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BLG Labour & Employment Law Breakfast Symposiumhttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=377BLG Labour & Employment Law Breakfast Symposium377BLG Blog PostMichael A. Marionmmarion@blg.com | Michael A. Marion | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C6D616D i:0#.w|blgcanada\mam ​On Thursday, May 3, 2018, BLG's Labour & Employment Group is pleased to host a breakfast symposium. This event features a panel discussion and several sessions that cover the latest developments in labour & employment law. [Read more...]<p>​On Thursday, May 3, 2018, BLG's Labour & Employment Group is pleased to host a breakfast symposium. This event features a panel discussion and several sessions that cover the latest developments in labour & employment law. </p><p>[<em><a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=377"><font color="#0066cc">Read more</font></a></em>...]</p> ​On Thursday, May 3, 2018, BLG's Labour & Employment Group is pleased to host a breakfast symposium. This event features a panel discussion and several sessions that cover the latest developments in labour & employment law. ​ For more information, or to register for this event, click here.<p>​On Thursday, May 3, 2018, BLG's <span aria-hidden="true"></span>Labour & Employment <span aria-hidden="true"></span> Group is pleased to host a breakfast symposium. This event features a panel discussion and several sessions that cover the latest developments in labour & employment law. ​</p><p>For more information, or to register for this event, <a href="http://blg.com/en/Events/Event_1597">click here</a>.</p>4/9/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-04-09T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#4.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Aprilfloat;#201804.000000000GP0|#b01107da-49ba-46f5-940e-aca68ced7b53;L0|#0b01107da-49ba-46f5-940e-aca68ced7b53|BLG Events;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#05db54b2-7a5f-4abd-b4d3-fe0dc1304321;L0|#005db54b2-7a5f-4abd-b4d3-fe0dc1304321|Labour and Employment;GP0|#1eb0aeef-3188-486c-8353-ba825b2cedc8;L0|#01eb0aeef-3188-486c-8353-ba825b2cedc8|Occupational Health & SafetyBLG Events;Labour and Employment;Occupational Health & Safety
Upcoming BLG Seminar: Tax Advantaged Financing Structures – What’s Left?http://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=375Upcoming BLG Seminar: Tax Advantaged Financing Structures – What’s Left?375BLG Blog PostMichael A. Marionmmarion@blg.com | Michael A. Marion | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C6D616D i:0#.w|blgcanada\mam ​On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, BLG's Tax Group is pleased to host a seminar titled, "Tax Advantaged Financing Structures – What's Left?". The session will feature multiple topics of interest including the Alberta Investor Tax Credit, Flow-Through Shares, and Commercial Trusts. [Read more...]<p>​On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, BLG's Tax Group is pleased to host a seminar titled, "Tax Advantaged Financing Structures – What's Left?". The session will feature multiple topics of interest including: the Alberta Investor Tax Credit, Flow-Through Shares, and Commercial Trusts.</p><p>[<em><a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=375"><font color="#0066cc">Read more</font></a></em>...]</p> ​​On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, BLG's Tax Group is pleased to host a seminar titled, "Tax Advantaged Financing Structures – What's Left?". The session will feature multiple topics of interest including the Alberta Investor Tax Credit, Flow-Through Shares, and Commercial Trusts. For more information, or to register for this event, click here.<p>​​On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, BLG's Tax Group is pleased to host a seminar titled, "Tax Advantaged Financing Structures – What's Left?". The session will feature multiple topics of interest including: the Alberta Investor Tax Credit, Flow-Through Shares, and Commercial Trusts.</p><p>For more information, or to register for this event, <a href="http://blg.com/en/Events/Event_1593">click here.</a></p>3/28/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-28T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#b01107da-49ba-46f5-940e-aca68ced7b53;L0|#0b01107da-49ba-46f5-940e-aca68ced7b53|BLG Events;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#b6308153-04d9-49b6-a882-3f4a7af228f0;L0|#0b6308153-04d9-49b6-a882-3f4a7af228f0|TaxBLG Events;Tax
Alberta 2018 Budget - What's in it For Energy?http://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=374Alberta 2018 Budget - What's in it For Energy?374BLG Blog PostBeth Reimer-Heck, Q.C.;Marko Pokrajacbreimerheck@blg.com | Beth Reimer-Heck, Q.C. | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C627265696D65726865636B i:0#.w|blgcanada\breimerheck;mpokrajac@blg.com | Marko Pokrajac | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C6D706F6B72616A6163 i:0#.w|blgcanada\mpokrajac ​On March 22, 2018, Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, presented the Government of Alberta's budget 2018 entitled, "A Recovery Built to Last" ("Budget 2018"). Budget 2018 includes the government's fiscal and capital plans along with economic outlook for the province moving forward. Budget 2018 follows last year's budget "Working to Make Life Better" released on March 16, 2017 - click here for BLG's analysis of Budget 2017. Joe Ceci stated that after the worst recession in a generation, things are "looking up" for Albertans, citing provincial job growth, a declining deficit and the fastest growing provincial economy in Canada. [Read more...]<p>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/GENBUILD-46-skyscraper-75px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />On March 22, 2018, Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, presented the Government of Alberta's budget 2018 entitled, "A Recovery Built to Last" ("Budget 2018"). Budget 2018 includes the government's fiscal and capital plans along with economic outlook for the province moving forward. Budget 2018 follows last year's budget "Working to Make Life Better" released on March 16, 2017 - click <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=298">here</a> for BLG's analysis of Budget 2017.</p><p>Joe Ceci stated that after the worst recession in a generation, things are "looking up" for Albertans, citing provincial job growth, a declining deficit and the fastest growing provincial economy in Canada. </p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=374"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p> ​On March 22, 2018, Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, presented the Government of Alberta's budget 2018 entitled, "A Recovery Built to Last" ("Budget 2018"). Budget 2018 includes the government's fiscal and capital plans along with economic outlook for the province moving forward. Budget 2018 follows last year's budget "Working to Make Life Better" released on March 16, 2017 - click here for BLG's analysis of Budget 2017. Joe Ceci stated that after the worst recession in a generation, things are "looking up" for Albertans, citing provincial job growth, a declining deficit and the fastest growing provincial economy in Canada. Budget 2018 is focused on three pillars Diversification of the economy through certain initiatives and growing market access, as set out in more detail below; No budget cuts to current public services; and Projecting a balanced budget by 2023-2024. HIGHLIGHTS OF BUDGET 2018 Provincial revenue is projected to reach $47.9 billion in 2018-2019, or 2.1% more than the 2017-2018 forecast. In light of the projected $56.2 billion in total expenses the province's current deficit sits at $8.8 billion, with a forecast that it will fall to $7.9 billion, then $7 billion, down to $4.3 billion, then $4.1 billion and finally to a $700 million surplus by spring 2024. Notably, while Budget 2018 promises a return to balance by 2023-2024, Alberta will have a forecasted $54.2 billion in debt by the end of the fiscal year and $96 billion in total debt by 2023-2024 - an increase of approximately 638% from this government's first budget in 2015. Highlights of Budget 2018 include Bitumen royalties are expected to fall to $1.8 billion in 2018-2019 after spiking up to $2.4 billion this fiscal year; Crude oil royalties are expected to continue to rise and hit $1 billion, with the government predicting that the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil price will average USD $59/barrel this year; The take from income taxes is projected to rise, with $11.4 billion from personal income tax and $4.6 billion from corporations; Cannabis revenue is a factor considered in the balance sheet for the first time, with Alberta expecting to generate $26 million in taxes from recreational marijuana use; Education spending will rise from $7.8 billion to $8.4 billion; Advanced education spending will rise from $5.5 billion to $6.1 billion; Over the next 3 years, $5.3 billion will be spent on climate initiatives from transit projects to home efficiency programs. BUDGET 2018 IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ENERGY SECTOR Budget 2018 reflects a "prudent" energy outlook - noting a more balanced oil market that is expected to support prices. West Texas Intermediate is expected to average USD $59/barrel in 2018-2019, $60 in 2019-2020 and $63 in 2020-2021. However, the economic and energy price assumptions relied upon in Budget 2018 are heavily predicated upon Alberta achieving increased