Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
Issue 36 - Evidence - February 7, 2013
OTTAWA, Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources met this day, at 8:01 a.m., to study the current state of the
safety elements of the bulk transport of hydrocarbon products in Canada.
Senator Richard Neufeld(Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to this meeting of the Standing Senate
Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. My name is
Richard Neufeld. I represent the province of British Columbia in the Senate
and I am the chair of this committee.
I would like to welcome all honourable senators, members of the public
with us in the room, and viewers all across the country who are watching on
My able deputy chair, Senator Grant Mitchell, is from Alberta. I will
start with introductions.
Senator Wallace: John Wallace, from New Brunswick.
Senator Johnson: Janis Johnson, from Manitoba.
Senator Brown: I am Bert Brown, from Alberta.
Senator Massicotte: Paul Massicotte, Quebec.
Senator Lang: Dan Lang from the Yukon.
Senator Ringuette: Pierrette Ringuette, New Brunswick.
The Chair: All senators know the file quite well so it will be
interesting. We are all looking forward to having an opportunity for some
questions and answers.
I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce our clerk, Lynn
Gordon, who has been with us as long as I have been here, and our two
Library of Parliament analysts, Marc LeBlanc and Sam Banks.
On November 28, 2012, our committee was authorized by the Senate to
initiate a study on the safe transportation of hydrocarbons in Canada. The
study will examine and compare domestic and international regulatory
regimes, standards and best practices relating to the safe transport of
hydrocarbon products by transmission pipelines and marine tanker vessels and
The first portion of the study will focus on safety elements relating to
transmission pipelines, defined generally as long-haul, large-diameter,
high-pressure pipelines. The study will examine the roles of the regulators
and industry in advancing the safety performance throughout the life cycle
of transmission pipelines in Canada.
To date, the committee has held three meetings on the study. We have two
panels today. In the first portion of our meeting it gives me pleasure to
introduce, from the Canadian Standards Association, Laura Pelan, Manager,
Standards; Kent Carlson, Project Manager, Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry
Systems; and Doug Morton, Director, Government Relations.
I understand Mr. Morton that has some words he wants to begin with and
then we will go to questions and answers. We have one hour for this panel.
Doug Morton, Director, Government Relations, CSA Group: Thank you,
honourable senators. It is terrific to be here. I appreciate the opportunity
to address the committee. I am the Director of Government Relations for
Standards at CSA Group. With me are Laura Pelan, Manager, Standards and Kent
Carlson, Project Manager, Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry Systems. He is
responsible for the Z662 Technical Committee on Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems
and Materials. Ms. Pelan was his predecessor in that role.
In the next few minutes, I will provide a brief overview of the standards
division of CSA Group and, in particular, the petroleum and natural gas
industry systems program, which is relevant to this committee.
I will describe our accredited standards development process and how the
662 standard was developed and maintained since first being published in
Finally, I will touch upon how this standard relates to similar U.S. and
international standards on pipelines and how Canada influences the
international work done in this subject area.
Established in 1919, CSA was the first and is the largest of the
accredited standards development organizations in Canada. We are an
independent, not-for-profit membership association, serving business,
government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace with over
3,000 published codes and standards. Our standards cover 54 different
subject areas, including the environment, energy, quality management, health
care, infrastructure to name a few.
We also have experience dealing with sensitive topics such as privacy and
nuclear safety. Just two weeks ago we published the first standard on
psychological health and safety in the workplace.
Our standards are developed by our 7,500 members who are experts in their
fields and sit on various technical committees dealing with each standard.
Our approach is to develop those standards based on the principles of
balanced representation and consensus. CSA also has a strong international
presence. As authorized by the Standards Council of Canada, we administer
several mirror committees and working groups on behalf of the International
Organization for Standardization, commonly known as ISO. This includes a
mirror committee on pipeline transportation systems for the petroleum and
natural gas industries, which I will discuss in more detail in a few
Many of our standards have been harmonized with international standards.
Other standards are derived from standards developed beyond our borders, but
customized for the unique needs of Canada.
As I mentioned, CSA's standards development process is accredited by the
Standards Council of Canada, which is a transparent process founded on
balanced representation and consensus. Technical committee members are
selected to represent interest groups most likely to be affected by a
CSA functions as a neutral third party, providing a structure and forum
for developing standards, but it is the technical committee members who
write and update those standards.
All of our standards are voluntary and only become mandatory when
referenced by government or a regulatory authority.
Once published, standards are living documents, continually revised and
refreshed to address changing requirements and emerging technologies.
Our standards development process includes seven distinct stages. I
believe you have some of the material that was previously distributed in
front of you. They include the proposal stage, the preparation committee,
inquiry approval, publication and maintenance. At three different points
along that continuum, public notification comes into play.
Looking specifically at the petroleum and natural gas industry systems
program, we have been serving the needs of the petroleum and natural gas
sector for over 45 years. Standards developed through the CSA petroleum and
natural gas program represent the technical requirements for compliance with
regulation, a testament to the strength of our renowned standards
The standards serve as benchmarks for the design, construction, operation
and maintenance of pipelines. They have been developed accusing
multi-stakeholder processes which create a high level of continuity and
confidence for the public.
Each of the petroleum and natural gas standards are incorporated by
reference in provincial and federal regulations.
CSA has also developed standards in related areas of sustainability.
Recently we published the world's first standard on geological storage of
carbon dioxide. Our standards also help promote public safety in the sector.
For example, we have published a standard called Security Management for
Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry Systems, the first of its kind in North
Within our petroleum and natural gas systems program, each new edition of
the 662 standard follows a process. First, public notice of intent to
proceed with the project is published on CSA's website. Our staff, together
with members of the committees involved, identify the resources needed to
develop a working draft, such as potential seed documents and relevant
international standards and practices, and then develop a project schedule.
The technical committee and its 10 technical subcommittees, all facilitated
by CSA staff, develop the draft. The draft is released for a 60-day public
review and comment period. All comments received are reviewed and
"dispositioned" by the technical subcommittees and the major technical
committee. The draft is then submitted for internal review by CSA staff, as
required by our operating procedures. The technical committee then approves
the technical content of the draft, resolving any negative votes that may
have been received. We conduct a final edit and review, and then we advance
the standard to the Standards Council of Canada for recognition as a
national standard of the country.
The standard is a living document. As such, it is maintained to keep it
up to date and technically valid, which may include the publication of
amendments or interpretations from time to time. The work of the committee
is actually never done because as one standard is published, they start
thinking about the next one, and we publish the standard every four years.
It is important to note that the high degree of process, transparency and
predictability is seen by stakeholders a key strength of the standards
In addition to our established processes, another strength of ours lies
in our membership base. As I mentioned, we work with multiple stakeholder
committees made up of industry, government and general interest groups to
develop the standard. For the 662 standard, approximately 250 experts serve
on 30 committees to develop and maintain the 662 standard.
The current edition of the standard was published in English in June
2011, followed by the French publication in January 2012. It was granted
National Standard of Canada status in September 2012.
The standard covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance
of oil and gas industry pipeline systems that transport the following:
liquid hydrocarbons, including crude oil, multiphase fluids, condensate and
liquid petroleum products; natural gas liquids and liquefied petroleum gas;
oil-fuelled water and steam; carbon dioxide used in oil field-enhanced
recovery schemes; and gas.
In addition to developing and publishing the standard, CSA Group offers
training based on the 662. These courses range from a one-day overview
program to comprehensive three-day offerings on specific sections of the
I will now provide a brief overview of how the standard interacts and
compares with the requirements of the U.S. and how we currently work at the
In Canada, pipeline operators follow the 662 standard, which is
referenced at both the provincial and federal levels, thereby giving it the
force of law. It is up to each individual regulator to determine whether
they want to reference the standard and if so, whether to reference it in
whole or in part, or with deviations.
Currently, the standard is referenced by regulators such as the NEB and
the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec,
Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
As input to the development of 662, international practices, including
those of the U.S., are benchmarked and the requirements of the CSA standard
are aligned with those international practices, where applicable.
In the U.S., oil and gas companies must follow the Code of Federal
Regulations, Title 49, parts 192 and 195, as well as all applicable state
regulations. This code is developed and maintained by the Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which operates under the
Department of Transportation. A variety of standards are incorporated by
reference in part or in whole to Title 49.
In 2008, a report was prepared for the administration to compare U.S. and
Canadian transmission pipeline consensus standards. The report, which is
available on the administration website, notes that pipeline regulations in
the U.S. and Canada rely largely on the partial or complete incorporation by
reference of industry standards and that these standards are generally
compatible regarding material and equipment issues.
It is important to note that although there might be differences in the
Canadian and U.S. approaches, our respective processes are very stringent,
and we cooperate on all key topics of importance to oil and gas pipeline
systems. Furthermore, American experts sit on CSA committees and vice versa.
