Pre-Application Project Descriptions
What is a project description (PD)?
A PD is a document providing an initial description of the proposed project, its location and the company’s consultation program. It is a preliminary submission that companies are requested to file 3 months in advance of an application in order to facilitate an efficient regulatory review. A PD is not used by the Board to assess the merits of a proposed project. Companies sometimes use a PD to share information about a proposed project with interested groups.
What is a PD used for?
The PD is used by the Board to initiate the following pre-application activities:
- the NEB's Enhanced Aboriginal Engagement (EAE);
- the NEB's Participant Funding Program (PFP); and
- NEB Public Engagement activities.
To learn more about Project Descriptions and related processes, please read the FAQs on Project Descriptions.
Types of Projects or Applications Benefitting from a PD
A PD should be filed:
- for all facilities applications for NEB Act section 52 pipeline projects and section 58.16 International Power Line (IPL) projects;
- for any facility project for which the PFP would be available (see NEB webpage on Participant Funding). This means any facilities application that involves an oral public hearing, including abandonment applications for a pipeline or IPL that are oral;
- for less conventional or non-routine section 58 projects. For example, a project where it was apparent from the company’s consultations that many persons may be directly affected and desire public involvement.
Information to Include in a PD
A PD should provide sufficient information for the above-listed pre-application activities to be initiated so that the application can be processed efficiently.
A PD should include information identifying:
- the nature of the project and its components;
- a detailed map of the proposed project showing:
- the nature of the lands to be crossed or impacted (including privately-owned, Crown lands and Aboriginal traditional territories);
- project location relative to potentially affected communities and Aboriginal groups;
- a list of the Aboriginal groups contacted and consulted, including how those groups were identified, and the nature, extent and outcomes of consultation to date;
- the nature and extent of company consultations conducted with the public and identified stakeholders, including:
- details on the types of engagement activities undertaken and outcomes;
- a copy of the company’s information package provided to stakeholders; and
- a description of how the company identified those who were directly or potentially affected; and
- preliminary potential environmental and socio-economic interactions and effects of the project.
When to Submit a PD
It is recommended that a PD be filed approximately 3 months prior to the planned date for filing the application. This will provide sufficient time to commence the pre-application activities.
While the NEB recognizes that a PD is based on preliminary project information, it is important for companies to only file a PD once key project components (e.g., pipeline corridor route) are sufficiently defined and reasonably certain, and after initial consultations have taken place. There is no benefit to filing a PD prematurely or significantly more than 3 months in advance of an application.
Information in a PD should be sufficiently accurate and certain to identify key issues and to identify affected parties. Otherwise, there may be delays to pre-application activities and a need for further information, which would ultimately result in a lengthier process for assessment of the proponent’s project application. For example, should the routing in an application be different from the route identified in the PD, it may cause new parties to raise an interest at the time of application, resulting in a lengthier process than might otherwise be the case.
For additional information please contact the NEB Director accountable for your proposed project. If you are not sure who would be accountable for your project application, please call 403-292-4800 or toll free at 1-800-899-1265. You may also request a pre-Application meeting with Board staff (see NEB webpage on Pre-Application Meetings).
The NEB’s Filing Manual provides guidance on the information requirements proponents will ultimately have to file in their application to the NEB. Although intended for applications rather than PDs, proponents may nonetheless find the guidance in Chapter 3 on Consultation helpful in preparing their project consultation program.
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