Compliance Verification Activity Report: CV2122-211 - Plains Midstream Canada ULC


Compliance verification activity type: Field Inspection

Activity #: CV2122-211
Start date: 2022-11-18
End date: 2022-11-25


Regulated company: Plains Midstream Canada ULC

Operating company: Plains Midstream Canada ULC

Province(s) / Territory(s):


Rationale and scope:

The purpose of the Inspection is to assess Plains Midstream Canada&rsquo;s (Plains or the Company) liaison, consultation and continuing education program with First Responders and Municipalities as required under sections 33-35 of the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR). The Canada Energy Regulator&rsquo;s expectations are outlined in the Guidance Notes to the OPR (<a href="">CER &ndash; Guidance Notes for the Canadian Energy Regulator Onshore Pipeline Regulations (</a>). CER staff gathered information via email, phone calls, questionnaires, and virtual meetings with Plains staff, as well as representatives from municipal agencies located within Manitoba and Saskatchewan along the Wapella pipeline system.

Compliance tool(s) used:

Facility details


Regulatory requirements

Regulatory requirements that apply to this activity:

Observations (no outstanding follow-up required)

Observation 1 - Information Request - Emergency Management Inspection - Company Questionnaire

Discipline: Emergency Management




Plains Midstream Canada has pipelines and/or facilities regulated by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) and is therefore subject to the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act) and its associated regulations. Specifically, Plains Midstream Canada must demonstrate effective emergency management liaison activities and continuing education program as outlined within the CER Act and its associated regulations, including without limitation:

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Using the attached template, fill in each section. Follow instructions in the Documents section to upload and submit documents by 23 March 2022.

Due date: 2022-03-23

Date closed: 2022-08-29
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 2 - Plains Midstream Canada Ltd. Inspection

Date & time of visit: 2022-10-03 10:00

Discipline: Emergency Management




Plains explained the organization of their overarching Emergency Management Program (EMP) to CER staff. The company outlined the EMP processes and policies in place that are implemented and that ensure an appropriate emergency response. Plains indicated that the processes required to deliver the program objectives and ownership of processes ensures the accountability needed to maintain the overarching program.

The EMP Goals, objectives, and purpose outlined by Plains were identified as:

The remaining sections of this report will describe the processes developed and used by Plains that support and achieve the above listed EMP goals and objectives.
Liaison with Agencies and Persons
The company described its First Responders Continuing Education (FRCE) process as a guide to the annual planning, scheduling, and execution of first responder and partner agency engagement, training, and education (‘continued education’). The FRCE applies to community first responder agencies (i.e., fire, police, and ambulance services) that would potentially be involved in an emergency response at a Plains Midstream Canada’s facility or pipeline asset.

The FRCE objectives outlined in the Plains process documentation include: The CER reviewed the supporting documentation submitted by Plains and had the opportunity to clarify any questions or concerns during an inspection closing meeting. Documents reviewed included: The above processes and procedures outline how liaison is established and maintained with potentially impacted members of the public, first responders, indigenous communities, lead government agencies and local authorities. The Plains FRCE sessions conducted with agencies allow for the opportunity to confirm roles and responsibilities during an emergency response, contact information and critical information for inclusion in the ERP. Furthermore, these FRCE sessions include a review of the local Plains operations, risks and hazards associated with operations, and the developed ERP’s.

The Plains FRCE process is initiated as per the Plains EMP requirements. The requirements were outlined as regular outreach and education cycle for first responder education, significant changes to the ERPs, emergency response training process, operations and/or personnel, learnings from incidents or exercises, acquisition of new assets or at the request of first responders. CER staff reviewed the supplied Plains documentation which outlined and supported the FRCE and supporting processes which achieve the program goals. This includes the Plains FRCE Contact Schedule, a tracking document of past and future visits, program requirements, individuals contacted and organizations requesting additional information.
Plains also demonstrated how liaison with impacted first responders is maintained through invitations and participation in emergency response and security exercises.

CER staff initiated and conducted meetings with first responders and agencies identified in the company’s Contact Schedule. During these interviews, CER staff heard positive feedback on Plains’ liaison and consultation approach. CER staff were told that meetings were conducted bi-annually, and information provided by the company during the meetings was beneficial and allowed opportunities for information exchange. First responders provided feedback to CER staff that they felt they could benefit from additional company presentations with local departments. This feedback was discussed with Plains and the company indicated they would address the concern. The CER indicated to first responders that it is also the responsibility of local departments to ensure Plains is made aware if they require additional meetings due to new hires or changes in response capabilities.

Members of the public potentially impacted by Plains’ operations were seen to be consulted to confirm the public’s contact information and specific needs required during a response. Plains provided evidence that public awareness visitations were conducted bi-annually with landowners, residence and occupants that intersect the pipeline. A public information handout (PIH) was distributed to these individuals and included an overview of operations, emergency response procedures, public protection measures and essential government and company contacts. The bi-annual visitations give Plains the ability to collect any new information such as new surface developments or any changes in ownership. CER staff confirmed that Plains’ internal mailing lists for PIH’s recipients are continually maintained and updated as part of the EMP.

Hazard Identification and Risk Communication
The CER reviewed supporting documentation submitted by Plains and had the opportunity to clarify any questions or concerns during an inspection closing meeting. Documents reviewed included: The information provided by Plains identifies that the FRCE process incorporates a review of hazards and risk that are specific to Plains’ operations. As identified in the FRCE Presentation, Plains’ assets, product properties and hazards associated with its assets are reviewed with agencies and persons that may be involved in an emergency response, during the FRCE process. Further to this, all impacted agencies and persons who may be involved in an emergency response receive updated risks and hazards associated with operations through the distribution of the annual ERP revisions.

