Socio-economic effects monitoring is emerging as a regulatory requirement and risk management tool in the Canadian pipeline sector. While socio-economic impact assessments have been part of the regulatory landscape for some time, the additional step of socio-economic monitoring beyond the predictions of the assessment, in a parallel fashion with environmental monitoring, has not. Generally, socioeconomic monitoring is a process to track project-related socioeconomic outcomes, to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation that was designed during the regulatory assessment phase, and to adapt or improve mitigation in order to respond to unanticipated outcomes. Different from mines or industrial facilities that are focused in one geographic area with a long term operating presence, pipelines present unique challenges with respect to socio-economic monitoring. Monitoring of pipeline projects requires an approach that considers the interests of often numerous administrative and geographic jurisdictions and the challenge of data collection over a relatively short-term construction period. These pipeline-specific factors are layered with the challenges associated with all socio-economic monitoring programs related to multiple influences on social and economic outcomes and the challenge of effect attribution. This paper provides an overview of socio-economic monitoring as a requirement in the Canadian pipeline context, and reviews the public domain approaches proposed by various recent project proponents in Canada. This paper ultimately presents a framework for a practical and focused socio-economic monitoring process that is uniquely suitable for the context of major pipeline projects (Pipeline Socio-Economic Monitoring — or P-SEM — Model). The P-SEM model will help Project Managers meet regulatory requirements, improve mitigation, buffer projects from broader socio-economic issues that are beyond their sole control, and create a touch point for engagement with project stakeholders through pipeline construction.

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