At the international level, the International Organization for
Standardization, ISO, has a committee on the topic on materials, equipment
and offshore structures for petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas
industries. To provide input to this ISO committee, the Standards Council of
Canada created what is called the Canadian Mirror Committee, which is
comprised of experts from this committee, including a number of members of
committees involved in the development and maintenance of our standard. The
purpose of the mirror committee is to review proposals made by the ISO
committees and provide a Canadian perspective so that our voice is heard at
the international table.
CSA currently administers the Canadian Mirror Committee on pipeline
transportation systems for the petroleum and natural gas industries and
works to ensure that Canadian interests are represented at the international
table. In addition, CSA members participate on the 16 active ISO working
groups associated with pipeline transportation systems.
An important item to note is that any pipeline incidents that take place
internationally are reviewed and considered at the CSA Technical Committee
In conclusion, I would like to once again thank you for the opportunity
to be here today to address the committee and to speak about our process and
CSA's unique core competence provides a structure and forum for
developing standards that protect the lives of Canadians, enhances business
opportunities and positions Canada as one of the top standards development
countries in the world.
In addition to the suite of expertise and knowledge that we have in oil
and gas standards development, we also have outstanding standards and
expertise in areas related to carbon capture and storage and protective
equipment for workers. All of these varied subject areas, when combined
together, make our standards development process so valuable and unique to
the industry and to Canadians.
I hope this information has provided you with a picture of how CSA offers
a process that works towards practical solutions in a way that is balanced,
transparent, open and subject to public review.
My colleagues and I would be pleased to answer any questions that you
might have. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That was very good. I will start
out with a few questions and then defer to my colleagues.
I think it is important for people who might be listening to understand
that to develop these standards you work with industry, consumers and
regulatory bodies, which is to say governments. Correct me if I am wrong
there. Are those the three main ones that you would work with?
Mr. Morton: Yes. We also work with academia, but industry,
government and consumers are the major three.
The Chair: I understand the regulator part and the industry part,
but who represents the consumers?
Mr. Morton: That is a good question. As I mentioned in my remarks,
we want to ensure that, on our committees, anybody who will be impacted by a
standard has a voice at the table. When we develop health care standards,
for example, we want to ensure that there are consumers at the table because
they will ultimately be affected by it.
We did not have consumer representatives on this particular standard
development. However, they are an important voice to be heard, depending on
the nature of the standard that we are developing.
The Chair: Regarding when you go out with the results, I think you
said you go out for a 60-day period. Do you get any response from the
average consumer, not someone who is in a regulatory body? For instance, if
we are talking about health care, then about health care? Do you ever get
responses from individuals?
Mr. Morton: Absolutely. Again, depending on the nature of the
standard, if a standard is fairly routine, when we go to public review we
may get a number of comments.
The psychological health and safety standard that I referred to in my
remarks that we published two weeks ago generated, I believe, close to 900
comments from a variety of stakeholders across the country, but we do hear
from every nature of stakeholder.
The Chair: That is very good to know. Second, how are you funded?
Mr. Morton: We are funded in a variety of ways. This is one thing
that makes CSA a bit unique. Some of our programs are entirely funded. For
example, the standards we write for the nuclear sector are entirely funded
by the major organizations involved in that sector. In health care, for
example, we might be funded by various industry groups. It really varies. In
some cases we do not get any funding for a standard but we believe the
standard will demonstrate social value, so we invest in that on our own. The
range of funding models is actually quite extensive.
The Chair: Would it be fair to say that you get funding from a
broad enough spectrum that there would be no waiting at all on industry or
government or anything else in the decisions that you make? I am not saying
that you would do that, but I think it is important for the public to know
those kinds of things, that you are funded broadly, if I understand your
Mr. Morton: You are right, but you raise a good point, senator.
The major thing that I talked about in my remarks is that we have a very
Let us assume, for example, that a government department was completely
funding the development of one of our standards. Because we have a balanced
matrix approach in our committees, even though they are funding it they only
get one vote. We ensure that no one company, industry or government
department can dominate the process.
The Chair: That is very good to know. The public needs to know
those things because we always hear stories that industry funding is it so
it is all to their advantage. I am pleased with that response.
I will quickly move on to another item, namely, incidents that you say
occur internationally. That would be anywhere else but in Canada. Do you
review all of them or do you pick and choose some that might have some
relative things that could happen in Canada?
Mr. Morton: I will defer to my colleagues?
Laura Pelan, Manager, Standards, CSA Group: The committees will
look at anything that is brought to the table, but usually by a member of
the committee. For example, let us take the San Bruno pipeline rupture. A
number of recommendations were put out by the NTSB. Those are all being
reviewed by our subcommittees to look at whether the requirements that we
have in our standard are sufficient, examining all the recommendations to
see whether or not we would adhere to those as well.
Senator Mitchell: Clearly, your standards address hard physical
things. In the case of pipelines, it would be the thickness of pipelines,
the quality of tape that wraps them, the nature of the welds and that kind
of thing. They also address softer issues like training standards, I see. Is
that true? Is that what you folks do?
Kent Carlson, Project Manager, Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry
Systems, CSA Group: The standard does address technical requirements
such as those that you offered. It also addresses things like management
systems, for example, ensuring that incidents that happen in the industry
are learned from. There is continuous improvement to ensure that companies
have proper training programs and things like that.
Senator Mitchell: That is very interesting. That actually
addresses exactly my next question.
Mr. Caron, Chair of the National Energy Board, was here. He made an
interesting point. A lot of what they look at is the whole structure of the
management system. Safety comes from management systems. He said that at
some point we might have standards by which we could audit the culture of
safety. That intrigued me because it is people who make these things safe
ultimately. You then think of Kalamazoo where for 12 hour or 17 hours they
were getting messages that they were not seen. Is this something that you
would work on and establish standards for a culture of safety and that you
could actually begin to also establish standards or processes by which that
culture of safety could be audited?
Mr. Morton: Absolutely. We write occupational health and safety
standards, for example. They are management standards. They not only deal
with how to recognize potential hazards that workers may face but also how
to put programs in place and how to measure those issues. We actually do
that in a range of standards. We call those management standards. They are
very comprehensive. Particularly with health and safety standards, we have
been involved in those standards for many, many years.
Senator Mitchell: How do you integrate a new technology? For
example, a pipeline company comes with technology that would make everything
much safer but it is somewhat more expensive than what they would like to
spend money on. How would you even know about that technology and get to the
point where you would insist that it becomes the standard?
Mr. Morton: First, CSA does not determine what becomes a standard;
our stakeholders do. We respond to them.
I mentioned some of the areas in which we write standards, but we are
also a significant player when it comes to what we call emerging
technologies. For example, we are playing a key role at the international
table and the Canadian table right now on nanotechnology. Interestingly
enough, our first standards out of nanotechnology relate to occupational
health and safety. We are also dealing with technologies like the smart
grid, electric vehicles, et cetera. We just signed a contract with NRCan to
develop electrical vehicle recharging station standards.
Standards are sometimes looked at as the incubation or R & D arm of CSA.
We do a lot of investigation. We work with the international community to
understand those technologies and how ultimately they should evolve to
standards so that we can be a better resource to our stakeholders.
Senator Mitchell: I was going to ask if you could develop some
standards for the quality of debate in Parliament.
The Chair: I do not know whether you would adhere to them.
Senator Mitchell: I could help you with that.
Senator Lang: I would like to follow up and clarify for the record
a question that Senator Neufeld touched on. You are an independent
organization, not beholden to any particular stakeholder. You operate
independently and, therefore, no vested interest can be put to you or
allegations can be put to your organization. Is that correct?
Mr. Morton: That is correct, senator.
Senator Lang: That leads me to the next question. One of the
reasons we are having these hearings is because of the debate in Canada
today about the safety of pipelines and also whether or not, in the long
term, pipelines should continue to be built in this country in respect to
transportation of our fossil fuels.
Day in and day out we hear statements being made by those in opposition
to the construction of pipelines on the safety of the installation of
pipelines and the question of the risk involved with pipelines, yet seldom
do we hear from organizations such as yours when these statements are made,
clarifying the record in respect to exactly how safe these pipelines are and
how you minimize the risk involved in the running of a pipeline. Why are you
not more active in public relations so that the public is aware of what your
organization does and also aware of all the research you have done so that
the public can make up its own mind in respect to the risk factor involved
Mr. Morton: That is an interesting question. We have been, as I
mentioned in my remarks, in existence for 94 years. Most people in the
country, I think, recognize what CSA is in some way, even if it is just the
CSA certification mark on the bottom of their toaster. However, they do not
fully understand some of the breadth that I have talked to you about today.
One of the things we are doing is becoming much more active in how we
promote ourselves and make people aware, particularly at the federal
government level. I have been in my current role since February of last
year. One of the motivations for creating my job was to make sure that
people at the federal government level understood what the CSA story
actually was and where we do make a contribution.