market access, which for reasons to follow, may or may not occur. Notable Energy and Economic Assumptions Pipeline bottlenecks and the increasing reliance on rail are lifting transportation costs for Alberta heavy crude oil, which is once again trading at a large discount to global prices. Lack of market access is hurting heavy oil producers, government revenues and the Canadian economy in general. Two pipeline projects approved by the federal government, The TransMountain Pipeline Expansion and the Enbridge Line 3 Expansion, would add almost one million barrels per day of crude transportation capacity by 2021, alleviating pipeline bottlenecks that are causing major headaches for the industry, affecting profitability and increasing the industry's reliance on rail. Keystone XL will also provide additional longer-term access. Increased market access will allow for Canadian oil to reach markets where heavy oil attracts the highest prices, reducing the discount on Alberta bitumen prices relative to global prices. The TransMountain Pipeline Expansion is critical in this respect, as it would allow producers to sell into the lucrative Pacific market. Keystone XL would provide additional access to the US Gulf Coast, a key market for Alberta's heavy crude. Budget 2018 suggests that additional pipeline capacity would lift capital invested by an estimated $10 billion and production capacity by 190,000 barrels per day between 2018 and 2023, compared to a non-pipeline access scenario. These additional pipelines are predicted to boost Alberta's real GDP by 1.5-2% by 2023, with higher production yielding a boost in resource royalties by up to $10.5 billion between 2018 and 2023. The concern with these assumptions is that resistance to pipeline expansion is a real threat, involving political, social and environmental roadblocks that could further delay and even stall pipeline expansion and operation entirely. Diversification within the Energy Sector While Budget 2018 is predicated on the assumption that pipeline capacity will increase, an additional implication of Budget 2018 is a focus on diversification within Alberta's domestic energy sector through the implementation of Bill 1 The Energy Diversification Act. The Energy Diversification Act proposes to commit up to $2 billion to leverage private investment, including $500 million in royalty credits for a second round of the Petrochemicals Diversification Program; $500 million in loan guarantees and grants to establish a Petrochemical Feedstock Infrastructure Program; and $1 billion in loan guarantees and grants to initiate a Partial Upgrading Program. The government of Alberta suggests that these three initiatives are expected to attract $10 billion in private investment, support 8000 construction jobs and hundreds more operational jobs. TAXES Carbon Tax Plan Currently, there is a $30 per tonne tax on carbon. All of this revenue is now spent on rebates and emission-reduction programs. When the provincial tax reaches $40 per tonne in 2021, Budget 2018 sets out that the government still intends to use $30 per tonne for projects that are intended to reduce the carbon footprint, with the surplus going to general operating expenses. This is predicted to translate into an additional $1 billion per year being pumped into general revenues by 2023-2024. General Tax Plan Highlights of Budget 2018 tax plan include A new interactive digital media tax credit, worth 25% of eligible labour costs; An extension of the Alberta investor tax credit and capital investment tax credit to 2021-2022; Indexation of the personal income tax system; No education property taxes increase; and Confirmation of the tax revenue collection mechanism for cannabis. Budget 2018 does not include any cuts to personal or business taxes. It makes note that Albertans have no sales tax, no health premium and no payroll tax. The government suggests that Alberta's current tax advantage is at least $11.2 billion per year compared with any other province. GENERAL COMMENTS ON BUDGET 2018 Budget 2018, "A Recovery Built to Last" forecasts a year-after-year reduction in the deficit with a $700-million surplus predicted by 2023-2024. However, this plan is largely predicated on the assumption that Alberta will achieve increased market access (and resulting revenue) through the operation of three pipelines (Enbridge Line 3, The TransMountain Expansion and the Keystone XL pipeline). The assumption on increased market access ought to be tempered to some degree based on uncertainty of achieving it. The TransMountain Pipeline Expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby, BC, for example, is currently facing legal challenges from First Nations and environmental groups, not to mention opposition from B.C.'s government. TransMountain is a palpable reminder of uncertainties inherent with pipeline projects and marks a potential harbinger for things to come. <p><span aria-hidden="true"></span>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/GENBUILD-46-skyscraper-350px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />On March 22, 2018, Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, presented the Government of Alberta's budget 2018 entitled, "A Recovery Built to Last" ("Budget 2018"). Budget 2018 includes the government's fiscal and capital plans along with economic outlook for the province moving forward. Budget 2018 follows last year's budget "Working to Make Life Better" released on March 16, 2017 - click <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=298">here</a> for BLG's analysis of Budget 2017.</p><p>Joe Ceci stated that after the worst recession in a generation, things are "looking up" for Albertans, citing provincial job growth, a declining deficit and the fastest growing provincial economy in Canada. </p><p>Budget 2018 is focused on three pillars:</p><ol><li>Diversification of the economy through certain initiatives and growing market access, as set out in more detail below;</li><li>No budget cuts to current public services; and</li><li>Projecting a balanced budget by 2023-2024.</li></ol><p><strong><br>HIGHLIGHTS OF BUDGET 2018</strong></p><p>Provincial revenue is projected to reach $47.9 billion in 2018-2019, or 2.1% more than the 2017-2018 forecast. In light of the projected $56.2 billion in total expenses the province's current deficit sits at $8.8 billion, with a forecast that it will fall to $7.9 billion, then $7 billion, down to $4.3 billion, then $4.1 billion and finally to a $700 million surplus by spring 2024.</p><p>Notably, while Budget 2018 promises a return to balance by 2023-2024, Alberta will have a forecasted $54.2 billion in debt by the end of the fiscal year and $96 billion in total debt by 2023-2024 - an increase of approximately 638% from this government's first budget in 2015.</p><p>Highlights of Budget 2018 include:</p><ul><li>Bitumen royalties are expected to fall to $1.8 billion in 2018-2019 after spiking up to $2.4 billion this fiscal year;</li><li>Crude oil royalties are expected to continue to rise and hit $1 billion, with the government predicting that the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil price will average USD $59/barrel this year;</li><li>The take from income taxes is projected to rise, with $11.4 billion from personal income tax and $4.6 billion from corporations;</li><li>Cannabis revenue is a factor considered in the balance sheet for the first time, with Alberta expecting to generate $26 million in taxes from recreational marijuana use;</li><li>Education spending will rise from $7.8 billion to $8.4 billion;</li><li>Advanced education spending will rise from $5.5 billion to $6.1 billion;</li><li>Over the next 3 years, $5.3 billion will be spent on climate initiatives from transit projects to home efficiency programs.</li></ul><p><strong><br>BUDGET 2018: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ENERGY SECTOR</strong></p><p>Budget 2018 reflects a "prudent" energy outlook - noting a more balanced oil market that is expected to support prices. West Texas Intermediate is expected to average USD $59/barrel in 2018-2019, $60 in 2019-2020 and $63 in 2020-2021. However, the economic and energy price assumptions relied upon in Budget 2018 are heavily predicated upon Alberta achieving increased market access, which for reasons to follow, may or may not occur.</p><p><strong>Notable Energy and Economic Assumptions</strong></p><p>Pipeline bottlenecks and the increasing reliance on rail are lifting transportation costs for Alberta heavy crude oil, which is once again trading at a large discount to global prices. Lack of market access is hurting heavy oil producers, government revenues and the Canadian economy in general.</p><p>Two pipeline projects approved by the federal government, The TransMountain Pipeline Expansion and the Enbridge Line 3 Expansion, would add almost one million barrels per day of crude transportation capacity by 2021, alleviating pipeline bottlenecks that are causing major headaches for the industry, affecting profitability and increasing the industry's reliance on rail. Keystone XL will also provide additional longer-term access.</p><p>Increased market access will allow for Canadian oil to reach markets where heavy oil attracts the highest prices, reducing the discount on Alberta bitumen prices relative to global prices. The TransMountain Pipeline Expansion is critical in this respect, as it would allow producers to sell into the lucrative Pacific market. Keystone XL would provide additional access to the US Gulf Coast, a key market for Alberta's heavy crude.