Current uncertainty regarding pipeline jurisdiction in Canada has significant regulatory implications. The predictability and stability of the legal regime governing Canada's pipeline system is of critical importance to the energy industry, regulatory agencies, governments, and others with an interest in energy matters. There are increasing indications, however, of unpredictability and potential instability in this area. Ongoing litigation indicates that important jurisdictional issues remain unresolved in the minds of industry and regulatory authorities. This paper proposes a new interpretation of the relevant constitutional provisions. While the specific focus is NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd., the analysis has implications for pipeline regulation throughout Canada. The suggested approach would significantly increase jurisdictional certainty. It renders intelligible an otherwise confusing body of case law and provides a clear basis for predicting outcomes in new cases.
This paper presents the results of a study of pipeline jurisdiction that was funded by the Alberta Law Foundation.