Members of the public are contacted annually and provided with a Plains PIH. Plains explained that the PIH is thoroughly reviewed with individuals who request it. The PIH outlines general risks and hazards for working and living near pipelines as well as an overview of Plains operations and emergency response procedures and considerations.

The CER is of the view that Plains sufficiently communicates the hazards and risks of their operations to impacted members of the public and local agencies that may be involved in an emergency response.

Record Keeping and Assessment
CER staff reviewed the supporting documentation submitted by Plains and had the opportunity to clarify any questions or concerns during an inspection closing meeting. Documents reviewed included: The company’s EM Consultation Process is supported by the internal processes that ensure proper record keeping, program assessment and an appropriate means for monitoring and actioning external feedback. Plains described in detail the methods that they use to internally manage information and scheduling. Plains provided samples of the FRCE Contact Schedule, which identifies the impacted first responders organized by pipeline designation and outlines date visited, scheduled next visits, personnel in attendance and department information. Plains said that the results of the year’s FRCE is then provided internally within the FRCE Year in Review and Consultation Executive Summary.

Plains indicated that consultations are completed by a third-party vendor on their behalf. The EM Consultation Process document details the steps and expectations required to effectively complete the consultations. Within this Plains document process, the documentation steps are outlined as the following: Plains said that the Public Consultation Summary, which includes the information above, is provided by the vendor and reviewed internally on an annual basis.

Plains said that it has a Record of Concern (ROC) Procedure providing instruction on how to create, store, assess and maintain record of concerns via internal digital means. It is CER staff’s understanding that a ROC is documented through emergency management related consultation with residents, businesses, local authorities, Indigenous Communities, regulators, and government agencies and maintained in a ROC Tracker. The objectives of the ROC Procedures were identified as: Plains explained the process to CER staff on how ROCs are obtained, documented, assessed, assigned, and resolved to ensure none are overlooked or left without resolution. ROCs are managed by EM&S Specialists within the EM department.
After the review of the submitted documentation and meetings with Plains, it is CER staff’s view that the processes developed and maintained by Plains is an appropriate means of consultation record keeping and ensuring continuous improvement.

Plains said that it uses the Incident Command System (ICS) to manage pipeline emergencies. Plains said that it offers training to surrounding agencies and stakeholders so that a consistent understanding of how each operates as well as bridging response gaps through training and mutual understanding, can be achieved. Plains also said they will be providing ICS training to an Indigenous Group that requested this training while attending another operating company’s full scale exercise.

Annual exercises are conducted with local agencies, first responders and Indigenous communities that may be involved in an emergency response. These exercises allow all parties to practice emergency response roles and responsibilities as well as communication and clarify expectations. Plains said feedback and lessons learned from these exercises, as well as information obtained during the annual consultation processes, are integrated into the annual ERP updates.

With the information obtained through inspection consultations, meetings and documentation provided by Plains, CER staff is satisfied with the measures taken to promote interoperability between Plains, first responder and government agencies in the event of a pipeline emergency.

Continued Education
Plains described the FRCE process as a guide to the planning, scheduling, and execution of first responders, government agencies, local authorities, indigenous communities, members of the public continuing training and education (‘continued education’). The importance of continued education with local authorities, government agencies, and first responders is to ensure these organizations are aware of changing operating conditions, response ability and expectations. Within the documents provided by Plains, was the Emergency Management and Response FRCE presentation used when completing consultations. The presentation outlines the following:

  Further to the FRCE presentation. Plains’ information and content for local authority and Indigenous community consultations consists of the following topics:
  Meetings with local authorities and Indigenous consultations as identified above, have more emphasis on individual organization response actions and expectations. These discussions were explained to CER staff to drive changes within Plains’ ERPs as well as jurisdictional ERPs to ensure updated information is documented and referenced during an emergency situation and exercise. Exercises were identified by Plains as another means of ensuring continued education.

Plains described public awareness consultations conducted with landowners, residents and land users that intersect the Plains pipeline right of way. Plains described public residing adjacent to the pipeline as “surface developments”. Plains retains a third-party consulting company to conduct public consultations with surface developments. Plains explained to CER staff that a Public Information Handout (PIH) is provided and discussed and includes the following information:
  This information is provided to surface developments annually and provides the opportunity to inform members of the public of any updated public protection measures with regards to shelter in place instructions, updated response measures or changes to local operations and emergency contact numbers. These consultations allow the opportunity to update the public of company changes and for Plains to receive updates related to residential information to ensure contact can be made effectively in the event of an emergency.

The Plains Emergency and Security Management (E&SM) Lessons Learned Guidance Document offers guidance in identifying, confirming and addressing lessons learned as a result of exercises or emergency incidents that are specifically related to E&SM Management response actions and response management. As discussed in the ‘Record Keeping and Assessment’ section of this report, CER staff is satisfied with the information that Plains has provided with respect to the Policies and Processes implemented to ensure feedback is managed and incorporated, where required.

The information that Plains provided with respect to its Emergency Management Program was appropriate and satisfied the objectives of this compliance verification activity. CER staff heard positive comments from responding agencies regarding Plains’ liaison and continuing education activities. CER staff are of the view that Plains has established an appropriate liaison, consultation, and continuing education program, including positive working relationships with external agencies.


Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observations (company follow-up required)

Identified non-compliances to company plans or procedures are non-compliances either to:

- the condition of an authorization document that requires the implementation of that plan or procedure; or

- the relevant section of the regulations that requires implementation of that plan or procedure including those sections that require implementation of plans or procedures as a part of a Program