</p><p>Budget 2018 suggests that additional pipeline capacity would lift capital invested by an estimated $10 billion and production capacity by 190,000 barrels per day between 2018 and 2023, compared to a non-pipeline access scenario. </p><p>These additional pipelines are predicted to boost Alberta's real GDP by 1.5-2% by 2023, with higher production yielding a boost in resource royalties by up to $10.5 billion between 2018 and 2023.</p><p>The concern with these assumptions is that resistance to pipeline expansion is a real threat, involving political, social and environmental roadblocks that could further delay and even stall pipeline expansion and operation entirely.</p><p><strong>Diversification within the Energy Sector</strong></p><p>While Budget 2018 is predicated on the assumption that pipeline capacity will increase, an additional implication of Budget 2018 is a focus on diversification within Alberta's domestic energy sector through the implementation of <a href="https://www.alberta.ca/energy-diversification-act.aspx" target="_blank"><em>Bill 1: The Energy Diversification Act</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>The <em>Energy Diversification Act</em> proposes to commit up to $2 billion to leverage private investment, including:</p><ol><li>$500 million in royalty credits for a second round of the Petrochemicals Diversification Program;</li><li>$500 million in loan guarantees and grants to establish a Petrochemical Feedstock Infrastructure Program; and</li><li>$1 billion in loan guarantees and grants to initiate a Partial Upgrading Program.</li></ol><p><br>The government of Alberta suggests that these three initiatives are expected to attract $10 billion in private investment, support 8000 construction jobs and hundreds more operational jobs.<strong> </strong></p><p><strong>TAXES</strong></p><p><strong>Carbon Tax Plan</strong></p><p>Currently, there is a $30 per tonne tax on carbon.  All of this revenue is now spent on rebates and emission-reduction programs. When the provincial tax reaches $40 per tonne in 2021, Budget 2018 sets out that the government still intends to use $30 per tonne for projects that are intended to reduce the carbon footprint, with the surplus going to general operating expenses. This is predicted to translate into an additional $1 billion per year being pumped into general revenues by 2023-2024.</p><p><strong>General Tax Plan</strong></p><p>Highlights of Budget 2018 tax plan include:</p><ul><li>A new interactive digital media tax credit, worth 25% of eligible labour costs;</li><li>An extension of the Alberta investor tax credit and capital investment tax credit to 2021-2022;</li><li>Indexation of the personal income tax system;</li><li>No education property taxes increase; and</li><li>Confirmation of the tax revenue collection mechanism for cannabis.</li></ul><p><br>Budget 2018 does not include any cuts to personal or business taxes.  It makes note that Albertans have no sales tax, no health premium and no payroll tax. The government suggests that Alberta's current tax advantage is at least $11.2 billion per year compared with any other province. </p><p><strong>GENERAL COMMENTS ON BUDGET 2018</strong></p><p>Budget 2018, "A Recovery Built to Last" forecasts a year-after-year reduction in the deficit with a $700-million surplus predicted by 2023-2024. However, this plan is largely predicated on the assumption that Alberta will achieve increased market access (and resulting revenue) through the operation of three pipelines (Enbridge Line 3, The TransMountain Expansion and the Keystone XL pipeline). The assumption on increased market access ought to be tempered to some degree based on uncertainty of achieving it. The TransMountain Pipeline Expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby, BC, for example, is currently facing legal challenges from First Nations and environmental groups, not to mention opposition from B.C.'s government. TransMountain is a palpable reminder of uncertainties inherent with pipeline projects and marks a potential harbinger for things to come. </p>3/23/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-23T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#7ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926;L0|#07ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926|Pipelines;GP0|#f61f75ba-8b4a-47e4-ac93-81a58bdb7860;L0|#0f61f75ba-8b4a-47e4-ac93-81a58bdb7860|Public Policy;GP0|#892efe6b-f616-43f0-8fa8-28a2e5067bd9;L0|#0892efe6b-f616-43f0-8fa8-28a2e5067bd9|Railway;GP0|#79f5b025-e6dd-4c66-873b-67e8780cf972;L0|#079f5b025-e6dd-4c66-873b-67e8780cf972|Regulatory;GP0|#2cad29ca-54e6-43bb-a056-02b01b063aaa;L0|#02cad29ca-54e6-43bb-a056-02b01b063aaa|Aboriginal;GP0|#80272199-c96f-4e96-a610-ee5c8caae603;L0|#080272199-c96f-4e96-a610-ee5c8caae603|Environment;GP0|#68a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c;L0|#068a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c|Natural Resources;GP0|#4e9fc7d5-bb0d-4cd4-878d-b18db04a4118;L0|#04e9fc7d5-bb0d-4cd4-878d-b18db04a4118|British ColumbiaOil & Gas;Pipelines;Public Policy;Railway;Regulatory;Aboriginal;Environment;Natural Resources;British Columbia
Court of Appeal Upholds Injunction Against Suncor's Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policyhttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=373Court of Appeal Upholds Injunction Against Suncor's Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy373BLG Blog PostLorelle Binnionlbinnion@blg.com | Lorelle Binnion | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C6C62696E6E696F6E i:0#.w|blgcanada\lbinnion ​On February 28, 2018, the Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed Suncor Energy Inc.'s ("Suncor") appeal of an injunction prohibiting Suncor from implementing a policy of random drug and alcohol testing at its mine site located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. [Read more...]<p>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/INDUS%20GRE-69-Two-Man-Drill-75px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />On February 28, 2018, the Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed Suncor Energy Inc.'s ("Suncor") appeal of an injunction prohibiting Suncor from implementing a policy of random drug and alcohol testing at its mine site located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. </p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=373"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p> On February 28, 2018, the Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed Suncor Energy Inc.'s ("Suncor") appeal of an injunction prohibiting Suncor from implementing a policy of random drug and alcohol testing at its mine site located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Suncor has been attempting to implement a random drug and alcohol policy at this site for its unionized employees since 2012. Unifor, Local 707A (the "Union") opposes Suncor's random drug and alcohol testing policy as being an unjustifiable infringement on employees' privacy rights. In 2012, the Union obtained a prior injunction against Suncor, prohibiting the implementation of the random drug and alcohol testing policy pending the Union's grievance, and in 2013, an arbitration board agreed with the Union that Suncor's random drug and alcohol testing policy was unjustified. On judicial review, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench struck down that decision as being unreasonable, and remitted the matter to a fresh panel for reconsideration. The Union appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal, which agreed with the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and remitted the matter to a new arbitration. The Union has applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Following the Alberta Court of Appeal decision on the judicial review, Suncor attempted to implement the disputed random drug and alcohol testing policy. The Union applied for a second injunction, which was granted by the Court of Queen's Bench. The reasoning of the Court of Queen's Bench, which was upheld on appeal, was that allowing Suncor to implement its random drug and alcohol testing policy would cause irreparable harm to the privacy and the dignity of the workers, in the event the Union is ultimately successful in the arbitration. The Court found that since Suncor already has a drug and alcohol testing policy in place (one which does not allow random testing), granting the injunction would not result in an unprotected workplace. In finding that the infringement on employees' privacy rights outweighed Suncor's concerns about workplace safety, the decision upholding the injunction is reflective of the general trend in cases challenging random drug and alcohol testing. As the Court of Appeal noted, "the bulk of the current authority (both case law and arbitration) holds that it is unreasonable to randomly drug test even those employees in safety sensitive positions in a dangerous workplace." A recent example of one such case is the Teck Coal v United Steelworkers decision out of British Columbia, which we wrote about, here. The Supreme Court's anticipated decision on whether to allow an appeal of the judicial review decision will likely have a significant impact on whether this trend continues. <p><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/INDUS%20GRE-69-Two-Man-Drill-350px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />On February 28, 2018, the Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed Suncor Energy Inc.'s ("Suncor") appeal of an injunction prohibiting Suncor from implementing a policy of random drug and alcohol testing at its mine site located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. </p><p>Suncor has been attempting to implement a random drug and alcohol policy at this site for its unionized employees since 2012. Unifor, Local 707A (the "Union") opposes Suncor's random drug and alcohol testing policy as being an unjustifiable infringement on employees' privacy rights. In 2012, the Union obtained a prior injunction against Suncor, prohibiting the implementation of the random drug and alcohol testing policy pending the Union's grievance, and in 2013, an arbitration board agreed with the Union that Suncor's random drug and alcohol testing policy was unjustified. On judicial review, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench struck down that decision as being unreasonable, and remitted the matter to a fresh panel for reconsideration. The Union appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal, which agreed with the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and remitted the matter to a new arbitration. The Union has applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.