The Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has made several procedural changes to the remaining detailed route hearings for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and advice from federal and provincial authorities aimed at protecting public health. The CER first announced in March 2020 that oral portions of all ongoing public hearings would not proceed as planned as a result of the pandemic.

The oral portions of all remaining detailed route hearings will be replaced with alternate formats not requiring in-person attendance. The changes will allow the hearings to proceed, while respecting the physical distance requirements for participants.

Oral cross-examination in the detailed route hearings will be replaced by written information requests (IRs). The deadline for the first round of IRs is May 5, 2020.

Additionally, site visits will not proceed and participants will instead be able to file photos or videos as part of their evidence. A table of revised steps and deadlines for the detailed route hearings can be found here.

As the CER continues to work with the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance (STSA) to determine how to receive further Indigenous knowledge in its overlapping Hearing, and considering that reply evidence in all of the Hearings must be filed after all other evidence has been received, steps and deadlines pertaining to reply evidence and the argument phases will be determined at a future date.

Currently, 70 per cent of the detailed route for the Expansion Project has been approved and construction is permitted in areas where the route is approved and applicable conditions have been satisfied.

There are currently 22 active detailed route hearings remaining, all located in British Columbia, stretching from Merritt through to Burnaby. The status of detailed route hearings along the entire route can be found here.

More information about the detailed route hearing process modifications can be found here.