With respect to your specific point about pipeline incidents, as you have
heard from Mr. Caron of the NEB, standards are one part of managing
pipelines, management systems, quality systems, operational processes, et
cetera. There is more to pipelines than just standards. Certainly, when
incidents are raised, it is the companies involved or the regulators
involved that are primarily front and centre. We typically do not take a
role in that sort of debate. If we are asked or if an issue comes up related
to our standard, we certainly address it.
For example, I mentioned that we write standards in occupational health
and safety. Obviously, issues happen in the workplace, accidents happen, and
sometimes people lose their lives. One of the things that I saw in my
previous role — I ran the occupational health and safety group — were the
coroner's reports, for example, for accidents that take place. Any time
there is a recommendation with respect to a standard, we pay attention to
that and we certainly respond in that way. However, when it comes to
pipeline issues, you are absolutely right; we rely on industry and the
regulators to deal with those issues.
Senator Lang: I would think that public relations would be part of
your responsibilities in respect to these standards. The fact that you are
independent gives you that much more credence rather than a proponent of a
pipeline that is proposing to build a pipeline.
As an organization, are you requested to appear before these
environmental assessment boards, for example, the Northern Gateway, in
respect to bringing forward your knowledge, what you expect your standards
are and what those standards will achieve in the long term? Do you actually
Mr. Morton: Not that we are aware of, no.
Senator Lang: It would seem to me that an organization such as
yours might be valuable from the point of view of informing the public
exactly what standards are required and why those standards are there
because I do not know who else would be speaking on your behalf.
Mr. Morton: Certainly, if we were ever invited to such a hearing,
we would be more than happy to participate, to explain the role that we do
play. I looked at Mr. Caron's remarks from the other day, and he referred to
our standard as something that the NEB, for example, refers to and relies on
in part. We would be more than happy to appear if it would help facilitate
Senator Lang: It would seem to me that you do not have to be
invited. You can ask to intervene and appear before a hearing. You may want
to consider doing that because what you have just said here is very
Mr. Morton: Thank you, senator.
Senator Ringuette: For our viewers, I would like make a
correction. Our mission here is to look at all forms of bulk transportation
of hydrocarbons, not only pipelines.
With regard to bulk transportation, we have tankers, pipelines, rail
lines, trucking and so forth. Do we have standards for all these bulk modes
Ms. Pelan: We have standards on transportation of dangerous goods,
but it is in a different group, so I do not have a lot more information than
that. For oil and gas, we deal with the pipelines, and that is the
Senator Ringuette: Do you not establish standards for rail
transportation, truck transportation or tanker transportation?
Mr. Morton: As Ms. Pelan said, senator, there are nine standards
that Transport Canada references in its regulations dealing with
transportation of dangerous goods. CSA writes all of those standards for
them, but not specifically for petroleum. I think you would have to refer to
Senator Ringuette: Transport Canada has asked you to provide
standards for only transportation of oil via pipeline.
Mr. Morton: No, the pipeline standards were done for the oil and
gas sector. Transportation of dangerous goods is done with Transport Canada.
Senator Ringuette: Would that include the different modes that I
have mentioned earlier?
Mr. Morton: Certainly, Transport Canada looks after rail and
marine transportation. We primarily look after the transportation of
dangerous goods over road, I assume.
Senator Ringuette: Therefore, you would establish the standards
for trucking of oil.
Mr. Morton: Correct. That is my understanding, senator.
Senator Ringuette: Do you have an automatic upgrading of
standards, or how is it triggered?
Mr. Morton: As I mentioned in my remarks, with this particular
standard dealing with pipelines, we renew the standard every four years. We
are required to renew a standard under our Standards Council of Canada
guidelines at least every five years. In the case of pipelines, we do it in
We also write, for example, the Canadian Electrical Code, and because it
changes so often, we republish it every three years. The committee makes the
determination as to how frequently the standard should be published.
Senator Ringuette: You have a time frame in which you upgrade and
review the current standard.
Mr. Morton: That is right. We cannot let them go more than five
years without renewing them.
Senator Ringuette: For instance, with regard to pipelines, it is
an automatic review every five years.
Mr. Morton: In this case, it is every four years. That is correct.
Senator Ringuette: For pipelines in particular, would that include
standards for the design, construction, material, the operation and
maintenance, all the different phases of the pipeline?
Mr. Morton: Yes. Anything in the standard is renewed every four
years. I think the table of contents for the standard is something like 15
pages long. It is a very extensive standard. All of it is considered every
Senator Ringuette: In the last 10 years with regard to the
particular standards that we are looking at for pipelines, certainly there
has been an upgrade of the standards, but have there been any questions from
the general public or particular consumer groups?
Mr. Carlson: That is a good question. I am not aware. I would have
to check and get back to you. Typically, the questions that we get are from
committee members or people who work in the industry who are familiar with
Senator Ringuette: If you are not aware with regard to consumer
groups, have you re-looked at upgrading the standards based on a leakage?
Ms. Pelan: It would be an incident, so if the leak was an
incident, it would be looked at by the appropriate technical subcommittee
responsible for that section of the standard. If it was a material issue,
then our material subcommittee that looks at the entire clause 5 of the Z662
standard would look at what happened and whether there is a change needed in
our minimum requirements that we put in our standard.
Senator Ringuette: That would trigger a review before the
Ms. Pelan: Exactly, yes.
Senator Ringuette: Has that occurred in the last 10 years?
Ms. Pelan: We have issued amendments, yes. If a safety issue is
brought up before the four-year cycle, before the publication of every four
years, we will issue an amendment to address any type of changes in
technology or to address an incident or a safety requirement that needs to
be changed in the standard. At that point, we would issue an amendment to
Senator Massicotte: Just to go back to the questions our chair
offered, I think this is so important. This is highly technical. We are not
experts in your field, so I want to go into how it was created. I want to be
When you created the CSA Z662, could you tell us who specifically was on
the committee, who represented the consumer, who represented the government
and so on? Could you give us more specific details as to the composition of
Mr. Morton: I can tell you there were almost 50 members on the
committee. They ranged from representatives of oil and gas companies to
provincial and federal regulators. The NEB sat at the board and a number of
provincial regulators sat at the committee. I think there were pipefitters.
There was a range of stakeholders, but about 50 members of the committee.
Senator Massicotte: Of the 50, how many were regulators and how
many were consumers? Could you give us the breakdown?
Mr. Morton: I would be more than happy to make a list of the
members available and how they break down.
The Chair: If you would, please send it to the clerk.
Senator Massicotte: When you come back with those details, can you
tell us who funded the research costs in that particular case? Do you keep
track of the votes? You say it is by consensus. Everyone must agree?
Mr. Morton: No. Consensus means the majority agree. Everyone does
not have to agree.
Senator Massicotte: Could you come back with the Z662 standard and
how they voted?
Mr. Morton: We do not publish that information because of the
privacy of the committee, so we cannot tell you how individuals voted if
that is what you are looking for.
Senator Massicotte: If you can send us that information, we would
In your presentation you also referenced information about U.S. and
Canadian standards. You never make a comment. You say they worked hard
together to reach consensus. Regarding Z662, how do our standards compare to
the American and European standards? Is it similar quality, same result,
better or worse?
Mr. Carlson: A 2008 NEB report deals with that. We could forward
you that report.
Senator Massicotte: What does the report say, approximately?
Mr. Carlson: I have one quote here on the 2008 report: ". . . has
shown fewer pipe body liquid releases than reference organizations almost
every year since 2000." That was in comparison to the U.S. and European
Senator Massicotte: We heard that conclusion yesterday, and I
think that is accurate. However, were also told yesterday that while our
frequencies were less frequent, the volume of oil and gas leaked is
approximately the same. It is funny how you can write a different
conclusion. In your mind, do you think our standards seem to be superior to
the American and European standards, if you think that quote is accurate?
Mr. Morton: I am not sure I would necessarily say "superior." As
I mentioned in my remarks, our respective processes are stringent and rely
on incorporation of standards. I think the codes on both sides of the border
are strong. I am not in a position of saying one is better than the other.
Senator Johnson: When did your organization come into being?
Mr. Morton: I think I said 1919.
Senator Johnson: Could you give me examples of your membership?
Mr. Morton: Since we deal in so many different areas of
technology, we have about 7,500 members across the country representing
health care, energy, electrical, occupational health and safety. They are
from a variety of fields.
Senator Johnson: What would your membership numbers be? How many
groups would be in your organization and what is the size of your board?
Mr. Morton: Our membership is all volunteers. CSA Standards is an
organization of about 170 people. We are based largely in Toronto, although
we have an office in Ottawa and facilities across the country. At CSA Group,
our mother organization, we have 1,700 people. Those folks are largely in
North America, but we also have a strong presence from a certification and
testing side, product safety side, in Asia and Europe.
Senator Johnson: As my colleague Senator Lang said, it would be
good to know more about you. The public would find it more helpful if you
were out there about bit more about this, especially these days when the
issue is so important.
