On Wednesday, Aug. 28, the National Energy Board (NEB) became the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). For further information please visit our Implementing the Canadian Energy Regulator Act information page

National Energy Board – 2019–20 Departmental Plan

Plans at a glance and operating context

As Canada’s national energy regulator, the work of the National Energy Board affects the lives of almost all Canadians. The people that serve at the NEB understand this important responsibility – and every day Canadians count on the NEB’s experts to keep them safe, to protect the environment and to prevent market inefficiencies.

In the coming year, the expert employees of the National Energy Board will continue to focus on delivering expected results in each of the organization’s Core Responsibility areas. To assist the NEB in doing this, it will focus on:

Implementing Bill C-69 and NEB Modernization

The federal government’s introduction of Bill C-69, the federal environmental assessment and NEB modernization legislation, is the most significant proposed legislative change to the organization since it was established in 1959.

Some of the highlights of Bill C-69 include: a modern Governance structure for Canada’s new energy regulator – the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), a clear focus on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, more public engagement and Indigenous participation in all aspects of the CER’s work, a system-wide emphasis on regional and cumulative effects of resource projects, and continued strong oversight for pipeline safety.

The leadership and employees at the NEB have been proactively planning and working on an aggressive modernization agenda for the past several years and the organization is well positioned to implement any legislative change. The NEB sought and received additional funding in previous years for pipeline oversight and compliance, Indigenous engagement, earlier and broader public and stakeholder engagement as well as supports for its employees in order to meet these modernization objectives. This funding was allocated on a temporary basis but all of these requirements exist as part of a modern, well-functioning regulatory organization. In future years, the Canadian Energy Regulator would benefit from a renewal and rollover of temporary funding for these efforts into ongoing and stable funding.

In 2019–20, the NEB will: support the mandate and structure of the new organization, implement regulatory processes that are even more focused on Indigenous and public participation, institute updated systems, website, physical and digital assets.

Indigenous Engagement

The National Energy Board uses a cooperative and respectful approach to engaging with Indigenous Peoples in all aspects of its work. To ensure that Indigenous rights and interests are respected, the National Energy Board seeks ways to meaningfully connect, seek feedback, and exchange information on different facets of its regulatory practices and processes.

Perhaps the most significant development that has occurred at the NEB in the past several years is its commitment to creating new and additional opportunities for engagement between the NEB, Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders.

Building on the success of the two way dialogue that has been a hallmark of northern Indigenous Engagement and the Indigenous Advisory Monitoring CommitteesFootnote 1 (IAMC), the NEB’s approach focuses on enabling people to ask questions, learn, share perspectives, collaborate and inform improvements to the regulatory lifecycle. The feedback received and information gathered through these efforts is then used to inform the decisions and the work of the organization in a multitude of ways.

Indigenous participation and engagement also strengthens the NEB’s lifecycle oversight by providing additional perspectives on the impact of the construction and operation of pipelines on Indigenous communities, the environment, and historical and cultural resources.

In 2019–20, the NEB will focus on: continuing to reflect Indigenous rights and interests in its work; developing common tools and practices to identify and manage issues; creating and sharing local data; modernizing selected regulatory practices; and increasing awareness of the organization and its mandate.

People and Workforce Excellence

2019–20 will be a year of significant change for the employees of the National Energy Board. The challenges and opportunities associated with transitioning to a new organization, with new legislation and governance, are compelling.

The NEB’s support of its people will be essential to the success of the transition to the CER as it will be the employees who will be implementing many of the changes that the new legislation will bring.

An inaugural workforce plan will be critical to providing a clear enterprise-wide snapshot of the NEB’s current workforce make-up and what will be required to successfully support the transition to the CER. The plan will address issues ranging from resourcing to people programs, all supported through sound executive leadership. The focus of the workforce plan will be on a commitment to excellence, technical expertise, building trust and public confidence.

In 2019–20, the NEB will support three specific areas of people and workforce focus: agility in delivering results; inclusivity in developing ideas and decisions and ensuring employees are equipped for excellence.

Data and Information Management

The NEB needs to transform to become more data and information driven so Canadians will have better access to knowledge, research, and decision making.

The organization is investing in its data, analytics and information management systems to ensure that the organization’s analysis, reports and statistical trends are optimized and more accessible to Canadians.

The National Energy Board’s transformation will be supported by delivering on its commitments under the Open Government initiative, advancing signature data projects, and providing relevant and localized data. Within the organization, this means taking steps to modernize processes, including building greater data skillsets and capacities (through partnerships with academic institutions, for example), developing a culture of innovation and experimentation, and modernizing data systems.

By giving the public access to the NEB’s data and information, they will be able to come to their own conclusions, rather than just accepting the regulator’s word for it. Through this transformation – it is expected there will be an increase in the public’s trust of Canada’s energy regulatory framework as well as its energy information.

In 2019–20, the NEB will: move further towards digital service delivery; ask its stakeholders about their data requirements and work to provide the right information – and more localized information – to meet those needs; and add information about Indigenous communities to the NEB’s existing interactive pipeline map.

