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On June 1, 2024, the BC Energy Regulator (BCER) will become the single regulatory agency for issuing Heritage Conservation Act permits and orders for inspections and investigations related to energy resource activities.

The expansion of BCER's authorities under the Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) allows for a single-window approach to HCA permitting for the energy resource industry.

Among the changes, energy resource companies will submit applications to the BCER for permits to conduct archaeological inspections and investigations.

The following reference materials are intended to assist proponents in understanding and adapting to these changes.

Reference Materials

Heritage Conservation Act sec 12.2 Implementation - Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why was the BCER selected to take on this responsibility?

The BCER has been administering sec 12.2 through a Protocol Agreement with the Archaeology Branch since 2004. The BCER also has a specified enactment in ERAA for decision making responsibility on sec 12.4 permits. This change allows for a single-window approach to HCA permitting for the energy resource industry.

2. What permits are affected by this change?

The BCER will be responsible for statutory decisions on sec 12.2 Heritage Inspection Permits and will continue to be responsible for sec 12.4 Site Alternation Permits for activities regulated under the Energy Resources Activities Act. Canada Energy Regulator (CER)-regulated transmission pipeline permits will continue to be administered by the Archaeology Branch. Site inventory decisions will remain with the Archaeology Branch. Where BCER and Archaeology Branch-regulated aspects overlap, separate permits from each regulator will be required.

3. Did this amendment go through a First Nations consultation process?

Yes, consultation on this amendment was conducted by the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation.

4. Will the BCER be supplying updated documentation, forms and procedures?

Yes, an updated manual will be posted on prior to changes going into effect. The manual will cover Archaeological Information Forms, sec 12.2 and sec 12.4 application submission and requirements and all the information you will need, including final reporting requirements, to complete an application.

5. Will this change affect the application process for oil and gas and other resource activity permits?

The requirements for energy resource activity applications will remain the same. The proponent will submit an Archaeological Information Form (AIF) with their application, and this form will need to be signed by a qualified archaeologist. The BCER will update documentation to define "qualified archaeologist", but the requirements will be like the previous “HCA permit holder" role.

6. How will the process of applying for and managing a sec 12.2 permit be changing?

The permit application process will be like the current process, except proponents will apply to the BCER instead of the Archaeology Branch. However, the industry proponent will assume the role of permit holder. The permit will still require sign off from a professional archaeologist. Proponents do not need to hire an in-house archaeologist, nor are they prevented from doing so.

7. How will the content of sec 12.2 permits be changing?

Permit templates will be like those currently in use with updates made to address the changes in roles. Applicants will continue to have the option to propose changes or additions to methodology. The BCER will continue to participate in the Archaeology Branch Community of Practice.

8. What if we have applications already submitted?

The Archaeology Branch and the BCER are working to identify affected permits. BCER staff will contact applicants to discuss options and recommendations.

9. How will the BCER assess qualifications for archaeological professionals?

The archaeologist must be in good standing with the BCER and the Archaeology Branch to work under a permit issued by the BCER. The BCER will work with the Archaeology Branch to ensure consistency in their assessments of archaeologist’s qualifications, including participating in the Field Director Review Working Group.

10. Will the changes alter permitting and application timelines?

Timelines will be consistent with other ERAA applications.

11. How will the BCER manage compliance with permit conditions and ensure a high quality of work?

The BC Energy Regulator (BCER) expects applicants and permit holders to use formal practices in day-to-day operations and comply with the Energy Resource Activities Act (ERAA), the specified enactments and all related regulations. BCER Heritage Conservation staff review HCA permit submissions and conduct field inspections and audits. Where issues are found they work with the permit holder and archaeologist to resolve them. Non-compliance may escalate to the Compliance and Enforcement group who can investigate and may pursue enforcement actions.

12. Will there be additional staffing for the BC Energy Regulator Heritage Conservation Program Team?

The BCER will monitor staffing needs during the transition period. In addition to the three Heritage Conservation staff, the BCER has teams for First Nations consultation and compliance & enforcement specialists who can support HCA permit management.

13. Will permit holders and archaeologists get help when they need it?

Absolutely, you can email specific questions to

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