</p><p>Following the Alberta Court of Appeal decision on the judicial review, Suncor attempted to implement the disputed random drug and alcohol testing policy. The Union applied for a second injunction, which was granted by the Court of Queen's Bench. The reasoning of the Court of Queen's Bench, which was upheld on appeal, was that allowing Suncor to implement its random drug and alcohol testing policy would cause irreparable harm to the privacy and the dignity of the workers, in the event the Union is ultimately successful in the arbitration. The Court found that since Suncor already has a drug and alcohol testing policy in place (one which does not allow random testing), granting the injunction would not result in an unprotected workplace. </p><p>In finding that the infringement on employees' privacy rights outweighed Suncor's concerns about workplace safety, the decision upholding the injunction is reflective of the general trend in cases challenging random drug and alcohol testing. As the Court of Appeal noted, "the bulk of the current authority (both case law and arbitration) holds that it is unreasonable to randomly drug test even those employees in safety sensitive positions in a dangerous workplace." A recent example of one such case is the <em>Teck Coal v United Steelworkers </em>decision out of British Columbia, which we wrote about, <a href="http://blg.com/en/News-And-Publications/Publication_5222">here</a>. The Supreme Court's anticipated decision on whether to allow an appeal of the judicial review decision will likely have a significant impact on whether this trend continues.</p><p> </p>3/22/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-22T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#05db54b2-7a5f-4abd-b4d3-fe0dc1304321;L0|#005db54b2-7a5f-4abd-b4d3-fe0dc1304321|Labour and Employment;GP0|#1eb0aeef-3188-486c-8353-ba825b2cedc8;L0|#01eb0aeef-3188-486c-8353-ba825b2cedc8|Occupational Health & Safety;GP0|#92149a7f-778a-4a1e-8c75-a4c3bdd58d5f;L0|#092149a7f-778a-4a1e-8c75-a4c3bdd58d5f|Oil SandsOil & Gas;Labour and Employment;Occupational Health & Safety;Oil Sands
BC Government Unveils Plan to Conduct a Hydraulic Fracturing Reviewhttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=372BC Government Unveils Plan to Conduct a Hydraulic Fracturing Review372BLG Blog PostRamsey Glassrglass@blg.com | Ramsey Glass | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C72676C617373 i:0#.w|blgcanada\rglass ​On March 15, 2018, Minister Michelle Mungall (Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources) unveiled the provincial government's plan to conduct an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing. The review, headed by a three-person panel, will focus on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, including its relationship with seismic activity, impacts on water quality and quantity, and fugitive methane emissions. [Read more...]<p>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/INDUS-GRE-102-shutterstock-75.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />On March 15, 2018, Minister Michelle Mungall (Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources) unveiled the provincial government's plan to conduct an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing. The review, headed by a three-person panel, will focus on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, including its relationship with seismic activity, impacts on water quality and quantity, and fugitive methane emissions. </p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=372"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p>On March 15, 2018, Minister Michelle Mungall (Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources) unveiled the provincial government's plan to conduct an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing. The review, headed by a three-person panel, will focus on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, including its relationship with seismic activity, impacts on water quality and quantity, and fugitive methane emissions. The members of the panel were announced as Diana M. Allen, P. Geo, a professor in the department of earth sciences at SFU; Erik Eberhardt, P. Eng, a professor of rock mechanics and rock engineering at UBC; and Amanda Bustin, PhD, a research associate at UBC. Nalaine Morin will advise the panel with respect to traditional Indigenous knowledge. The panel will work toward a tight timeline to provide a report to the Minister by the end of 2018. The report will include a review of provincial regulations and recommendations. The panel's review will include scientific evidence from organizations and experts, as well as traditional Indigenous knowledge from First Nations. The panel will also turn to academics, industry associations, communities in northeastern British Columbia, Treaty 8 First Nations, and environmental organizations. This will be the second report on hydraulic fracturing in three years In 2015, the previous provincial government commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct an independent report on hydraulic fracturing. That report found British Columbia had a robust regulatory framework in place to oversee hydraulic fracturing. The province has not yet released information on public and industry hearings or opportunities to contribute information to the review. Provincial News Release and Panel Members' Biographies, available here.<p style="text-align:justify;"><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/INDUS-GRE-102-shutterstock-375.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />On March 15, 2018, Minister Michelle Mungall (Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources) unveiled the provincial government's plan to conduct an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing. The review, headed by a three-person panel, will focus on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, including its relationship with seismic activity, impacts on water quality and quantity, and fugitive methane emissions. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members of the panel were announced as: Diana M. Allen, P. Geo, a professor in the department of earth sciences at SFU; Erik Eberhardt, P. Eng, a professor of rock mechanics and rock engineering at UBC; and Amanda Bustin, PhD, a research associate at UBC. Nalaine Morin will advise the panel with respect to traditional Indigenous knowledge. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The panel will work toward a tight timeline to provide a report to the Minister by the end of 2018. The report will include a review of provincial regulations and recommendations. The panel's review will include scientific evidence from organizations and experts, as well as traditional Indigenous knowledge from First Nations. The panel will also turn to academics, industry associations, communities in northeastern British Columbia, Treaty 8 First Nations, and environmental organizations. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This will be the second report on hydraulic fracturing in three years: In 2015, the previous provincial government commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct an independent report on hydraulic fracturing. That report found British Columbia had a robust regulatory framework in place to oversee hydraulic fracturing. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The province has not yet released information on public and industry hearings or opportunities to contribute information to the review. </p><p>Provincial News Release and Panel Members' Biographies, <a href="https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018EMPR0006-000402" target="_blank">available here</a>.</p>3/20/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-20T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#4e9fc7d5-bb0d-4cd4-878d-b18db04a4118;L0|#04e9fc7d5-bb0d-4cd4-878d-b18db04a4118|British Columbia;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#80272199-c96f-4e96-a610-ee5c8caae603;L0|#080272199-c96f-4e96-a610-ee5c8caae603|Environment;GP0|#68a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c;L0|#068a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c|Natural Resources;GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & GasBritish Columbia;Environment;Natural Resources;Oil & Gas