Key Risks

Key risks: things that could affect our ability to achieve our plans and results
Risk Risk Tolerance High Level-Risk Response Strategy Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities

Incident involving NEB-regulated infrastructure

Incident involving NEB-regulated infrastructure resulting in a serious injury, fatality or significant environmental damage.

Mitigate

Lifecycle Oversight:

  • Application assessment activities identify risks and required mitigation measures
  • Compliance Verification Activities conducted on regulated companies
  • NEB Audits conducted on regulated companies to ensure effective management systems are in place
  • Transparency and accessibility of company emergency response plans are monitored
  • Participate in and evaluate company led emergency response exercises leading to continual improvement in both the NEB’s and industry’s ability to effectively respond to emergencies
  • Engagement with stakeholders and Indigenous groups inform and improve regulatory oversight activities to improve incident reduction activities and effectiveness in emergency response

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Energy Adjudication
  • Safety and Environmental Oversight
  • Engagement

Harm to a member of the public, NEB staff or a Board Member

An action, conduct, threat or gesture that could cause harm to a member of the public, NEB staff, or a Board Member (for instance, in conducting lifecycle activities, during a hearing, or other engagement activity)

Mitigate

  • Adhering to policies and directives on physical security and security risk management from TBS
  • Hearing security policy and procedures in place;
  • Non-hearing public engagement security procedures in place;
  • Consult with national, regional and local lead security agencies to assist in security risks assessment and applying security safeguards.
  • Departmental Security Plan implemented to improve readiness to respond to risk

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Energy Adjudication
  • Safety and Environment Oversight
  • Engagement
  • Internal Services

Inadequate financial or human resources

Inadequate financial or human resources due to high levels of temporary funding and variability in the regulated industry which make it challenging to plan for, recruit and retain resources during periods of significant change.

Mitigate

  • Resource spending reviewed regularly by senior management;
  • Appropriate multi-year resource management and workforce plan developed. 
  • Research and address recommendations in the inaugural workforce plan.
  • Seek multi-year, long-term, stable funding.

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Energy Adjudication
  • Safety and Environment Oversight
  • Energy Information
  • Engagement
  • Internal Services

 

Disclosure of NEB or industry information

Accidental or inappropriate disclosure of NEB or industry information that could impact financial markets, pose a breach of the Government of Canada Policy on Government Security, or lead to a loss of public trust.

Mitigate

  • Compliance with guidelines, policies and directives on IM/IT security from TBS and the Chief Information Officer Branch
  • Ongoing IM/IT system testing including, but not limited to, training of staff, increased awareness of staff roles and responsibilities for IM/IT security, updating guidelines and manuals, physical testing of systems, etc.
  • Ongoing assessment of protocols and guidelines for how information is transmitted and stored.
  • Physical security controls; Increase capacity of specialized IT resources, continue implementation of IT security controls and adherence to Shared Services Canada guidelines;
  • IT security controls in place
  • Training on aspects of information security provided to staff;
  • Ongoing training, guidelines, manuals and testing of staff.

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Internal Services

Incomplete data and information

Incomplete data and information that could result in a compromised ability to conduct analysis, deliver on regulatory initiatives, or provide accurate information to the public.

Mitigate

  • Review of the data ecosystem to ensure data is relevant, accessible and accurate
  • Modernize data and information processes and systems to ensure analysis, reports and statistical trends are optimized and more accessible to Canadians
  • Increase capacity for specialized data science resources
  • Explore the use of NEB data through experimentation to inform and support regulatory initiatives
  • Continue to deliver on commitments under Open Government

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Energy Information
  • Internal Services

Strengthening and maintaining stakeholder relationships

Insufficiently-adaptive engagement culture and/or management response systems amidst a changing external environment (including stakeholder and Indigenous Peoples expectations and relationships), thus leading to a potential loss of credibility or recognition.

Mitigate

  • Implement the Indigenous Cultural Competency Framework, including but not limited to the training of staff on UNDRIP, Indigenous rights, Indigenous Law and Indigenous-Crown relations
  • Ongoing review of policies, resources, guidance, tools and skillsets to conduct meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders
  • Tracking local issues to inform the NEB’s engagement activities and issue responses

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Energy Adjudication
  • Safety and Environment Oversight
  • Energy Information
  • Engagement

Failure to implement Bill-C-69, if passed

Failure to implement Bill C-69 if passed, leading to loss of public trust and credibility.

Mitigate

  • Organization-wide initiative in place to implement changes resulting from Bill C-69 including but not limited to strong internal and external change management throughout the transition to the proposed Canadian Energy Regulator and integration of changes into the NEB’s management system

Measurement: Assigned risk ownership and quarterly risk monitoring and reporting to gauge the effectiveness of risk responses

  • Energy Adjudication
  • Safety and Environment Oversight
  • Energy Information
  • Engagement
  • Internal Services

Risk Analysis

Risk-based compliance verification planning

As a key element of proactive incident prevention, the NEB compiles information on regulated company performance to analyze trends and to assess the oversight required in the future. The results of compliance verification activities are used along with other inputs, such as incident data, to inform the NEB’s compliance plan for the coming year.

