Jun 1, 2023
Bill C-69: Regulatory uncertainty has a chilling effect on investment
Uncertainty and changing expectations in the regulatory process are like ‘poison’ to those looking to invest billions of dollars developing new pipelines and other large-scale infrastructure. And the challenges TransCanada and other companies have faced in recent years will be made worse by changes proposed in Bill C-69.
That was the message delivered on April 9 by Patrick Keys, TransCanada Senior Vice-President, Legal to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV) in Calgary. The Committee is currently touring across Canada to hear from parties concerned about the bill which is expected to add new layers of risk, higher costs and lengthier delays to natural resource project approvals in Canada.
Patrick provided insight into how the potential legislation will harm the energy industry and cited Energy East as an example of a project that was cancelled due to unpredictable regulatory processes.
“We filed our application with the National Energy Board in October 2014. However, three years later – in 2017 – we were still only in the early stages of the review process. Many new factors and changed circumstances arose that broadened the scope of the assessment process…we made the difficult decision to cancel the project because we determined there was too much uncertainty about the assessment scope, regulatory timing and potential additional and ultimate costs for the project to confidently continue forward,” explained Patrick.
Patrick’s comments also supported the April 3 CEPA commissioned report on Regulatory Competitiveness in Canada’s Pipeline Industry which concluded that recent and proposed regulations have had a negative effect on the energy sector’s business competitiveness.
“This (regulatory) climate has had a chilling effect on investment in Canada, is reducing Canadian competitiveness and is now seriously threatening national economic interests,” Patrick told the Committee.
In addition to Patrick’s comments, TransCanada provided a written submission outlining recommendations and proposed amendments to Bill C-69 for the Committee’s review.