I want to go over to the Canada-U.S. side. I chair the Canada-United
States Inter-Parliamentary Group. We go to Washington a lot and talk about
these things. You mentioned our systems are different but highly integrated.
What are the standards differences between the two countries? Also, how are
Ms. Pelan: What are the standard differences?
Senator Johnson: Are there differences in the standards between
Canada and the United States?
Ms. Pelan: It is not really within my expertise to know the U.S.
standards very well. I can certainly defer to the National Energy Board's
report that Mr. Carlson mentioned. I believe there was a link provided in
the discussion paper, where they looked at comparing those two standards.
Specifically, they focused on 662 in Canada and ASME B31.8, which was the
standard mainly identified in that report.
Senator Johnson: That might also talk about the differences
present. Do these differences present any pipeline safety issues, which is
another concern of ours?
Ms. Pelan: The board works closely with the PHMSA in the States
and recognize the need to work closely. Pipelines cross the border, so they
Senator Johnson: There is so much going on between the two
countries, Keystone, et cetera. I was wondering if you could enlighten me
further on that for our committee and our study.
Mr. Morton: We will certainly re-send that link to the clerk so
you have reference to it.
Senator Wallace: Mr. Morton, as you point out, the CSA has
developed a standard for design, construction, and maintenance of oil and
gas pipelines with the CSA Z662 standard. That is reassuring, I guess, and
comforting. It is adopted by regulation federally and provincially. There is
a standard across the country. However, beneath that, I am wondering about
the detail that your standards would get into in terms of design,
construction and maintenance. When I say that, I am thinking of the
different terrains and geographic conditions over which these pipelines can
pass. They are built in the North on muskeg and they pass under waterways.
There would be different challenges and technical requirements. Do the
standards get into the type of detail whereby you would prescribe a
different standard of design, depending on where the pipeline would be
constructed or located?
Ms. Pelan: The standard provides minimum requirements. It is meant
to lean toward the performance-based approach. However, there are
requirements and it will get into talking about cover, clearance, et cetera,
when they are talking about design of pipelines. It certainly takes into
consideration the unique climate that Canada has. That is why we have
maintained our own Canadian standard; we recognize the need for our own
Senator Wallace: There is no one-size-fits-all in Canada. There is
a big difference running a pipeline over the prairie versus in the Northwest
Territories, the Yukon. Within the standard, if you were developing a line
in the muskeg in the Northwest Territories, could you look to the standard
and find out what had to be done in that area that would differ from a
pipeline in conditions that would not be as severe?
Ms. Pelan: I believe those requirements are in the standard, where
you will have the factors of temperature ranges. Again, unfortunately I am
not a technical expert on the standard, but I believe those requirements are
Mr. Carlson: There are different design requirements depending on
the environment the pipeline is running through.
Senator Wallace: When pipeline incidents occur, the location of
shut-off valves is very important — the type of valve, whether it is
electronic, manual, and where it is located — so if there is a loss you
could at least be limited to the length of pipe between two shut-offs. Do
the standards get down into that type of detail that would prescribe the
type of shut-offs that would have to be located on lines and, depending in
what geographic area the lines might be located, where they would have to be
located, the distance apart, and whether they be manual or electronic? If
they are electronic, they can be shut down far more quickly than if you have
to fly a helicopter into the North to manually shut off a line that could be
frozen. Do you get into those details?
Ms. Pelan: Yes, the standard does go into that level of details. I
cannot quote exactly what those requirements are.
Senator Wallace: No. It is just for us to get a sense of it and to
educate us as to the level of detail. We know there is a standard. We are
looking to have comfort with the type of detail.
Ms. Pelan: Yes, they do carry that level of detail in them, and
that is what allows the National Energy Board to reference that as their
Mr. Morton: To go back to your earlier question, the standard
deals with what happens if you are dealing with crossing water with a
pipeline. It deals with those kinds of issues. Again, we refer to it as a
standard, but it is really more of a code, a 500-page document that goes
into considerable detail on some of the issues you raised.
Senator Wallace: As you said, construction detail such as passing
under a river could be quite different.
Mr. Morton: Absolutely.
Senator Wallace: That is reassuring.
Senator Brown: I am interested to know if you develop standards
for requiring replacement of pipe in homes and buildings where the actual
use of the natural gas ends up.
Mr. Morton: Those standards are developed by us. They are not
developed within the petroleum group, but we develop those, yes.
Senator Brown: Is there a scale of years of when pipes should be
replaced, or do they have to be replaced when something happens?
Mr. Morton: I would have to check into that, senator. I do not
know the answer to that question.
Senator Brown: I am very interested because I have seen it happen
in rural areas at different stages.
Mr. Morton: In talking to you before this session started, I think
you might have more expertise on some of those issues than us.
Senator Lang: I want to pursue a comparison of our standards with
other parts of world. We have talked about the United States, and Europe was
mentioned very briefly. Europe and Russia have pipelines. How do our
standards compare to the European and Russian standards? Are they
comparable, or do we know?
Mr. Carlson: I apologize. I do not know the answer to that
question. We can check back with our members and see if we can get an answer
Senator Lang: The other question I have is the following: In the
past 15 years, there has been a rupture in a pipeline and your standards
have had to be revised. In implementing a change in your standard, have you
found that you have had to replace some pipelines as a result?
Mr. Morton: I do not think that would be in our purview to answer.
You would have to talk to either the regulators or the oil and gas
companies. That is not within our purview, senator.
Senator Patterson: I note from your presentation that you
investigate incidents with a view to learning from them. We also heard from
the National Energy Board that they do the same. Could you describe what the
relationship might be between the regulator and the CSA in relation to
post-mortems on incidents? Perhaps there are other relationships that we
might know about between the regulator and you. It seems you are closely
connected in that you set the standards that the regulator then applies and
enforces. Could you outline that relationship?
Mr. Morton: As I mentioned, our technical committee is comprised
of a variety of stakeholders, including the NEB, provincial regulators and
experts from the field. As Ms. Pelan mentioned, the committee does look at
incidents that have occurred to see if there are any implications for our
standards and whether aspects of our standards need to be changed. Since the
regulators are part of the committee, they bring that intelligence back to
the committee, where it is discussed and dispositioned.
Senator Patterson: Both the regulator and your committee might be
reviewing incidents with a view to what can be learned, and sharing the
information; is that correct?
Mr. Morton: That is correct. We would be looking at those
incidents at the committee level with respect to the standard. The
regulators may be looking at incidents in a very different perspective in
their own jurisdictions. However, at the committee table, we would be
looking at it with respect to the standard.
Senator Mitchell: In the report tabled last week by the
environmental commissioner for the Auditor General, he makes the point that
oil and gas exploration and drilling activities are currently exempt from
reporting pollutant releases to Environment Canada. Would that be an area
where you might establish standards or would that not be the case? It is
hard to believe that is the case at this point.
Mr. Morton: I am not familiar with the report, senator. We
certainly write standards related to the environment, but I am not familiar
with that particular reference.
Senator Mitchell: I draw that to your attention because it is
interesting they do not have to report something that is released by mistake
in exploration and drilling.
To follow up on Senator Patterson's point about post-mortem analysis and
your point earlier, did you or would you do a post-mortem analysis on the
Kalamazoo spill, or would you work with your U.S. equivalents to look at
what happened in that case, particularly with respect to the problems that
seem to be sort of a human error on analyzing the monitoring system that
said there may have been a leak but the response was not —
Mr. Morton: It would not be our responsibility to do that. Again,
if there were any findings from that review that had implications back to
the standard, we would hear about that through the regulators coming back to
the table. However, we would not look at it independently.
Senator Mitchell: That could well be the case, because they have
reported and it might filter through to you at some point.
Mr. Morton: That would be the process.
Senator Ringuette: With regard to insurance companies, the
standards that you establish would be very important to them in the case of
an incident and liability. Are they usually part of your groups, or what is
the relationship between CSA and liability insurance?
Mr. Morton: There is no direct relationship. I do not know if
anyone from the insurance sector was involved in the committee. We will look
at that when we look at the committee.
I think there are some committees of CSA that representatives of the
Insurance Bureau of Canada are part of. I can certainly find out for you
very quickly. With respect to this particular issue, I am not sure, senator.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We appreciate your time — we know
it is valuable — and we appreciate the answers very much. I think we had a
good opportunity to ask questions.
It is now my great pleasure to introduce our witnesses from the
Transportation Safety Board of Canada: Wendy Tadros, Chair; Jean Laporte,
Chief Operating Officer; and Kirby Jang, Director of Investigations
One of you will give a brief presentation and we will go to questions and
Wendy A. Tadros, Chair, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB):
Good morning, honourable senators. We appreciate the opportunity to
appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and
Natural Resources. We will provide you with some background on the
Transportation Safety Board of Canada, the work we do, with particular
emphasis on our pipeline statistics, our investigations, their findings and
the status of our recommendations.
