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AER Board receives Deloitte Canada’s Reports on the Kearl Incidents

Following seepage and spill incidents at Imperial’s Kearl oilsands facility in May 2022 and February 2023, the Alberta Energy Regulator’s Board of Directors (AER Board) commissioned an independent review of the AER’s internal processes and response.  

After a thorough RFP process, the Board chose Deloitte LLP (Deloitte) to review and make recommendations on the AER’s policies, standards, procedures and communication processes for emergency response, investigation, incident reporting, and communications, including the timing and frequency of communications to Indigenous communities and stakeholders in and around the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo during the two Kearl seepage and spill incidents.  

On Sept. 27, 2023, the AER Board accepted the final report from Deloitte, agreeing with its key findings and recommendations for improvement. 

“Deloitte’s report confirms that the AER followed existing policies, standards, procedures or processes in response to the Kearl incidents," said AER Board Chair David Goldie. "Protecting public safety and the environment was paramount in our peoples' actions.”  

“However, Deloitte also provided recommendations for several improvements to AER's incident and emergency management system to bring it into line with leading practices and heightened expectations. A key recommendation was for the AER to collaborate with Indigenous communities and key stakeholders to develop specific notification and communication protocols, processes and procedures tailored to meet their needs,” Goldie added. 

The Board has accepted and agrees with the report’s findings, recommendations and conclusions and has directed AER management to develop a detailed action plan to address Deloitte’s recommendations in a timely manner, including the recommendation that the risk assessment, incident escalation and Board communication processes be improved.  

“The Board is committed to ensuring the AER moves swiftly to address Deloitte's operational and communication recommendations. I have asked AER Management to develop an operational implementation plan,” Goldie stated. “Doing so will ensure that the AER is more prepared and capable as a regulator and will help to ensure we better meet expectations of Indigenous communities and key stakeholders.” 

The complete Deloitte reports and supporting materials are publicly available.  

May 16, 2023 - AER Board Chair, David Goldie, Provides Kearl Review Update

On May 11th, following a rigorous RFP process, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)'s Audit and Finance Committee, on behalf of the Board of Directors, engaged Deloitte LLP to conduct an independent review of the AER’s actions in handling the Imperial Oil Kearl seepage and spill incidents.

The review will begin in May and take about 90 days to complete. Deloitte will examine AER’s current response and notification policies and procedures, including internal and external communications protocols, to determine any issues or gaps in AER’s actions in handling the Kearl seepage and spill and, if so, provide recommendations for improvement.

In the spirit of openness, honesty and transparency, the Board will publicly share the review’s findings once completed and the Board has considered the recommendations and follow-up actions.

March 31, 2023 - AER Board Review of Kearl Incident

The AER board is commissioning an impartial, third-party review into certain aspects of how the AER has handled the response to incidents at Imperial Oil’s Kearl facilities between May 2022 and February 2023.

Read the March 28 Announcement for more details.

Access the Request for Proposal. The request notice is posted on the Alberta Purchasing Connection website.

Send inquiries to @email.