BLG Partner Miles Pittman Interviewed on Business News Networkhttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=371BLG Partner Miles Pittman Interviewed on Business News Network371BLG Blog PostMichael A. Marionmmarion@blg.com | Michael A. Marion | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C6D616D i:0#.w|blgcanada\mam ​On March 14, BLG partner Miles Pittman was interviewed on Business News Network in a segment titled "Kinder Morgan could question commitment if Ottawa gives in to protesters Lawyer." Miles discussed the implications of the anti-pipeline demonstrations in B.C., related to the Trans Mountain expansion. [Read more...]<p>​On March 14, BLG partner Miles Pittman was interviewed on <em>Business News Network</em> in a segment titled "Kinder Morgan could question commitment if Ottawa gives in to protesters: Lawyer." Miles discussed the implications of the anti-pipeline demonstrations in B.C., related to the Trans Mountain expansion.</p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=371"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p> ​On March 14, BLG partner Miles Pittman was interviewed on Business News Network in a segment titled "Kinder Morgan could question commitment if Ottawa gives in to protesters Lawyer." Miles discussed the implications of the anti-pipeline demonstrations in B.C., related to the Trans Mountain expansion. To watch the full interview, click here. <p>​On March 14, BLG partner Miles Pittman was interviewed on <em>Business News Network</em> in a segment titled "Kinder Morgan could question commitment if Ottawa gives in to protesters: Lawyer." Miles discussed the implications of the anti-pipeline demonstrations in B.C., related to the Trans Mountain expansion.</p><p>To watch the full interview, <a href="https://www.bnn.ca/video/kinder-morgan-could-question-commitment-if-ottawa-gives-in-to-protesters-lawyer~1345943" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p><a href="https://www.bnn.ca/video/kinder-morgan-could-question-commitment-if-ottawa-gives-in-to-protesters-lawyer~1345943"><img src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/MilesBNN.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:507px;" /></a></p>3/19/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-19T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#98850b8e-4cdc-41cf-9cf7-f309880c7c29;L0|#098850b8e-4cdc-41cf-9cf7-f309880c7c29|BLG Energy News and Events;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GP0|#7ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926;L0|#07ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926|Pipelines;GP0|#79f5b025-e6dd-4c66-873b-67e8780cf972;L0|#079f5b025-e6dd-4c66-873b-67e8780cf972|Regulatory;GP0|#f61f75ba-8b4a-47e4-ac93-81a58bdb7860;L0|#0f61f75ba-8b4a-47e4-ac93-81a58bdb7860|Public Policy;GP0|#68a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c;L0|#068a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c|Natural Resources;GP0|#23e50663-be85-467e-acf9-7150e42ed669;L0|#023e50663-be85-467e-acf9-7150e42ed669|EnergyBLG Energy News and Events;Oil & Gas;Pipelines;Regulatory;Public Policy;Natural Resources;Energy
Looking Forward to the 2018 IPPSA Conference and the Release of the BLG Podcasthttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=370Looking Forward to the 2018 IPPSA Conference and the Release of the BLG Podcast370BLG Blog PostAlan L. Rossaross@blg.com | Alan L. Ross | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C61726F7373 i:0#.w|blgcanada\aross ​In advance of the 2018 IPPSA Conference, taking place March 18th to 20th in Banff, BLG is excited to announce the release of the BLG Podcast New Opportunities in the Alberta Electricity Market. In this episode, BLG partner's Kent Howie and Alan Ross discuss industry trends, key developments, and legal issues present in Alberta's power market. They also take a look ahead at what to expect for 2018. [Read more...]<p>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/Electricity-Market-Podacast-Icon_75%20px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />In advance of the 2018 IPPSA Conference, taking place March 18<sup>th</sup> to 20<sup>th</sup> in Banff, BLG is excited to announce the release of the <a href="http://download.onstreammedia.com/origin/gervias/audio/podcast/blg-podcast-e1_-_alberta-electricity-market.mp3" target="_blank"><span lang="EN">BLG Podcast: New Opportunities in the Alberta Electricity Market</span></a>. </p><p>In this episode, BLG partner's Kent Howie and Alan Ross discuss industry trends, key developments, and legal issues present in Alberta's power market. They also take a look ahead at what to expect for 2018.</p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=370"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p> In advance of the 2018 IPPSA Conference, taking place March 18th to 20th in Banff, BLG is excited to announce the release of the BLG Podcast New Opportunities in the Alberta Electricity Market. In this episode, BLG partner's Kent Howie and Alan Ross discuss industry trends, key developments, and legal issues present in Alberta's power market. They also take a look ahead at what to expect for 2018. For those attending IPPSA, this is a good overview of the issues that will be discussed at the conference. To listen to the podcast, click here. To download the podcast, click here.<p><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/Electricity-Market-Podacast-Icon_350%20px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />In advance of the 2018 IPPSA Conference, taking place March 18th to 20th in Banff, BLG is excited to announce the release of the <a href="http://download.onstreammedia.com/origin/gervias/audio/podcast/blg-podcast-e1_-_alberta-electricity-market.mp3" target="_blank"><span lang="EN">BLG Podcast: New Opportunities in the Alberta Electricity Market</span></a>. </p><p>In this episode, BLG partner's Kent Howie and Alan Ross discuss industry trends, key developments, and legal issues present in Alberta's power market. They also take a look ahead at what to expect for 2018.</p><p>For those attending IPPSA, this is a good overview of the issues that will be discussed at the conference.</p><p>To listen to the podcast, <a href="http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/gervias/Audio/Podcast/BLG-Podcast-e1_-_Alberta-Electricity-Market.mp3" target="_blank">click here</a>.<br>To download the podcast, <a href="http://download.onstreammedia.com/origin/gervias/audio/podcast/blg-podcast-e1_-_alberta-electricity-market.mp3" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p>3/15/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-15T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#23e50663-be85-467e-acf9-7150e42ed669;L0|#023e50663-be85-467e-acf9-7150e42ed669|Energy;GP0|#98850b8e-4cdc-41cf-9cf7-f309880c7c29;L0|#098850b8e-4cdc-41cf-9cf7-f309880c7c29|BLG Energy News and Events;GP0|#03fc5c71-a1cf-4529-a790-3febb462b5dc;L0|#003fc5c71-a1cf-4529-a790-3febb462b5dc|ElectricityOil & Gas;Energy;BLG Energy News and Events;Electricity
Query, Inquiry? NEB Announces There Will Be No Inquiry of Tolls, Tariffs and Competition in Northeast BChttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=369Query, Inquiry? NEB Announces There Will Be No Inquiry of Tolls, Tariffs and Competition in Northeast BC369BLG Blog PostAlan L. Ross;Leanne Desbaratsaross@blg.com | Alan L. Ross | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C61726F7373 i:0#.w|blgcanada\aross;ldesbarats@blg.com | Leanne Desbarats | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C6C646573626172617473 i:0#.w|blgcanada\ldesbarats ​In March of 2017, the National Energy Board ("NEB" or the "Board") announced it was initiating a process to determine whether to hold an inquiry of the tolling methodologies and tariff provisions in regulated natural gas pipelines in Northeastern British Columbia. NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. ("NGTL"), Westcoast Energy Inc. carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission ("Westcoast") and Alliance Pipeline ("Alliance") all operate natural gas pipelines in the area and compete with one another to supply gas, but have distinct tolling methodologies and tariff provisions. [Read more...]<p>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/AD-HAND-11-iStock-4996618-contract-75.