I have with me today two colleagues who have a great deal of experience.
Mr. Jean Laporte is the Chief Operating Officer at the Transportation Safety
Board. He has been with the board since its inception in 1990 and he has a
broad understanding of our mandate and the processes that we follow.
Mr. Kirby Jang is our director for rail and pipeline investigations. He
is responsible for all the investigations in rail and pipeline throughout
Canada. He is well placed to discuss particular pipeline investigations, the
responses to our investigation, recommendations, and the statistics we hold
on pipeline accidents and incidents.
Between the three of us, we should be able to answer most of the
questions that you have.
Let me begin briefly by talking about our purpose. The TSB was created by
Parliament in 1990, and the intervening years we have built an international
reputation as a leader in independent accident investigation. Our sole
purpose is to advance transportation safety. We do this by investigating, no
matter whether the accident occurred on our waterways, along our pipelines
or railways, or in our skies.
In the course of our work, we also gather statistics on accidents and
incidents, which we then use to determine if there are systemic issues that
warrant further action.
The TSB does not keep a constant scan on industry to ensure the safety of
the pipeline system. That is the role of the regulator, the National Energy
Board. We speak through our investigations. If you will, investigations are
When our investigations are complete, we inform the public about what
happened and why, and suggest solutions to help ensure history will not
repeat itself and the system will be safer.
With proposals for new pipelines and news of spills south of the border,
pipeline safety is increasingly becoming a matter of concern for Canadians.
What have we found through our lens? As a snapshot, in 2012, 175 pipeline
occurrences — that is, accidents and incidents — were reported to the TSB.
They range from minor releases to the kinds of things you read about in the
newspapers, like the flash fire at a Spectra Energy compressor station,
which injured two workers, or the rupture of a sour gas pipeline, which
created a forest fire northwest of Fort St. John.
Fortunately, most pipeline occurrences are incidents involving only minor
releases. In 2012, only seven reported occurrences were accidents, compared
with five in 2011, and a five-year average of nine. The numbers for
accidents are very low.
When we are notified of an occurrence, we collect the initial information
and determine whether to deploy to the site to assess the occurrence in more
detail. After an initial assessment, we decide if a full investigation is
warranted. Generally speaking, we investigate those occurrences where we
have the very most to learn. In making that determination, we follow our
occurrence classification policy — a policy that is in place for all of our
investigations in all four modes.
The policy guides the decision, which hinges on whether there is a
significant potential for reducing future risks to persons, property or the
environment, and consequently, whether there is a high probability that
safety will be advanced.
When we do investigate, we take a systematic approach to all our
investigations. We run the gamut of issues from the immediate causes of the
accident to the risks that Canadians may encounter. We do all of this to
learn lessons to make the system safer.
The key to carrying out our mandate is our people — the men and women who
work at the TSB. These people are specialists in investigations, pipeline
operations, engineering, metallurgy and human factors, to name just a few.
They are focused professionals who provide the board with the information it
needs to make its recommendations — recommendations that can be credited
with changing the way pipelines are operated and maintained and with
improving the way they are designed, built, inspected and repaired.
Along the way, if we find unsafe conditions, we do not wait for our final
report to make them known; we act immediately by communicating with those
who can make transportation safer.
There are a number of tools that we use to communicate risks. We may
choose to send safety advisories or safety information letters, as we did
with a slope failure in April 2012, affecting an oil pipeline in Toronto. It
may be through safety recommendations during or at the end of the
investigation, as we did following the July 1995 natural gas pipeline
rupture near Rapid City, Manitoba, where we recommended that the NEB
reassess the design of emergency shutdown systems to mitigate the damage of
a ruptured line.
In all our investigations, the test for whether we make recommendations
is twofold. First, is the risk high? Second, is it a systemic risk?
This being said, when we make recommendations, we do not impose changes
on the transportation industry or the regulators. Solutions to safety are a
shared responsibility among many players, and our job is to make a
convincing case for change.
In comparison with the other modes that we investigate, the number of
pipeline occurrences, and therefore the number of investigations, is
relatively low. Of the 50 to 60 investigations we undertake every year, only
one or two are pipeline investigations.
To give you a 23-year snapshot, since its inception in 1990, the TSB has
investigated 45 pipeline occurrences. Forty- three of those are completed,
and we have provided that list to you, and two are still under way. Since
1990, we have issued 20 pipeline safety recommendations. We also provided
you with a list of those recommendations.
We track the action that is taken. We actively monitor the responses to
our recommendations and clearly communicate our assessment of those
responses to the public and to those who can improve safety.
For our pipeline recommendations, all have led to concrete actions by
industry and regulators to mitigate the risks we have found and to thereby
improve the system safety. All of the responses — 100 per cent — have
received our highest rating of "fully satisfactory." This means that the
action that has been taken has substantially reduced or eliminated the
safety deficiency. If you compare this with the rest of the body of our
work, we are sitting right now at 72 per cent for all of the recommendations
that we have made since we began in 1990. If you compare that with 100 per
cent in pipeline, I think that is a very impressive record.
In fact, in 2010, when the board defined its watch list, the
transportation issues posing the greatest risk to Canadians, no pipeline
issues made it onto the watch list and none were added when we updated this
list in 2012. I think the dearth of pipeline issues on our watch list and
the response rate of industry and regulators to our recommendations speaks
to a proactive pipeline industry with a generally strong safety culture.
I really wish we had the same uptake in some other areas of our work,
particularly in aviation.
Senator Mitchell: Would you say that again?
The Chair: I fly a lot.
Ms. Tadros: The uptake on the recommendations is not nearly as
high, and I think it would be hard to meet that benchmark of 100 per cent in
Our recommendations are only part of the picture. Another thing we look
at through our lens is statistical accident and incident analysis. A
pipeline accident is a situation where a person sustains a serious injury or
is killed or where a pipeline sustains damage affecting its safe operation
or resulting in the increase of a fair amount of commodity. This includes
explosions, fires or ignitions that are not associated with normal
In contrast, pipeline incidents are less serious events. The complete
definitions we use are included in the statistical information package that
we provided to you, but as I mentioned previously, seven accidents were
reported to the TSB in 2012. This compares to an average of eight accidents
per year for the period of 2004 to 2012, and an average of 21 accidents per
year for the period 1990 to 2003. You can see that since 2003 the number of
accidents has been coming down significantly, and it has remained stable
year over year in the last number of years.
We also note that approximately two thirds of the accidents involve the
transportation of gas, which means that only two or three accidents per year
involve the transportation of oil.
A total of 168 incidents were also reported in 2012. As I said earlier,
these are the more minor, much less serious occurrences. It compares to an
average of 53 incidents per year from the period 2004 to 2012 and an average
of 32 incidents per year for the period 1990 to 2003. These statistics
reveal a significant increase in the number of reported incidents.
What does that mean, if anything? Well, we are not sure just yet, but the
TSB has begun a detailed analysis to try to understand the reasons behind
this increase in minor incidents. Our initial look at the data revealed that
the vast majority of these incidents involved the release of less than 1
cubic meter of product, primarily at facilities and not from the
We will now drill down and look more closely at that data, and we plan to
speak with the pipeline companies to identify the reasons for the increase
in these small releases. Although it is too early to tell for sure, some of
the contributing factors may be the expansion of federally regulated
pipelines, the implementation of changes in operating practices, an
increased number of inspections or detection and increased reporting of
incidents. More are being captured. However, as I said, we will have to look
at this issue in a lot more detail.
This is what we know today, based on 20-plus years of work. What does
that say about the future? If pipelines in Canada have, by and large, been
safe in the past 20 years, will they be safe in the future? Will new
pipelines meet the highest standards? Will older pipelines withstand the
rigours of nature and continue to hold their products? The short answer is
we cannot tell you with absolute certainty. That is where the limitation of
our lens comes in. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada looks back. We
analyze what happened, and we try to ensure the problems we find will be
fixed. If new problems emerge, the TSB will pick them up only in later
investigations. That is our role.
I can tell you that we will continue to investigate, that we will find
the causes and contributing factors of pipeline accidents and that we will
not hesitate to make recommendations when we think improvements need to be
However, having said this, I am fully aware that this only answers part
of the questions for you. It is only by layering the different perspectives
of other witnesses, including the NEB, with ours, that you will create a
complete picture of the safety of transporting hydrocarbons by pipeline.
In closing, it is my hope that our independence, steadfast processes and
the scientific accuracy of our work have fostered public trust in the
Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The more our work is understood by
parliamentarians and Canadians, the more insight they will have into how we
help ensure a strong and safe transportation system.
I hope the information we have provided to you will be helpful, and we
are prepared to answer any of your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That was very interesting and
quite topical. I will start with a couple of questions.
You provided us a list of documents, or at least I got this along with my
information; I assume it came from you. You talked about release of liquids
and that whether it is natural gas or oil is important. I want to check to
ensure I am reading these tables correctly. I will use 2011 because that is
the graph I have here.
