be impacted by the project.

Engaging stakeholders

When pipeline operators want to put in a new pipeline or expand an existing one, they will always talk to a variety of stakeholders.

Depending on the project, CEPA member companies engage stakeholders in a few different ways:

  • Consult: The pipeline operator communicates with stakeholders about the proposed pipeline project and/or asks for feedback; and/or
  • Involve: The operator connects with stakeholders throughout the process to ensure their concerns are understood and incorporated; and/or
  • Collaborate: The operator works with stakeholders on specific aspects of the project

This allows a wide variety of stakeholders to be heard, including:

  • Landowners
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Media
  • All levels of government
  • Provincial and federal regulators

Consulting on decisions

Stakeholder engagement is a collaborative process to ensure all voices are heard. When a company applies for a pipeline project to be approved, the regulator can hold a public hearing to get views from Canadians affected by the project or who have information that may impact the decision. Operators also develop stakeholder programs that help inform the regulatory application and approval process.

Pipeline operators engage with members of the community to share information, answer questions and get insights from stakeholders. Photo courtesy of Pembina Pipeline Corp.

Pipeline operators engage with members of the community to share information, answer questions and get insights from stakeholders. Photo courtesy of Pembina Pipeline Corp.

The process allows for all stakeholders to be heard.

Everything from environmental protection measures to the size of the proposed pipeline are shared with stakeholders. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

Everything from environmental protection measures to the size of the proposed pipeline are shared with stakeholders. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

Pipeline operators seek to have positive, long-term relationships with the communities they operate in. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

Pipeline operators seek to have positive, long-term relationships with the communities they operate in. Photo courtesy of Enbridge Pipelines.

Gathering and sharing information

Pipeline companies and stakeholders share information in a number of ways. For example, public meetings or one-on-one meetings are held with landowners and community leaders. Town hall meetings are also held to provide opportunities for community residents to ask questions directly to project engineers and environmental experts.

Stakeholders can provide input and have their issues or concerns addressed.

Listening to stakeholders

If the regulator approves the pipeline project, the operator will continue to work with stakeholders through the entire life-cycle of the pipeline – from design and construction to operations and retirement. This includes ongoing public awareness programs, such as first responder and landowner consultations. Providing communities with the information they need to monitor projects, and acquiring the consent of stakeholders ensures that pipeline companies earn their continued right to operate.

Stakeholders will have a lifelong relationship with the pipeline operator.

You Asked

“Say you have a breach in a length of pipeline somewhere in the heart of the Rockies, and for argument’s sake, let’s say the breach is in the most remote area of the pipeline route. How long until the breach is detected, how long until the oil flow is stopped due to a pressure drop and the activation of the safety valves, and how long until it can be repaired?” – Alex O. (Burnaby, B.C.)
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