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />In March of 2017, the National Energy Board ("NEB" or the "Board") announced it was initiating a process to determine whether to hold an inquiry of the tolling methodologies and tariff provisions in regulated natural gas pipelines in Northeastern British Columbia. NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. ("NGTL"), Westcoast Energy Inc. carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission ("Westcoast") and Alliance Pipeline ("Alliance") all operate natural gas pipelines in the area and compete with one another to supply gas, but have distinct tolling methodologies and tariff provisions. </p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=369"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p>In March of 2017, the National Energy Board ("NEB" or the "Board") announced it was initiating a process to determine whether to hold an inquiry of the tolling methodologies and tariff provisions in regulated natural gas pipelines in Northeastern British Columbia. NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. ("NGTL"), Westcoast Energy Inc. carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission ("Westcoast") and Alliance Pipeline ("Alliance") all operate natural gas pipelines in the area and compete with one another to supply gas, but have distinct tolling methodologies and tariff provisions. Northeast BC currently lacks takeaway capacity and there is a highly competitive environment between pipeline operators which has led to disputes, in particular between NGTL and Westcoast as to whether the tolling methodologies and tariff provisions unduly favour one party over another. Tolling and tariff issues are dealt with on an application-by-application basis for each pipeline. Accordingly, a general inquiry into competition in the area would be a departure from the NEB's past practice. The NEB issued a Letter Decision on March 8, 2018 (the "Decision"). In the Decision, the NEB acknowledged a number of potential issues regarding the competitive landscape in Northeast BC however, it determined an inquiry was not warranted and would "introduce undue uncertainty to the Northeast BC supply basin and may not effectively resolve these potential issues". The Decision determined that revisions to the NEB's Filing Manual and upcoming individual toll applications would be a better forum to deal with issues. DecisionThe NEB requested comments from the pipelines and interested stakeholders in March, 2017. The NEB received comments from a number of interested parties, including from producers and First Nations groups. The Board then issued information requests to NGTL, Westcoast, Alliance, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and 11 Northeast BC producers. After review of the submissions from interest parties, the Board issued the Decision. In the Decision the NEB stated an inquiry was not warranted and that the Board will address issues relating to competition in individual tolling applications by each party. The Board stated it will consider revising its Filing Manual in order to ensure that issues relating to fair competition can be dealt with in individual tolling applications. The Board did not indicate what those revisions would specifically include, but stated as an example that the revisions may modify notifications for commercial third parties and may require parties to discuss tolling methodologies including "whether the project could proceed on a stand-alone basis and a justification of rolled-in tolling treatment for proposed facilities, including quantification of costs and benefits". The Decision also stated that competition issues between NGTL and Westcoast would be dealt with in their individual, upcoming toll applications. In particular, the Board noted the issue of whether NGTL's tolls adhere to the principles of cost causation and economic efficiency would need to be addressed. In order to address this issue, the NEB directed NGTL and Westcoast to file specific information with the Board, with each company's respective 2019 final toll application. The Board directed NGTL to file an analysis of how NGTL's Tariff and Guidelines for New Facilities ensure appropriate cost accountability for shippers requiring receipt extensions; an analysis of NGTL's current depreciation study; and an analysis of NGTL's tolling methodology and tariff provisions that addresses whether the current methodology should be retained for all or part of the existing NGTL system. The Board directed Westcoast to file Westcoast's internal policies, procedures and practices for capital investments in expansion and extension facilities in Zone 3; an analysis of how they ensure appropriate cost accountability for Westcoast and shippers requiring facility additions in Zone 3; an analysis of Westcoast's depreciation study and an analysis of Westcoast's Zone 3 tolling methodology and tariff provisions that addresses whether the current methodology should be retained. Implications The Decision acknowledges the issues relating to competition in Northeast BC. It does not address how those issues will be ultimately be resolved. As it stands currently, NGTL and Westcoast will be impacted by more onerous submissions as part of their upcoming toll applications. However, the impacts to other stakeholders will not be apparent until after competition issues are specifically considered and addressed by the Board in the toll applications. <p style="text-align:justify;"><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/AD-HAND-11-iStock-4996618-contract-350.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />In March of 2017, the National Energy Board ("NEB" or the "Board") announced it was initiating a process to determine whether to hold an inquiry of the tolling methodologies and tariff provisions in regulated natural gas pipelines in Northeastern British Columbia. NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. ("NGTL"), Westcoast Energy Inc. carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission ("Westcoast") and Alliance Pipeline ("Alliance") all operate natural gas pipelines in the area and compete with one another to supply gas, but have distinct tolling methodologies and tariff provisions. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Northeast BC currently lacks takeaway capacity and there is a highly competitive environment between pipeline operators which has led to disputes, in particular between NGTL and Westcoast as to whether the tolling methodologies and tariff provisions unduly favour one party over another. Tolling and tariff issues are dealt with on an application-by-application basis for each pipeline. Accordingly, a general inquiry into competition in the area would be a departure from the NEB's past practice. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The NEB issued a Letter Decision on March 8, 2018 (the "Decision"). In the Decision, the NEB acknowledged a number of potential issues regarding the competitive landscape in Northeast BC however, it determined an inquiry was not warranted and would "introduce undue uncertainty to the Northeast BC supply basin and may not effectively resolve these potential issues". The Decision determined that revisions to the NEB's Filing Manual and upcoming individual toll applications would be a better forum to deal with issues. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Decision</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The NEB requested comments from the pipelines and interested stakeholders in March, 2017. The NEB received comments from a number of interested parties, including from producers and First Nations groups. The Board then issued information requests to NGTL, Westcoast, Alliance, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and 11 Northeast BC producers. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">After review of the submissions from interest parties, the Board issued the Decision. In the Decision the NEB stated an inquiry was not warranted and that the Board will address issues relating to competition in individual tolling applications by each party.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Board stated it will consider revising its Filing Manual in order to ensure that issues relating to fair competition can be dealt with in individual tolling applications. The Board did not indicate what those revisions would specifically include, but stated as an example that the revisions may modify notifications for commercial third parties and may require parties to discuss tolling methodologies including "whether the project could proceed on a stand-alone basis and a justification of rolled-in tolling treatment for proposed facilities, including quantification of costs and benefits". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Decision also stated that competition issues between NGTL and Westcoast would be dealt with in their individual, upcoming toll applications. In particular, the Board noted the issue of whether NGTL's tolls adhere to the principles of cost causation and economic efficiency would need to be addressed. In order to address this issue, the NEB directed NGTL and Westcoast to file specific information with the Board, with each company's respective 2019 final toll application. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Board directed NGTL to file: </p><ul><li>an analysis of how NGTL's Tariff and Guidelines for New Facilities ensure appropriate cost accountability for shippers requiring receipt extensions; </li><li>an analysis of NGTL's current depreciation study; </li><li>and an analysis of NGTL's tolling methodology and tariff provisions that addresses whether the current methodology should be retained for all or part of the existing NGTL system.<br></li></ul><p><br>The Board directed Westcoast to file: </p><ul><li>Westcoast's internal policies, procedures and practices for capital investments in expansion and extension facilities in Zone 3; </li><li>an analysis of how they ensure appropriate cost accountability for Westcoast and shippers requiring facility additions in Zone 3; </li><li>an analysis of Westcoast's depreciation study and an analysis of Westcoast's Zone 3 tolling methodology and tariff provisions that addresses whether the current methodology should be retained.<br></li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong><br>Implications</strong></p><p>The Decision acknowledges the issues relating to competition in Northeast BC. It does not address how those issues will be ultimately be resolved. As it stands currently, NGTL and Westcoast will be impacted by more onerous submissions as part of their upcoming toll applications. However, the impacts to other stakeholders will not be apparent until after competition issues are specifically considered and addressed by the Board in the toll applications. </p>3/14/2018 4:00:00 AM2018-03-14T04:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#25c10a20-abf9-445c-9450-bd6f8fdc5b98;L0|#025c10a20-abf9-445c-9450-bd6f8fdc5b98|National Energy Board;GP0|#7ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926;L0|#07ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926|Pipelines;GP0|#68a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c;L0|#068a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c|Natural Resources;GP0|#ff7a0e20-98c4-49a5-a367-207a2643d4f2;L0|#0ff7a0e20-98c4-49a5-a367-207a2643d4f2|Rates/Tolls;GP0|#79f5b025-e6dd-4c66-873b-67e8780cf972;L0|#079f5b025-e6dd-4c66-873b-67e8780cf972|RegulatoryOil & Gas;National Energy Board;Pipelines;Natural Resources;Rates/Tolls;Regulatory