In 2011, there were five accidents. That is on table 4, page 9. This
would be from compressor stations, gathering lines, injection delivering
facilities, meter stations, gas processing plants, pump stations, storage
facility terminals and transmission lines.
When I go to the graph on the next page, it indicates where the release
was from. Two were from natural gas and two were from petroleum crude oil.
The important one for me, if I am reading this right, and I will ask you
to help me a bit, is the next table regarding the incidents by quantity
released to the environment. Three out of those five were less than a cubic
meter, and one was 26 to 1,000 cubic metres.
I found another graph that showed me how much natural gas and how much
oil was transported in all of those systems in our pipeline system, and I
think I have the right graph. You will have to help me here because you get
into exajoules. It says in 2011 there were 7.3 exajoules of oil and 5.6
exajoules of gas. I know the gas would probably be about 6 trillion cubic
feet for the year 2011.
Can you give me some sense so the public can understand this? I do not
understand exajoules and most of the public does not. How many million
barrels of oil would that represent when the spill rate was the two that I
talked about? I think it is important for the public also to know that we
have a very safe system, thanks in large part to you folks and what you and
the Canadian safety standards do and all those kinds of things. When people
are opposed to pipelines, they talk about breaks and say it is thousands and
thousands of barrels of oil or a huge amount of natural gas. If I read these
graphs right, that is not correct. Could you help me through that a bit to
ensure I understand your graphs correctly?
Kirby Jang, Director, Investigations Rail/Pipeline, Transportation
Safety Board of Canada (TSB): Certainly, Mr. Chair. I thank you for that
In terms of looking at the activity within the industry, we attempted to
come up with a common unit. You are absolutely right that the unit exajoule
is not a well-known unit. In fact, I am not sure myself what the actual
conversion rates are. That allows us to look at the trends over a 20-year
period in this case to see whether or not activity has increased.
In terms of spills that do occur, obviously, the larger spills are quite
rare. The majority of our reports refer to spills in terms of metric cubes
in terms of volumes or possibly barrels.
The Chair: Can I ask you, then, to send to the clerk how many
millions of barrels of oil would have gone through the system in 2011? Just
convert the exajoules that you have in your report for oil and also the
amount of trillion cubic feet for natural gas. That will bring it down to
something I can understand and I think a lot of public will start to
Mr. Jang: Sure, we will look into that for you.
The Chair: The amount that has been spilled is very little and
that is all I am trying to get at. I think we have a very safe system.
Senator Massicotte: Do you mean compared to the total volume being
transported? I agree.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you very much for being here. I am
referring in my question to the December 2011 report of the Commissioner of
the Environment and Sustainable Development in the Office of the Auditor
General of Canada. In that report, he makes the case in chapter 1, page 14,
Transport Canada does not conduct an adequate, timely review when
approving emergency response assistance plans.
He goes on to point out that:
. . . of the 926 ERAPs in place, 473 have received indefinite
approval from Transport Canada and 453 have received interim approval.
Of the 453 ERAPs with interim approval, almost 50 percent of these
approvals were provided over 5 years ago and about 15 percent of these
were provided over 10 years ago.
He has a real concern about this response planning process. Would you
address that kind of issue? Do you see it as enhancing risk in response to
spills and transport issues? What is your general take on his concerns?
Ms. Tadros: It is very complex from a jurisdictional point of
view. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was
looking at offshore oil rigs. We do not have jurisdiction to investigate
offshore oil rigs unless they are moving and considered then to be a ship,
or if the oil is in a pipeline. If there is a spill, as they had in the Gulf
of Mexico with the Deepwater Horizon, we would not look at it. We would only
look at those situations where the rig was moving or the oil was in a
When we do investigate under either of those circumstances, we would
automatically look at the response. It is only when we are conducting an
investigation that we would be looking at that issue. We do not look broadly
at response plans as Transport Canada is doing under the auspices of their
Senator Mitchell: One of the concerns — perhaps the major concern
— that people have with a West Coast pipeline is offshore spills. We see
that the West Coast emergency response centre has been closed; we see that
the Coast Guard office in Vancouver or that area has been closed. Those
would be items critical to marine transport. Does that concern you? Do you
see that such things enhance the risk of spills or reaction to spills?
Ms. Tadros: We would only look at these situations if we were
investigating a marine accident, so we do not do so in any kind of a general
sense. Mr. Laporte might have something to add on that topic.
Jean L. Laporte, Chief Operating Officer, Transportation Safety Board
of Canada (TSB): To confirm again, we would only look at response
procedures, practices, plans and so on in the context of an actual incident
or accident where we would assess if proper measures were taken as part of
However, right now we have one outstanding recommendation in the marine
mode that has to do with emergency response plans. Our recommendation was
that the plans need to be current and they need to be practiced and
coordinated between the various players involved: Transport Canada, the
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard, the pilotage
authorities in some jurisdictions and offshore on the East Coast with the
offshore petroleum boards. Therefore, we do have that recommendation
Every year, we take stock of progress against that recommendation and do
a reassessment. At this point, that recommendation is assessed as
Senator Mitchell: "Satisfactory." How long has it been
Mr. Laporte: Unfortunately, I do not have the date with me but it
has been a number of years.
Senator Mitchell: Could you provide the information and the
document in which it is found?
Mr. Laporte: Yes.
Senator Massicotte: You play a key role. Based on your
information, I can see that you are doing a very good job. I thank you on
behalf of Canadians.
Your presentation indicates a certain satisfaction with the follow-up to
your recommendations regarding accidents. I will read a few of your
recommendations. For instance, under recommendation P97-01, the following is
The National Energy Board reassess the design provisions for
"emergency shut-down" anywhere in the pipeline system with a view to
ensuring the rapid isolation from the flow of product in the event of a
Recommendation No. P97-02: "NEB reassess the adequacy."
I see that those recommendations are very logical. I am even surprised
you have to specify that the system must be checked and that a rapid shutoff
is needed. I appreciate your recommendations. However, I am surprised that
such things need to be specified. In other words, I am under the impression
that the National Energy Board may be too reactive to your recommendations.
I am surprised they had not taken action prior to your recommendations.
Is my impression wrong? Why do you need to specify that, when it seems
obvious that a shutoff system should be created? What do you think?
Mr. Laporte: Things have changed over the years. The
recommendations you are referring to were made in the 1990s. Over the past
10 years, we have issued very few recommendations, as the industry and the
regulatory agency — the National Energy Board — have been much more
proactive in their approach. So there has been no need for us to make
Over the past 10 years in particular, we have been sharing the
information and facts gathered during our investigation, and people have
been taking proactive measures before our investigation and our report are
completed. In our reports, we identify measures that have been taken to
remedy the identified problems.
So a noticeable change has taken place. The industry stakeholders are now
more proactive than they were in the 1990s.
Senator Massicotte: So code "P99" refers to 1999, correct?
Mr. Laporte: Yes.
Senator Massicotte: You were created in 1990, right?
Mr. Laporte: In 1990, yes.
Senator Massicotte: I do not see any recommendations after P99. Am
I mistaken, or am I perhaps reading the wrong page?
Mr. Laporte: That was the last recommendation we issued regarding
Senator Massicotte: Over the past 12 years, despite the fact that
there have been 6 or 7 accidents a year where you carried out a serious
investigation, no recommendations have been made in light of that new
research or the information you acquired. You were satisfied in all the
Mr. Laporte: Exactly. Since 2000, we have carried out one or two
investigations a year on pipelines. There was no systemic problem requiring
a recommendation in any of the cases. Those were isolated problems, or
isolated cases, rather than systemic issues. When it came to more systemic
issues, people were proactive, thus rendering any recommendations
Senator Massicotte: It is very reassuring for Canadians to hear
that, over the past 12 years — despite the fact that six or seven accidents
have taken place, and the fact that three or four of those accidents led to
serious investigations every year — nothing has ensued from those
investigations, and no recommendations have been made. That is either very
reassuring or indicative of lowered expectations — I dare hope it is the
Mr. Laporte: We are not less demanding. On the contrary, we are
becoming more demanding in our expectations of regulatory organizations and
the industry. We are really seeing a culture of safety that is much more
robust in the pipeline industry than elsewhere, in other areas of
Senator Massicotte: I see in the same reports that you provide
information on railway accidents and perhaps — I have not checked — even on
accidents in the marine industry. You have become recognized and very
credible experts. Do you have any comments about how pipelines compare to
and railways or boats? Can those different sectors be compared when it comes
to culture? Are there any major differences there?
Clearly, we are interested in knowing what mode of transport is the most
effective and involves the lowest risk of accident for oil transportation.
Mr. Laporte: It is difficult to compare different means of
transport. There are many factors involved, and it is difficult to find a
common denominator that could apply across all means of transport. So we do
not make actual comparisons between transport modes. We investigate each
mode specifically, and we report on our findings.
