In the event of an emergency, several different groups co-ordinate efforts to react quickly and effectively Trans Mountain uses the Incident Command System (ICS) to effectively manage its response. ICS is a standardized incident management tool used for meeting the demands of a range of incidents both large and small. It allows for the integration of equipment, facilities, personnel and communications within a common organizational structure. This system also allows for seamless coordinated action with government agencies and Aboriginal communities.

ICS is used to establish near and long-term response operations ensuring all facets of the incident are managed. This command structure also enables the federal government, provincial government, local authorities and Trans Mountain to work together towards mutually agreed upon goals, ultimately focused towards effective and efficient response. For large incidents, government agencies, such as the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), and provincial or municipal agencies will often share in the responsibility for command of the situation. We will always be present and the CER will often be involved. Additional groups may include Environment and Climate Change Canada and representatives from the province’s (BC or Alberta) or state's (Washington) environment and emergency services agencies.

During an emergency, having open and frequent communication between our personnel, emergency responders and various government agencies is essential. The ICS outlines clear roles and responsibilities with respect to responding to and managing a pipeline emergency. The system brings together Trans Mountain’s functions with federal and provincial governments and local authorities and governments to achieve an effective and efficient response.

We use an Unifed Command structure to assist when responding to incidents.

Unified Command

Based upon the incident, and wherever possible, our Incident Management Team aims to establish a Unified Command structure for emergency response. Unified Command’s main responsibility during an incident is to provide overall guidance and incident support. This is achieved through drafting key objectives, identifying response priorities and following an inclusive decision making process.

Additionally, Unified Command sets the direction of incident activities, including the development and implementation of strategic decisions, endorsement of incident action plans and approval for ordering and releasing resources. Unified Command typically consist of an Incident Commander from Trans Mountain, as well as representatives from the CER, the lead provincial responding agency (typically the Ministry of Environment), the local authority (municipality, regional district or county) and the impacted Indigenous community (if applicable). It is expected each Unified Command member will have the authority to make decisions and commit resources on behalf of their organization.

For emergencies in which Indigenous communities are impacted by an emergency, we will invite representatives from the community to form part of the Unified Command structure. As a member of Unified Command, these representative(s) will ensure their interests are heard at the highest level of decision making. As Indigenous community members possess intimate knowledge of the local environment and of culturally significant sites, we seek and strongly encourage their involvement during an incident response.

Unified Command is not used in all situations. In some instances, and typically for smaller-sized incidents, a single Incident Commander from Trans Mountain will exercise authority. In such cases the appointed Liaison Officer would ensure any impacted community is informed of the incident. The Liaison Office will remain in contact with the affected parties until such time the incident phase is terminated.