Alberta Court of Appeal Clarifies the Test for Summary Judgmenthttp://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=368Alberta Court of Appeal Clarifies the Test for Summary Judgment368BLG Blog PostDaniel Johnsondajohnson@blg.com | Daniel Johnson | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C64616A6F686E736F6E i:0#.w|blgcanada\dajohnson ​Summary judgment can be an effective tool to resolve litigation in a cost-effective way. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Hryniak v. Mauldin 2014 SCC that a "culture shift" toward simpler procedures was necessary and expanded the scope of summary judgment. Subsequently, courts across Canada, including in Alberta, grappled with the expanded scope of the summary judgment test (see for example, previous blog posts here, here, and here) in some cases leading to confusion about how the new summary judgment framework was to be applied. In the recent Stoney Tribal Council v. Canadian Pacific Railway, 2017 ABCA 432 ("Stoney"), the majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal stripped away some of the additional gloss which had been put on the summary judgment framework, including by the Alberta Court of Appeal itself. [Read more...]<p>​<img class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="Calgary" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/GENCAN-191-shutterstock-75.jpg" style="margin:5px;" />Summary judgment can be an effective tool to resolve litigation in a cost-effective way. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in <a href="https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2014/2014scc7/2014scc7.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Hryniak v. Mauldin</em> 2014 SCC</a> that a "culture shift" toward simpler procedures was necessary and expanded the scope of summary judgment. Subsequently, courts across Canada, including in Alberta, grappled with the expanded scope of the summary judgment test (see for example, previous blog posts <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=43" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=160" target="_blank">here</a>, and <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=82" target="_blank">here</a>) in some cases leading to confusion about how the new summary judgment framework was to be applied. In the recent <a href="https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca432/2017abca432.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Stoney Tribal Council v. Canadian Pacific Railway</em>, 2017 ABCA 432</a> ("<strong><em>Stoney</em></strong>"), the majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal stripped away some of the additional gloss which had been put on the summary judgment framework, including by the Alberta Court of Appeal itself.</p><p>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=368"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p> Summary judgment can be an effective tool to resolve litigation in a cost-effective way. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Hryniak v. Mauldin 2014 SCC that a "culture shift" toward simpler procedures was necessary and expanded the scope of summary judgment. Subsequently, courts across Canada, including in Alberta, grappled with the expanded scope of the summary judgment test (see for example, previous blog posts here, here, and here), in some cases leading to confusion about how the new summary judgment framework was to be applied. In the recent Stoney Tribal Council v. Canadian Pacific Railway, 2017 ABCA 432 ("Stoney"), the majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal stripped away some of the additional gloss which had been put on the summary judgment framework, including by the Alberta Court of Appeal itself. Background Stoney concerns an action by the Stoney Tribal Council (the "Tribal Council") against the Canadian Pacific Railway ("CPR") seeking the return of in situ petroleum, natural gas and related hydrocarbon rights. CPR moved for summary judgment on the basis that the Tribal Council's claims against the CPR were statute barred. The Case Management Justice granted summary judgment and the Tribal Council appealed. The Decision The majority and minority of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Stoney agreed that the case was appropriate for summary judgment. However, the Justices disagreed on how the summary judgment test ought to be approached. Justice Wakeling, in the minority, looked at summary judgment as a balancing of the relative strengths of the parties' positions, asking whether the "disparity in the strength of the positions of the moving and non-moving parties [is] so marked that it is appropriate to resolve the dispute without resort to the full spectrum of the civil procedure process." Justice Wakeling concluded that summary judgment was appropriate because the CPR's position was "unassailable", while the Tribal Council's position had no chance of success. Given the disparity between the parties' positions, summary judgment was appropriate. For the majority, Justice Paperny ruled that the relative strength of the parties' claims has no bearing on the outcome of a summary judgment application. Rather, the question before the Court hearing a summary judgment application is as set out in Hryniak v. Mauldin whether a fair and just determination of the case can be made on the record before the Court. The majority in Stoney ruled that the cases (including some from the Alberta Court of Appeal) which add additional requirements, such as an assessment of the strength of the parties' positions are of no application in a post-Hryniak world. Anything more than an application of the Hryniak test (as applied in Windsor v. Canadian Pacific Railway) is an unnecessary gloss. Industry Implications Following Stoney, summary judgment will continue to be a potentially helpful tool in the arsenal of industry players faced with litigation. Stoney allows for a broad range of cases to be resolved by way of summary judgment, not just those where the non-moving party has a weak case.<p><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="Calgary" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/GENCAN-191-shutterstock-375.jpg" style="margin:5px;" />Summary judgment can be an effective tool to resolve litigation in a cost-effective way. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in <a href="https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2014/2014scc7/2014scc7.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Hryniak v. Mauldin</em> 2014 SCC</a> that a "culture shift" toward simpler procedures was necessary and expanded the scope of summary judgment. Subsequently, courts across Canada, including in Alberta, grappled with the expanded scope of the summary judgment test (see for example, previous blog posts <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=43" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=160" target="_blank">here</a>, and <a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=82" target="_blank">here</a>), in some cases leading to confusion about how the new summary judgment framework was to be applied. In the recent <a href="https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca432/2017abca432.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Stoney Tribal Council v. Canadian Pacific Railway</em>, 2017 ABCA 432</a> ("<strong><em>Stoney</em></strong>"), the majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal stripped away some of the additional gloss which had been put on the summary judgment framework, including by the Alberta Court of Appeal itself.</p><p><span lang="EN-CA"><strong>Background</strong></span></p><p><em>Stoney</em> concerns an action by the Stoney Tribal Council (the "<strong>Tribal Council</strong>") against the Canadian Pacific Railway ("<strong>CPR</strong>") seeking the return of <em>in situ</em> petroleum, natural gas and related hydrocarbon rights. CPR moved for summary judgment on the basis that the Tribal Council's claims against the CPR were statute barred. The Case Management Justice granted summary judgment and the Tribal Council appealed.</p><p><span lang="EN-CA"><strong>The Decision</strong></span></p><p>The majority and minority of the Alberta Court of Appeal in <em>Stoney</em> agreed that the case was appropriate for summary judgment. However, the Justices disagreed on how the summary judgment test ought to be approached. Justice Wakeling, in the minority, looked at summary judgment as a balancing of the relative strengths of the parties' positions, asking whether the "disparity in the strength of the positions of the moving and non-moving parties [is] so marked that it is appropriate to resolve the dispute without resort to the full spectrum of the civil procedure process." Justice Wakeling concluded that summary judgment was appropriate because the CPR's position was "unassailable", while the Tribal Council's position had no chance of success. Given the disparity between the parties' positions, summary judgment was appropriate.