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Engineers Canada submits comments to government on offshore renewable energy regulations

2021.01.14

In early January, Engineers Canada submitted comments to Natural Resources Canada on their discussion paper regarding Canada’s approach to offshore renewable energy regulations.

While supportive of the five guiding principles proposed in the offshore renewable energy regulations (ORER), Engineers Canada proposed an additional principle that requires a professional engineer be involved. Given the level of risk that is posed to the natural environment when offshore renewable energy projects are considered, Engineers Canada believes that individuals performing assessments for designated projects under the Canadian Energy Regulator Act should do so with high levels of technical skills and ethics, and should be held professionally accountable for their actions. The ORER guiding principles would be significantly strengthened by directly referencing that professional engineers must be consulted on all projects, and ensures that individuals involved would be accountable to high professional and ethical standards by the regulatory mechanisms of the engineering profession.

Engineers Canada likewise further recommended that the assembly, incorporation, testing, and commissioning of activities and projects be authenticated by an engineer licensed by a Canadian engineering regulator. This applies to all parts of the offshore project including wind, wave, current, or tidal generation devices, the substructures and foundations, the electrical service platforms, the inter-array and export cables, and any other permanently installed auxiliary structures.

Infrastructure that is built or designed in Canada is subject to regulation by the provincial or territorial engineering regulator for that given jurisdiction. Yet as it currently stands, infrastructure to be used offshore that is designed and built outside of Canadian limits is not subject to those same Canadian engineering regulations. Engineers Canada believes that it is in the public interest that all infrastructure designed, built, or used within Canada—including in its offshore areas—must be regulated in a manner similar that which is currently done by the provincial and territorial engineering regulators for engineering work on land.

Read Engineers Canada’s full submission to Natural Resources Canada on Canada’s approach to offshore renewable energy regulations here.