There are seven key risks identified by the NEB to be considered in its planning environment for 2019–20, they include risks related to:

  1. An incident involving NEB-regulated infrastructure.

    Preventing harm is at the heart of what a regulator does. To reduce safety risks, a proactive approach to incident prevention is critical. All available actions taken by the NEB to protect the environment and the public emphasize learning from past incidents in order to reduce future accidents and incidents. This is a primary focus for the NEB, with much of its work aimed at reducing the probability of this risk.
  2. Harm to a member of the public, NEB staff, or a Board Member.

    The NEB is committed to ensuring Canadians are engaged in the organization’s regulatory work. This participation is vital to the mandate of the National Energy Board, however it also carries the risk that contentious NEB processes could, on a rare occasion, escalate into disruption, threats, or harm to members of the public, NEB staff or Board Members. Conducting NEB business in a safe and secure manner is paramount to ensuring that all participants in NEB regulatory processes are respectfully heard.
  3. Inadequate financial or human resources.

    The NEB needs to ensure that it has the right level of expertise and resources to carry out its regulatory responsibilities. With high levels of variability in the industries that it regulates, as well as the NEB having significant levels of temporary (sunsetting) funding in its appropriation, there is a risk that the organization will not be able to plan, recruit or retain resources effectively to meet its obligations. If funding for the NEB’s 87 temporary positions sunsets at the end of the 2019–20 fiscal year, the situation may affect the organization’s ability to achieve its plans, results and deliver on its mandate. The NEB will mitigate this risk by actively monitoring its allocation, using tools to track its resourcing needs, and implementing plans to address shortfalls which may include requests for further funding, when appropriate.
  4. Accidental or inappropriate disclosure of NEB or industry information.

    The public’s increasing appetite for energy and pipeline information has been a primary factor in the NEB’s ramped up efforts to provide Canadians with accessible and transparent data. The organization is committed to protecting the data and information it manages as the inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information has the potential to impact financial markets, pose a breach of Government Security, or lead to a loss of public trust. Physical and information technology security controls and improvements, coupled with ongoing employee training, will help mitigate this risk.
  5. Compiling information on company performance assists the NEB in identifying trends and assessing the appropriate level of compliance oversight needed for its regulated companies. The NEB will continue to use trend analysis to direct its resources towards improving the safety performance of the companies and industries it regulates.

    Incomplete data and information.

    The public’s increasing appetite for energy and pipeline information has been a primary factor in the NEB’s ramped up efforts to provide Canadians with accessible and transparent data. The NEB will continue to streamline its management practices in order to reduce the risk of incomplete data and information. Increasing the NEB’s regulatory performance relies upon a robust approach to data and information management. In addition to increasing its focus on data collection and analysis, the NEB is growing the amount of pipeline safety performance information it makes available to Canadians. The organization’s emphasis on the digital public environment is also reflected in the recent creation of a new NEB Business Unit that is solely focused on the management of data and information. Its function will be to review the entire organization’s data ecosystem and work to ensure the information is complete, relevant, accessible and accurate.
  6. With the introduction of Indigenous Advisory Monitoring Committees, the NEB has been partnering with Indigenous groups to monitor the Enbridge Line 3 and Trans Mountain pipelines. This approach is beyond what a regulator normally monitors and it has enabled both groups to work together to better protect Indigenous cultural and historical resources. Moving forward, the NEB will continue to listen to Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders and use that feedback to improve its regulatory work.
    An insufficient approach to strengthening and maintaining stakeholder relationships.

    Seeking to strengthen relations with Indigenous Peoples as well as landowners, regional representatives, industry, and Canadians is aligned with a broader Government-wide commitment. For the NEB, strengthening these relationships is critical to its ability to improve on how it regulates and ensures it is delivering upon its mandate. Any dialogue on energy infrastructure, safety and environmental protection must recognize the unique needs of all NEB stakeholder relationships. Implementing a public engagement strategy that includes a plan for meeting the distinct engagement needs of differing groups, combined with a regional NEB presence, will facilitate relationship-building now and into the future. Engagement with stakeholders focuses on building relationships, communicating information about energy and the organization’s regulatory processes, as well as the NEB’s role as a lifecycle regulator.

    Engaging with Canadians will improve how the National Energy Board operates and how it makes decisions that best reflect the public interest.
  7. Failure to implement Bill C-69, if passed, leading to loss of public trust and credibility.

    To continue to build and maintain public trust the NEB needs to ensure a smooth transition to becoming the Canadian Energy Regulator, if Bill C-69 becomes law. The organization is very well positioned to implement the government’s legislative direction as it has been moving forward with an aggressive and transformative agenda for the past several years. The organization has focused its efforts on the new governance structure that the transition will bring, as well as on the implications of the new or expanded responsibilities on current processes and results. Above all, the NEB is making pipeline compliance and enforcement activities its first priority, this is to ensure that the public is safe and the environment is protected during this time of transition.

For more information on the National Energy Board’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.

Date modified: