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We ensure energy resource activities are undertaken in a manner that protects public safety and the environment, supports reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, conserves energy resources and fosters a sound economy and social well-being.

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.

There are over 1000 individual regulatory requirements of varying types and scope against which the BCER is responsible for verifying compliance - from requirements relating to infrastructure integrity, water use and air emissions, to ensuring "ecologically suitable species" are used for site restoration.

Compliance Verification

The BCER verifies compliance through a diverse set of administrative and field-based tools and activities, including application reviews, administrative reviews and monitoring, audits, inspections, and permit holder self-assessments. The most appropriate compliance verification tools are chosen based on the requirement type, nature and associated risk. Compliance verification activities are carried out by different departments across the organization.

Compliance Verification Tools and Activities

1. Application Reviews

Proponents' regulatory compliance is required before an energy resource activity application is submitted, including requirements to consult and notify land owners of prospective activities. Once an application is submitted, we review the applications against legislative requirements, and for environmental and public safety. During detailed project reviews, we can and do require companies to change their applications based on First Nations consultations, land owner concerns and/or technical assessment results. The following graph illustrates the number of application reviews that we conduct each year.

Figure 1. Number of application reviews carried out by the BCER each year

2. Administrative Reviews and Monitoring

Administrative compliance monitoring is an office-based compliance verification procedure that involves assessing compliance associated with permit holders' mandatory operational submissions, including data, notices, reports or any other information required to be submitted. Some administrative monitoring mechanisms may consist of, or be aided by, automated tools to identify alleged non-compliances.

The BCER's eSubmission system is the primary channel through which industry submits operational data in order to meet regulatory and conditional data submission requirements. The following graph illustrates the number of eSubmission reviews that we carry out each year.

Figure 2. Number of eSubmission reviews carried out by the BCER each year

3. Audits

The BCER performs comprehensive, targeted audits under various audit programs including, for example, the Pipeline and Facilities Integrity Management Program, the Certificate of Restoration Audit Program, the Archaeology Audit Program, the Surface Water Audit and the Riparian & Stream Crossing Audit Program.

The focus of audits is on the processes and procedures used to meet specified criteria or requirements, and their overall effectiveness. The scale and scope of individual audits is based on the size and nature of the company being audited as well as on the nature, functionality, complexity and the aspect of the area or system to be audited. This includes audits of single, multiple or integrated management system(s) or program areas conducted either separately or in combination.

The following graph displays the number of audits that the BCER carries out each year (see our Annual Compliance Plan reports for more info on our audit programs, including number of audits by program type). Note that data collection for audits started in 2021 and data is organized by fiscal year (rather than calendar year).

Figure 3. Number of audits carried out by the BCER each fiscal year

4. Field Inspections

On-site inspections by BCER Compliance and Enforcement Officers are the primary means through which field-based regulatory compliance is evaluated. Some inspections are triggered by events or complaints (for example, spills or noise complaints); however, most inspections are pre-planned using a model intended to optimize resource allocation based on risk, responsiveness to emerging issues and trends, the expertise and knowledge of BCER field staff and timing. See our dedicated Field Inspections data narrative for more detailed inspection information and data.

The bar chart below indicates the number of field inspections conducted by BCER Compliance and Enforcement Officers each year.

Figure 4. Number of field inspections carried out by the BCER each year

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