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Compliance

At the end of the day, Albertans own the province’s energy resources, so developing them is a privilege—not a right. Every company must follow the rules to make certain that energy development happens safely. If they don’t, they’ll face serious consequences. But how do we decide what those consequences will be, and what our options are to bring a company into compliance?

All of our compliance and enforcement actions are informed by our compliance assurance program. Our program is guided by the Integrated Compliance Assurance Framework. This framework describes our vision and strategic approach to compliance among Alberta’s energy producers. 

Under the framework, we focus on educating and enforcing our requirements and preventing noncompliances. Manual 013 – Compliance and Enforcement Program describes how we implement this framework.

What’s included in the program?

Our compliance assurance program includes several activities. Click on a section to learn more.

 

To ensure that companies are following our requirements, we regularly inspect and audit their activities. Whereas an inspection is a field examination of a company’s activity, an audit is a review of information (e.g., paperwork and reports) provided to us by the company.

 

We encourage companies to proactively identify, report, and correct their noncompliances, and mitigate any risk to the public or environment. When a company finds a noncompliance, we expect them to

  • correct or address it, and
  • shut down operations (if needed).

How to Submit

Companies can voluntarily self-disclose any noncompliances to our field centres, regional offices, and Authorizations branch at Authorizations.VSD@aer.ca.

Before submitting a voluntary self-disclosure form, operators should review our voluntary self-disclosure form instructions and our Frequently Asked Questions.

Our noncompliance triage assessment process helps us respond to noncompliances more quickly. For every noncompliance that we identify, the triage process

  • assesses the significance of the noncompliance,
  • helps coordinate our response, and
  • ensures that our assessment of the noncompliance is consistent.

This system allows us to consider all factors and the context surrounding every noncompliance. To determine the appropriate response, we consider the following:

  1. Did the noncompliance cause a significant impact to the environment, public safety, or an energy resource?
  2. Has the regulated party conducted an unauthorized activity that would not have been approved?
  3. Is there evidence that suggests that the noncompliance was done knowingly, willfully, or with demonstrated disregard for our requirements?
  4. Does the regulated party have a history of noncompliance related to the current noncompliance?
  5. Has the regulated party knowingly provided false or misleading information while addressing a regulatory requirement?

If any of the above criteria apply, we will decide if an investigation is needed.

If we find that a company is not complying with our requirements, we’ll take action by applying one or more compliance and enforcement tools. The tools we use vary, depending on how significant the noncompliance is.

Our Compliance Dashboard can be used to find out which companies aren’t complying, and what we’re doing about it. Under the dashboard’s compliance and enforcement tab, we share

  • compliance and enforcement decisions, such as warning letters, administrative penalties, and prosecutions;
  • administrative sanctions (e.g., imposition of terms and conditions);
  • orders we’ve issued to compel compliance; and
  • any notice of noncompliance where the noncompliance results in
    • suspending or shutting in operations,
    • suspending or cancelling an approval, or
    • cancelling a reclamation certificate.