I can tell you that, when it comes to accidents and incidents, the
numbers are higher in the railway industry than in the pipeline industry.
The same goes for the maritime industry. But those are isolated figures,
meaning that the volume and type of product transported are not taken into
account. Information on quantities or volumes and transport distances is
held by regulatory organizations and industry associations.
To really be able to compare all that, we would need to take into account
product volumes, transportation distances, as well as a number of other
factors such as the environment, climate conditions and terrain. That is
very complex, and we do not have any exact figures. We can provide you with
the number of identified accidents and our investigation findings for each
Senator Massicotte: When it comes to safety culture and attention
to detail, do you feel that there is a difference between the three
Ms. Tadros: We see some differences, but I do not know how you
make the comparison because, particularly in aviation, you have many
different segments of that industry. Therefore, it is difficult to compare
and say that this industry has a good safety culture, that industry has a
bad safety culture. It is not as simple as that at all.
However, in our investigations we are looking increasingly at the issue
of safety culture. In one investigation we released last year, the Aeropro
accident in Quebec City, we looked extensively at the safety culture of that
company. We are drilling down and looking for indications. What we find
generally in pipeline is that there is a strong safety culture. What we find
in some other companies — I would not say across industries — is that there
is not necessarily an indication of a strong safety culture. This is
something we are learning more about and are incorporating into our
investigations on a regular basis.
Senator Seidman: I would like to talk to you more specifically
about your statistical accident and incident data. We all know that
statistics are only as good as the methodology and the definitions behind
them, but they can provide really good insights into trends and clues about
potential problems and causes, which can be investigated further.
I will say that it is extremely alarming to listen to what you said about
the current trend as far as incidents are concerned. There is no question
there is an increase in the trend and that the data you provide shows a
threefold increase for 2012. You posit hypotheses about what the causes for
this can be, and of course if there is an increase in pipelines and an
increase in reporting, that can account for a good number of these
However, you said you were going to look at the data more closely. I
would like to know, in more detail, the timeline for the work that you will
do to investigate and explore this, what you will do, how you will
Ms. Tadros: I will start out and then I will turn it over to Mr.
We are not sure this is necessarily alarming. It is just something that
we have picked up. Until we drill down and get to the bottom of the reasons
for that, we will not know exactly how to put it in proportion. Sometimes
when you have an increase in reporting, that is an indication of a stronger
safety culture. It is an indication of an industry that wants to look at
weak signals. Weak signals are those small things that happen that do not
necessarily have large consequences. However, the thinking is that if you
can look at those, if you can find trends, you can prevent accidents.
I know particularly at NAV CANADA, when they instituted their safety
management system, the number of reported incidents went way up, and that is
a good thing. However, until we drill down and we get to the bottom of it
and figure out why, we will not know for sure.
Senator Seidman: I do not mean to interrupt you, but I understand
the reporting issues. There is no question; it is like in health. If you
have more reporting, you have more incidents recorded and trends increase.
However, my question has more to do with the timeline for investigating this
and exactly how you will do it.
Mr. Jang: It is certainly an item that is on our desk at the
moment. It is an important file for us to get a handle on. To clarify, we
look at accident trends and incident trends. Within the TSB, obviously the
terminology for "incident" is different from the NEB incident.
We have found that the majority of the incidents have been increasing
since about 2007. We are breaking down our numbers, looking at the
individual components. We have some hypotheses, as mentioned. Over the next
few months, we plan to contact the appropriate stakeholders, share the
information we have discovered and have a dialogue with them to understand
where the numbers are coming from. Some of the hypotheses could include
things like increases in inspections. To us, that is perhaps a proactive
sign of increased safety approach, safety culture. These are absolutely some
things that we are interested in discussing with the stakeholders.
Senator Seidman: You are saying over the next few months, is that
Mr. Jang: Yes.
Senator Seidman: What will you do with the information that you
get over the next few months that would hopefully help explain this?
Mr. Laporte: Basically, we will continue the analysis, meet with
stakeholders as Mr. Jang indicated, find out more, and then we will produce
some kind of briefing back to our board to inform them of what we have
found. Depending on what we find, then we will determine the next steps.
One of the things that we can do under our mandate is a safety study,
which is an in-depth investigation of trends or issues that cross over a
number of incidents or accidents over time. If we see there is cause for
further analysis, our board could decide to undertake a safety study. If we
find there is nothing worth pursuing there, we may simply report back in our
statistical reports — our annual reports to Parliament that we table every
year — what we have found, what the explanations are and what industry is
doing about it. We will certainly share information with the regulator as
Senator Seidman: That is great. I think it will be very helpful in
terms of all the public concern and worry. If indeed it is a case that the
culture of safety has increased and therefore you get more reports, then it
is a positive thing. That is why I think it is a critical piece to act on it
and then communicate in some way.
Senator Ringuette: Thank you very much for the information that
you have provided with regard to statistics. If I look at the statistics you
gathered with regard to pipeline, i.e., the leakage per accident and then
your statistics with regard to rail transportation, I notice that on page 11
you have a particular item that says "accident with a dangerous good
release." We do not know particularly what the dangerous goods release is.
For instance, there were three incidents in 2011.
Then I look at the data with regard to vessels, but I do not see in there
any particular detail with regard to whether there was any leakage or
implication of a dangerous good or oil or liquefied gas. Would you have that
for vessels? In the case of the three railway incidents, would you have what
kind of dangerous good it was?
Mr. Laporte: In the rail mode, we do not normally track the
information about spills.
Senator Ringuette: Who would?
Mr. Laporte: That information is captured by the Coast Guard. Part
of their mandate is to track that and also to manage the response around
spills of various products in the marine environment. Historically, we have
not captured that information because it was being captured elsewhere, and
we wanted to avoid duplication. However, we are currently in the process of
modernizing our marine databases, and this is one of the data elements that
we are considering adding to our data collection in the future because of
the high level of public interest and so on. However, we want to make sure
we do it in a way that does not duplicate effort across government agencies
and does not increase the reporting burden on industry. We are in the
process of determining how best to do that, but we recognize there is a need
for us to capture that in the future.
In the marine mode, we are tracking dangerous goods, which include a wide
range of products, from hydrocarbons to chemicals of all kinds, gases and so
on. We do keep track of that information. Mr. Jang perhaps can comment.
Senator Ringuette: Can you comment with regard to rail?
Mr. Jang: In our rail database, we do maintain a list of the
products carried, and if there is a release, we will keep track of that.
The summary table you looked at was the 2011 rail summary, I believe. I
did have a chance to look at the numbers just prior to this meeting, and we
did a quick count in terms of the number of rail occurrences since 1990,
which is about 23 years, where there was an oil or a gas release. At the
moment, that is the level of filtering. We noted there were 46 occurrences
over 23 years where there was an oil or gas release.
Having said that, we attempted to look at the volumes that were spilled,
and in the majority of cases, I believe maybe 35 out of 46, it was very
small. It was in the order of a few gallons. It was liquids or a minor
venting of gas, if it was gas. Those are our numbers, and they obviously
have to be taken in context.
Senator Ringuette: Could you provide these numbers? It is very
important for our study so that we also can compare apples with apples with
regard to the volume that is being transported by rail facilities and so
Ms. Tadros: This becomes a difficult issue, and I do not think
there is a clear formula or answer when you are comparing mode to mode. You
may have the raw numbers in terms of how many derailments, how many spills
on pipelines and so on, but you do not have a common denominator. Therefore,
it makes it very difficult to compare.
Senator Ringuette: We can certainly look at the volume that is
being transported and the incidents related to the different modes. I
understand there is no common denominator, but with regard to incidents
related to volume, there is certainly something interesting for our
committee to consider.
Mr. Laporte: We can certainly provide you with the number of times
there was an oil spill from a train occurrence and the approximate
quantities of the spill, but we cannot provide you the volume of oil that is
transported by railways.
Senator Ringuette: No, we will have to go to the industry and so
Senator Wallace: Ms. Tadros, as you point out, the Transportation
Safety Board conducts investigations into the causes, contributing factors
and safety deficiencies that may have been encountered when there is an
occurrence. All of that relates to the actual event that occurred, and then,
obviously, you make recommendations to try to prevent that from happening in
Does your mandate extend beyond that to consideration of the mitigation
efforts that took place after an incident occurred? The end result of it is
what damage, if any, was suffered by the public, by the environment and so
on. Do you conduct investigation of the mitigation measures that were
implemented by the company or the person responsible for the incident and
Ms. Tadros: If you are talking about the response to a spill, that
would be part of the scoping of the investigation, so we would report on
that in the investigation report into the particular accident.
Looking more broadly, if we had a recommendation that was outstanding, as
Mr. Laporte said, we would reassess that every year and look at all of the
measures taken. If the recommendation was on that particular point, we would
be tracking all of the responses to that recommendation and all of the
efforts that were being made or were not being made to address the
recommendation. However, we do not have what you would call an "overall
scan" on the industry at all times.