</p><p>For the majority, Justice Paperny ruled that the relative strength of the parties' claims has no bearing on the outcome of a summary judgment application. Rather, the question before the Court hearing a summary judgment application is as set out in <em>Hryniak v. Mauldin</em>: whether a fair and just determination of the case can be made on the record before the Court. The majority in <em>Stoney</em> ruled that the cases (including some from the Alberta Court of Appeal) which add additional requirements, such as an assessment of the strength of the parties' positions are of no application in a post-Hryniak world. Anything more than an application of the Hryniak test (as applied in <a href="https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2014/2014abca108/2014abca108.pdf" target="_blank"><em>Windsor v. Canadian Pacific Railway</em></a>) is an unnecessary gloss.</p><p><span lang="EN-CA"><strong>Industry Implications</strong></span></p><p>Following Stoney, summary judgment will continue to be a potentially helpful tool in the arsenal of industry players faced with litigation. Stoney allows for a broad range of cases to be resolved by way of summary judgment, not just those where the non-moving party has a weak case.</p>3/6/2018 5:00:00 AM2018-03-06T05:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#6ed29997-7c09-433d-9f4f-e4bb2ce1b29b;L0|#06ed29997-7c09-433d-9f4f-e4bb2ce1b29b|Litigation;GP0|#68a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c;L0|#068a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c|Natural ResourcesOil & Gas;Litigation;Natural Resources
Approvals in Atlantic Canada – National Energy Board Issues Maritime & Northeast Pipeline (M&NP) 2017-2019 Toll Settlement http://blog.blg.com/energy/Lists/Blog Posts/DispForm.aspx?ID=367Approvals in Atlantic Canada – National Energy Board Issues Maritime & Northeast Pipeline (M&NP) 2017-2019 Toll Settlement 367BLG Blog PostPeter Bryan;Alan L. Rosspbryan@blg.com | Peter Bryan | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C70627279616E i:0#.w|blgcanada\pbryan;aross@blg.com | Alan L. Ross | 693A30232E777C626C6763616E6164615C61726F7373 i:0#.w|blgcanada\aross On March 1, 2018, the National Energy Board (NEB) issued its Reasons for Decision in RHW-003-2017 (M&NP's application for approval of its 2017-19 Toll Settlement). BLG acted on this matter. The NEB approved the settlement for pipeline tolls as follows the base period settlement tolls of $0.7515 (2017); $0.7178 (2018); and $0.7857 (2019) per gigajoule (GJ); the accelerated depreciation during the Settlement Period; and the decreased return on equity, in that ROE was reduced from 10.9% (2017) to 8.50% (2018) and 8.25% (2019). [Read more...]<p><span aria-hidden="true"></span><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="hands" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/INDUS-BUSI-220-shutterstock-63912421-75.jpg" style="margin:5px;" />On March 1, 2018, the National Energy Board (NEB) issued its Reasons for Decision in RHW-003-2017 (M&NP's application for approval of its 2017-19 Toll Settlement). BLG acted on this matter. </p><p>The NEB approved the settlement for pipeline tolls as follows:</p><ul><li>the base period settlement tolls of $0.7515 (2017); $0.7178 (2018); and $0.7857 (2019) per gigajoule (GJ);</li><li>the accelerated depreciation during the Settlement Period; and</li><li>the decreased return on equity, in that ROE was reduced from 10.9% (2017) to 8.50% (2018) and 8.25% (2019). </li></ul><p><br>[<a href="/energy/Pages/Post.aspx?PID=367"><em>Read more</em></a>...]</p> On March 1, 2018, the National Energy Board (NEB) issued its Reasons for Decision in RHW-003-2017 (M&NP's application for approval of its 2017-19 Toll Settlement). BLG acted on this matter. The NEB approved the settlement for pipeline tolls as follows the base period settlement tolls of $0.7515 (2017); $0.7178 (2018); and $0.7857 (2019) per gigajoule (GJ); the accelerated depreciation during the Settlement Period; and the decreased return on equity, in that ROE was reduced from 10.9% (2017) to 8.50% (2018) and 8.25% (2019). Heritage Gas –an entity holding a Nova Scotia natural gas distribution franchise until 2028 - resisted the settlement on the basis that M&NP failed to take into account the underutilization expected on the system after 2019, arising as a result of the decommissioning of the Sable Island and Deep Panuke gas projects. However, the NEB rejected Heritage's proposal that the NEB initiate a proceeding to deal with the determination of the tolling methodology and tolls given the level of underutilization in the region. The NEB found that M&NP was contracted for a significant portion of capacity throughout the settlement period, and captive shippers will not bear the burden of underutilization costs. It further dismissed Heritage's argument that the depreciation rate be increased during the Settlement Period, M&NP's return be disallowed, and some longer term toll certainty be provided now for the period past the settlement. Given the shift in supply dynamics on M&NP, the NEB decided that it would be appropriate to reconsider the 19.5 year abandonment funding collection term, due to a risk of under-collection. This issue will not be deferred post-2019. The NEB indicated that M&NP should address the impact of the expected drop in billing determinants after 2019 prior to the expiry of the Settlement Period. It also noted that the production declines and expected change in use of the system after 2019 warranted a review of the abandonment fund collection period. It therefore directed M&NP to file an application with the NEB prior to May 1, 2018, proposing an updated collection period and annual collection amount for the Settlement Period and beyond. We will continue to monitor the impacts of this decision as well as overall changes in the energy market in Atlantic Canada, especially with the expected decommissioning of both the Sable Offshore Energy Project in 2018, and Deep Panuke between 2019 and 2021.<p><img class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="hands" src="/energy/PublishingImages/Lists/Blog%20Posts/AllItems/INDUS-BUSI-220-shutterstock-63912421-350.jpg" style="margin:5px;" />On March 1, 2018, the National Energy Board (NEB) issued its Reasons for Decision in RHW-003-2017 (M&NP's application for approval of its 2017-19 Toll Settlement). BLG acted on this matter. </p><p>The NEB approved the settlement for pipeline tolls as follows:</p><ul><li>the base period settlement tolls of $0.7515 (2017); $0.7178 (2018); and $0.7857 (2019) per gigajoule (GJ);</li><li>the accelerated depreciation during the Settlement Period; and</li><li>the decreased return on equity, in that ROE was reduced from 10.9% (2017) to 8.50% (2018) and 8.25% (2019). </li></ul><p> <br>Heritage Gas –an entity holding a Nova Scotia natural gas distribution franchise until 2028 - resisted the settlement on the basis that M&NP failed to take into account the underutilization expected on the system after 2019, arising as a result of the decommissioning of the Sable Island and Deep Panuke gas projects. However, the NEB rejected Heritage's proposal that the NEB initiate a proceeding to deal with the determination of the tolling methodology and tolls given the level of underutilization in the region. The NEB found that M&NP was contracted for a significant portion of capacity throughout the settlement period, and captive shippers will not bear the burden of underutilization costs. It further dismissed Heritage's argument that the depreciation rate be increased during the Settlement Period, M&NP's return be disallowed, and some longer term toll certainty be provided now for the period past the settlement. </p><p>Given the shift in supply dynamics on M&NP, the NEB decided that it would be appropriate to reconsider the 19.5 year abandonment funding collection term, due to a risk of under-collection. This issue will not be deferred post-2019. The NEB indicated that M&NP should address the impact of the expected drop in billing determinants after 2019 prior to the expiry of the Settlement Period. It also noted that the production declines and expected change in use of the system after 2019 warranted a review of the abandonment fund collection period. It therefore directed M&NP to file an application with the NEB prior to May 1, 2018, proposing an updated collection period and annual collection amount for the Settlement Period and beyond. </p><p>We will continue to monitor the impacts of this decision as well as overall changes in the energy market in Atlantic Canada, especially with the expected decommissioning of both the Sable Offshore Energy Project in 2018, and Deep Panuke between 2019 and 2021.</p>3/2/2018 5:00:00 AM2018-03-02T05:00:00ZTrue1float;#3.00000000000000float;#2018.00000000000string;#Marchfloat;#201803.000000000GP0|#23e50663-be85-467e-acf9-7150e42ed669;L0|#023e50663-be85-467e-acf9-7150e42ed669|Energy;GTSet|#939fe804-8a2a-4cfa-af8f-5756b32ac3ca;GP0|#25c10a20-abf9-445c-9450-bd6f8fdc5b98;L0|#025c10a20-abf9-445c-9450-bd6f8fdc5b98|National Energy Board;GP0|#68a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c;L0|#068a53fee-4a86-4326-9cee-6b963cc47e1c|Natural Resources;GP0|#60a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e;L0|#060a6f187-f0e0-4c65-a06c-b97febf6542e|Oil & Gas;GP0|#7ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926;L0|#07ea7e480-c8e7-48db-baae-396516e81926|PipelinesEnergy;National Energy Board;Natural Resources;Oil & Gas;Pipelines