Gaz Métro’s primary objective in operating its network is to offer an uninterrupted supply of natural gas in a manner that is safe for its employees, customers and the public. To accomplish this, it makes ongoing efforts to protect the public and installations through rigorous maintenance and network improvement programs.
Gaz Métro’s network safety process is founded, first and foremost, on preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance and asset management based on risk level and business values. Gaz Métro’s commitment to managing the safety of its network also means adopting various policies and procedures, including:
- the Gaz Métro Occupational Health and Safety Policy;
- the integrity management programs for Gaz Métro’s distribution and transmission networks, which were incorporated into the asset management strategy implemented several years ago;
- the Emergency Measures Management System;
- the Operational Recovery and Continuity System.
Gaz Métro has developed an Integrated management system (IMS) that covers the three certified management systems:
- The EMS is ISO 14001 certified;
- The quality system for the Network Technology Department’s prefabrication workshop is ISO 9001 certified
- The quality system for the Measurements Department is certified under Measurement Canada’s S-A-01-2006 standard.
The IMS also covers the Safety and Loss Management System under the CAN/CSA-Z662 standard, for which Gaz Métro has obtained certification. Lastly, Gaz Métro must comply with the CAN/CSA Z662 standard, “Oil and gas pipeline systems” for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and improvement of its natural gas pipelines in Québec.
The IMS has enabled the sharing of procedures for these systems. Other management systems are also integrated to the IMS, such as:
- the Major Projects Quality System based on the ISO 9001 standard;
- the Security Management Program (CSA Z246.1);
- the Emergency Measures Management System;
- the Operational Recovery and Continuity System;
- the Occupational Health and Safety System.
Objectives with a timeline are established annually and followed up on regularly, to ensure the performance of our management systems. These objectives are updated during the integrated management review, which allows Gaz Métro managers to understand the value of, efficiency of and potential improvements to these systems.
Asset management program
Gaz Métro has developed a network asset management strategy based on best practices. The asset management strategy is a risk-centred initiative. It is intended to strike a balance between risk, cost and performance.
The operationalization of the asset management strategy allows Gaz Métro to forecast investments required over the coming years.
Preventing damage by third parties
Gaz Métro encourages contractors to adopt best industry practices to reduce the risk of damage to our property. A third-party damage prevention program, managed in conjunction with Info-Excavation, the Régie du bâtiment du Québec and the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, raises awareness among the main stakeholders, particularly municipalities and excavation contractors.
During fiscal 2015, as part of its awareness program, Gaz Métro held:
- sessions at two conferences for excavators and contractors;
- Seven in-house training sessions and seven training sessions at the Régie du bâtiment’s request;
- Four awareness meetings with fire departments;
- Seven training sessions for Gaz Métro employees and employees of various Québec municipalities.
Gaz Métro also participates in Info-Excavation’s efforts (formerly carried out by the Alliance pour la protection des infrastructures souterraines du Québec) to promote best practices in this field. Furthermore, Gaz Métro contributes to efforts to have the Government of Québec pass a bill with respect to preventing damage by third parties (like in Ontario), alongside Info-Excavation.
Emergency measures management and safety and loss management
Gaz Métro has an Emergency Measures Management program that applies equally to natural and technological events and events caused by human activity.
Moreover, the CAN/CSA Z662 standard creates an obligation to develop, implement and update a documented Safety and Loss Management System for pipeline networks to ensure people’s safety and protect the environment and property. The design and construction of the Gaz Métro network meets the most stringent standards of the Canadian gas industry.
Assignor awareness program
The primary aim of this program is to remind landowners who have granted a servitude to Gaz Métro of the factors they need to consider regarding the use of these properties. To accomplish this, the following actions are taken:
Program for risk disclosure to municipalities
- Annual mailout of an information leaflet about the servitude to all assignors;
- Updates of assignor contact information via a mailout containing a return postage guarantee;
- Updates of the Prexim database by the Principal Advisor, Real Estate Expertise and Surveying;
- Visits, on a three-year cycle, to the assignors to inform them in more detail of the uses that are permitted and forbidden. They are also reminded of the requirement to obtain Gaz Métro’s authorization before undertaking any work. In the event the assignor is not home, the information is left in the mailbox;
- Implementation of customer service telephone lines to answer assignors’ questions.
This primary aim of this program is to raise municipalities’ awareness about the presence of the gas network, notably to help them develop their emergency response plans and thus meet the requirement of section 10.5.2.2 of the above-mentioned CSA Z662 standard.
Gaz Métro meets with the cities it serves to inform them of various safety elements that need to be considered when residing or working near a natural gas network.
The following stakeholders are invited to take part in the meetings:
- General Manager and/or Mayor of the municipality;
- Fire chief;
- Chief of the municipal police and/or Sûreté du Québec;
- Public works director;
- Urban planning representative;
- Public Health Branch representative;
- Emergency Management representative;
The main topics covered in the meetings are:
- Gaz Métro presentation and data on natural gas;
- Preventive and corrective actions to ensure the safety and integrity of our network;
- Preventive measures for excavations around the network;
- Preventive actions regarding the possible presence of sewer crossings;
- Emergency response measures – distribution network;
- Emergency response measures – transmission network;
The program is jointly managed by the Sustainable Development and Public and Government Affairs team and the cities. Under this program, a meeting with each city is organized every three years. In the last three years, meetings were held with the municipalities that are most traversed or served by the gas network. These meeting will continue.
Preparing Gaz Métro employees for emergency interventions means maintaining an operational corporate emergency plan that reflects the company's risks. In collaboration with the company’s relevant vice-presidencies, specific response procedures (SRP) and/or business continuity and recovery plans (PCRO) that are specific to their respective activities are developed and maintained. Every year, Gaz Métro organizes simulation training and exercises for each sector, need and region, so that its employees are as prepared as they can be for emergencies.