Senator Wallace: Let us take a pipeline incident as opposed to an
incident at sea when you get into marine traffic, which brings in different
departments. If an incidence occurs in a pipeline that is under federal
jurisdiction and the product loss occurred on land, do you investigate and
make an assessment of what actually happened in the mitigation of the damage
that occurred? I realize you will look at why and how the incident occurred,
but with respect to the actual mitigation and the steps taken by the company
to mitigate that and to recover, do you get into that or does that fall to
Ms. Tadros: The short answer is yes, that is part of the scoping
of our investigations. We would look at those issues and see if they were
adequate. If it is standard and there is nothing exceptional, then it may
not make its way into our report. However, if there is a safety issue there
in the response, we would report on it.
Senator Wallace: Lessons learned and having certain types of
recovery equipment available within an appropriate time are all important.
Are those the types of matters that you would consider and could be in your
report and recommendation?
Mr. Laporte: We would look at the initial response, but we would
not necessarily go into clean-up and restoration of the environment. That is
in the mandate of Environment Canada, NEB and others.
Senator Wallace: That is what I am trying to understand, that
there are a number of different departments and who does what.
Mr. Laporte: We are involved in looking at the actual occurrence
and the initial response to it, and that is where we stop. Clean-up and
remediation are in the mandate of other people.
Senator Wallace: You noted in the statistics you presented that
there has been a small increase in pipeline incidents and some of my
colleagues have directed questions towards this. I understand that the
federal government recently took over jurisdiction of the NOVA system in
Alberta, and I also understand that with the advent of new technology
smaller incidents are being discovered. Do you agree that these developments
do play or could well play a role in the increase of reported incidents?
Ms. Tadros: We do not know, but they are certainly on our radar
and are things we will look at as either explanations or part of the
Senator Wallace: It would seem logical, would it not?
Mr. Laporte: The part about the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. system
now coming under federal jurisdiction, yes, that is a definite increase,
because it was under provincial jurisdiction; all the incidents were
reported to the provincial authorities. That is definitely "yes" — an
increase. How much of an increase? That is what we are looking at. Then we
need to examine the "why" regarding all those reports from this particular
pipeline system, and whether it is higher compared to other systems and
other companies. We will be looking at all of that in the next few months.
Senator Wallace: With new technologies, it would seem logical that
it would likely increase the reporting of incidents, would it not?
Mr. Laporte: Yes.
Senator Lang: I would like to go back to the comparison that was
brought up between the pipeline statistics and the rail statistics. One of
the reasons we are studying the question of all modes of transportation for
oil and gas is to assess the safety of the various methods of transportation
and to perhaps come to some conclusion on what methods should be utilized
for future transportation of fossil fuels in Canada.
It seems pretty clear to me. When I look at the statistics you have
brought us, I believe we talk about seven incidents or accidents this past
year, and then we look at the railway occurrences and we are talking about
over a thousand rail accidents in comparison. It would seem to me that there
is a lot more risk to both the public and those who are working in that
particular area from a safety point of view than with pipelines, from a
general point of view.
As an investigator and with your knowledge of comparing the two modes of
transportation, would you agree with the premise that there is more risk
because of the nature of a railway and the running of a railway as opposed
to that of a pipeline with respect to the workforce and the general public?
Ms. Tadros: I will start out and I will let everyone jump in,
because this is a hotly-debated topic.
I think if you just look at the raw numbers, you will find the numbers
are higher in rail than they are in pipeline. However, it is drawing that
comparison that becomes difficult as to whether it is more risky to carry
hydrocarbons by rail than it is by pipeline. That is where you have to drill
down into the details and where the comparison becomes much more difficult.
Mr. Jang: That is certainly a good introduction into this whole
question. It has many dimensions. The railway industry is an operation on
its own. There are certain types of operations and certain types of
circumstances. Some of the types of reported accidents and incidents relate
to carrying dangerous goods. As I mentioned earlier, with regard to some of
the dangerous goods, you can drill down further in terms of them carrying
From our high-level look at both industries, the safety culture and the
safety performance in both have dramatically increased in terms of being
Having said that, I am sure you are aware that we all have to be careful
in terms of looking at the numbers. We are just taking the first look at
trying to drill down. As mentioned earlier, we can provide you with the
number of rail occurrences where there was an oil spill.
Senator Lang: We are looking into the future. We have a baseline
of data. It would seem to me that we are looking at substantial increases of
fossil fuels being transported in one direction or the other in this
country. It would also seem to me that an organization such as yours has the
knowledge and the day-to-day work responsibilities that go along with it. It
seems that you would be in a position to say that if a decision has to be
made, weighing the question of pipeline construction and pipeline
transportation of oil and gas versus that of rail. From your perspective,
what would be the safest and most risk free from the general public and
workforce points of view?
I do not think you can have it both ways. A decision will have to be made
by government eventually, and we look to you people to give us some advice
in respect of weighing all the information we have and what should be done
in respect to the future of the transportation of these fossil fuels.
Do you have a mandate to make that recommendation, whether it be the
National Energy Board, or to answer that question? If you do not have that
mandate for us, as advisers and paid public servants, who does?
Ms. Tadros: It is a policy decision.
Senator Lang: I fully understand it is a policy decision.
Ms. Tadros: We can provide you with all the information we have —
what we have learned in our statistical analysis and in our investigations.
Senator Lang: Yet you would not recommend one or the other?
Ms. Tadros: No. I can tell you what we have found in terms of our
pipeline investigations and I can tell you what we have found in terms of
our rail investigations.
You also have to look at the volumes. Pipelines are designed to carry
these products, so they only carry these products. Railways carry many
products across the country. You are looking at a much smaller volume when
you are talking about carriage of oil, for instance, on railways.
I think it is a policy decision for the government.
Mr. Laporte: There are also quite a few factors that come into
play. For example, you referred to the fact that there are over 1,000
accidents in railways per year. However, I will just point out one item: 67
of those in 2011 were trespasser accidents. It was not actually a derailment
or a spill. It was trespasser related, and those are often suicides. Those
are included in the 1,000.
You really have to drill down into the data to be able to compare them in
a meaningful manner.
Also, in a derailment, you would derail a few cars. There may be a spill
from a few cars. You are dealing with small quantities, whereas if you have
a rupture of a pipeline, the spill might be bigger because it takes more
time to shut things down.
Again, I am just giving those as small examples. It is a complex equation
to try to figure that out and compare apples to apples.
Senator Patterson: I would like to explore the independence of the
TSB. It would be helpful to the public. You report to Parliament. I would
like to ask about your reporting relationship to the responsible minister,
whether the minister can give policy direction, and the adequacy of your
Ms. Tadros: We report to Parliament through the President of the
Queen's Privy Council for Canada. We do that for independence reasons, and I
think we are unique in the federal government. We make recommendations to
the Minister of Transport. We make recommendations to the National Energy
Board. That is the reason we do not report through either of those
In terms of policy direction, there is no ability to interfere with any
of our investigations or to direct us in any particular direction to do this
or that. It is a reporting relationship, so the information that we have
from a financial perspective or in terms of the reports on our
investigations get to Parliament.
Senator Patterson: I did ask you about the budget.
Also, what would you say about ensuring or encouraging compliance with
your recommendations? What are the vehicles you have to make that happen?
Ms. Tadros: I will start with the budget. We are part of the
federal government, so we are subject to budget cutbacks, as is every other
government department. We are at a point right now where we have assessed
the situation with our senior managers and with the current level of
resources, and we are able to carry out all the investigations we need to
carry out. If the numbers go much lower, that might be brought into
question. However, right now we are able to carry out our mandate.
The last question you asked me concerns enforcement of our
recommendations. The board was created to separate the independent accident
investigators from the regulators. It is up to the regulators to enforce,
and it is up to the regulators to set the policies for the industries. If
you blur those lines, then you are back to where you started in about the
late 1980s. We feel strongly that we are able to convince with strong,
logical arguments the industries and the regulators to do what we think
needs to be done.
We have been more successful in the last number of years and, as I said,
we are now at 72 per cent for the whole body of our recommendations; 72 per
cent have been fully implemented. We continue to push at every opportunity
for higher implementation.
Senator Johnson: I know that we are over our time, but I think you
are to be commended. I come from Manitoba and you have a good reputation
there. I know you want to foster more trust in the public. What do you
consider your biggest challenge going forward?
Ms. Tadros: Specifically in pipelines?
Senator Johnson: And/or, or both.
Ms. Tadros: The issues in pipeline are that there are a small
number of accidents, but you do not know what is around the corner. You
might have a small number of accidents but if you have a big one, you have
huge consequences and that affects the public trust. That would be what I
would be looking at, going forward.
In terms of the other modes, it is a bit of a mixed bag.
The Chair: I think that closes our questioning; we have another
committee coming in.
Thank you very much for your presentation and your answers. It was very
helpful for all of us. We appreciate it very much.