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The BCER oversees the full life cycle of energy resource activities in the province, from exploration and site planning, production, and pipeline transportation, to final site restoration. Integral to this role is ensuring industry compliance; that is, making sure that energy resource activity permit holders in the province operate in accordance with relevant legislation, regulations, permits and authorizations that are intended to protect public health, safety and the environment and support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Compliance is accomplished through proactive education and promotion, monitoring and inspection of permit holder activities, and investigation and enforcement of non-compliances.

Enforcement Model

We employ a graduated non-compliance response model where appropriate, ranging from non-compliance notices to more formal, statutory enforcement actions (Figure 1).

Figure 1. BCER's graduated non-compliance management model

Non compliance management model

The graduated approach ensures non-compliance response actions are proportionate to the non-compliance and BCER resources are allocated for maximum effect. BCER staff consider several factors to select the most appropriate enforcement action, including the severity of actual or potential impact to the environment and public safety, the factual circumstances of the non-compliance, the compliance history of the permit holder, as well as how to achieve the best remedy and reduce the likelihood of repeat non-compliance.

  • Non-compliance notices – notices that include the requirement(s) observed to be infringed, and a required correction period.  Non-compliance notices may come in the form of non-compliance notices, compliance meetings, and notices of corrective and preventative actions. 
  • Warning letters – written warnings to a company following an investigation, formally acknowledging a non-compliance to an Act, regulation and/or permit condition, and informing possible escalation of further enforcement action should the non-compliance re-occur.  
  • Compliance orders – written statutory enforcement actions that require regulated parties to address non-compliance issues or take measures to mitigate a risk to public safety, protect the environment or promote conservation of the resource. Designated officials issue orders, requiring a party to follow specific instructions to prevent, alter, or stop activities or repair works that may have damaging impacts.  Administrative sanctions may result.
  • Findings of contravention – following an investigation, and an opportunity to be heard from the alleged non-compliant party, a statutory decision maker may make a finding of contravention.  Findings of contravention represent a formal finding of non-compliance and may be accompanied by an administrative penalty.  Findings of contravention decisions may be reviewed or appealed by the party found in contravention. 
  • Administrative Penalties – monetary fines, with amounts prescribed by regulation.  The statutory decision makers who issue the penalties consider all mitigating and aggravating circumstances of the contravention when determining whether to apply an administrative penalty and in determining the appropriate amount.   
  • Other Administrative Sanctions – statutory decisions by the BCER, such as suspensions, cancellations or revocations of permits or approvals, including in response to non-compliant compliance parties with persistent patterns of poor compliance. 
  • Prosecution – non-compliance with some provisions of legislation and regulations.  Where an offence is alleged to have been committed, and the circumstances warrant, the BCER may pursue prosecution through the courts.  Prosecution is an essential compliance tool applied, when necessary, but reserved for situations where administrative law proceedings are not considered appropriate or commensurate based on the circumstances of the alleged offence. 

Additionally, the BCER may also issue tickets in relation to authorizations it has provided under certain enactments.  

Where appropriate, alleged non-compliances are managed through the Non-Compliance Notice and Correction Process. However, staff may escalate to formal enforcement actions where non-compliance notices are not effective, or as the circumstances warrant. See our Compliance and Enforcement Manual for more details.

The following graph displays a summary of formal BCER enforcement actions by type and year. We post all warning letters, orders, tickets and contravention decisions on our website.

Figure 2. Number of enforcement actions by type

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