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 – 2017–18 Departmental Results Report – Results: what we achieved

Core Responsibilities

Energy Adjudication

Description

Adjudication Activity in 2017–18:

  • 689 Applications Received
  • 670 Decisions or Recommendations Issued
  • 657 Adjudication Outreach Activities Conducted
  • 543 Early Engagement Activities with Indigenous People Conducted
  • 8 Oral Traditional Evidence Sessions Held

Making decisions or recommendations to the Governor in Council on applications, which include environmental assessments, using processes that are fair, transparent, timely and accessible. These applications pertain to pipelines and related facilities, international power lines, tolls and tariffs, energy exports and imports, and oil and gas exploration and drilling in certain northern and offshore areas of Canada.

Results

The NEB is using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to create faster, more satisfactory resolution of issues for landowners, Indigenous Peoples and companies.

There were 123 individual hearing processes filed for the TMEP Detailed Route application. Using ADR, the NEB mediated 55 meetings between the parties and the company.

Of the detailed route objections that were subsequently withdrawn, 90% were settled outside of formal adjudication processes, through ADR. This outcome shows that interest-based, win/win solutions are achievable.

The NEB met its targets for each of the four Performance Indicators in this Core Responsibility. There have been significant court challenges to NEB decisionsFootnote 1 recently, including the August 30, 2018 FCA decision to quash the Order-in-Council approval of the TMEP certificate. These challenges signal a clear need for different, more intensive and more collaborative engagement with Indigenous communities to ensure that the views and concerns of Indigenous Peoples are heard, incorporated and reflected in NEB decisions. No NEB decisions were overturned in 2017–18 on matters related to procedural fairness.

The TMEP Detailed Route Application generated an increase in both volume and complexity of hearing-related processes related to agreements on the pipeline right-of-way and other detailed route issues.

On other pipeline infrastructure systems, construction and maintenance activity resulted in a high volume of landowner complaints, and in particular, complaints related to Indigenous concerns about the protection of heritage resources. These factors combined presented a challenge for the NEB to meet its commitment to timely processes while still ensuring that stakeholder concerns were heard and carefully considered.

To mitigate this, the NEB broadened the use of tools such as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early engagement. ADR is a collection of processes and techniques that can be used to reach resolution of issues as an addition to a traditional regulatory approach. It is collaborative, respectful and considerate of everyone’s point of view. The NEB successfully used ADR to work with industry, public and Indigenous people, to understand perspectives and concerns and take action to address them early in the process. This outcome shows that interest-based, win/win solutions are achievable.

The NEB is actively seeking feedback after all hearing processes. The response rate to date has been small, but initial feedback has been encouraging: post-hearing participant results indicate that a majority of respondents felt that the NEB provided opportunities to participate, that hearing documents were clear and transparent, and that they could see their views reflected in the decisions. We made changes last year to our management practices in this area, resulting in an increase in the timeliness of the release of funding decisions. The percentage of applicants who are satisfied with the service provided by the NEB in its Participant Funding Program remains high.

The NEB will continue to refine our processes to ensure that they accessible, fair and transparent, and as we continue to survey our participants, the additional data we collect will be invaluable in shaping that work.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18
Actual
results
2016–17
Actual
results
2015–16
Actual
results

Energy adjudication processes are fair.

Percentage of adjudication decisions overturned on judicial appeal related to procedural fairness. 0% Annually 0% 0% 0%
Energy adjudication processes are timely. Percentage of adjudication decisions and recommendations that are made within legislated time limits and service standards. 100% Annually 100% 100% 100%
Energy adjudication processes are transparent. Percentage of surveyed participants who indicate that adjudication processes are transparent. 75% Annually 88% 79% Not availableTable Note a
Energy adjudication processes are accessible. Percentage of surveyed participant funding recipients who agree that participant funding enabled their participation in an adjudication process. 90% Annually 94% 92% Not availableTable Note a
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned spending
2017–18
Total authorities
available for use
2017–18
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
Actual spending
minus
Planned spending)
28,225,875 28,333,982 31,553,311 24,293,849 (4,040,133)
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017–18
Actual full-time equivalents
2017–18
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents
minus
Planned full-time equivalents)
121.20 125.7 4.5

Financial, human resources and performance information for the National Energy Board’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Safety and Environmental Oversight

Description

Safety and Environmental Oversight Activity in 2017–18

301 Compliance Verification Activities, including:

  • 12 Emergency Management Exercises
  • 147 Inspections
  • 8 Management System Audits
  • 4 Financial Audits

Setting and enforcing regulatory expectations for National Energy Board-regulated companies over the full lifecycle (construction, operation and abandonment) of energy-related activities. These activities pertain to pipelines and related facilities, international power lines, tolls and tariffs, energy exports and imports, and oil and gas exploration and drilling in certain northern and offshore areas of Canada.

Results

The NEB approaches safety and environmental protection through three main lenses:

  • compliance/enforcement
  • management systems
  • safety culture

The NEB uses data collected from compliance and enforcement activities on individual company performance to assess industry-wide trends. This approach then informs a risk-based focus on management systems to drive systemic, industry-wide improvement.

A company that has a strong safety culture scrutinizes every decision to ensure the risks are managed and harm is prevented. The NEB expects companies to promote a positive safety culture, and we collect analyze and share industry-wide data and information to identify learnings related to safety culture.

At the same time, the NEB continues to emphasize and fully integrate engagement and Indigenous co-monitoring activities with compliance, enforcement, audit processes in our regulatory oversight of major construction projects.

NEB did not meet its targets in the Core Responsibility of Safety and Environmental Oversight. The number of incidents that harm people or the environmentFootnote 2 increased by one in 2017–18, totaling 17 incidents compared to 16 the year before. The biggest increase year over year was in serious injuries, of which there were 7 compared to 4 the year before. All of these injuries involved third-party contractors. In general, the construction activities involve many people, rough terrain and lots of activities involving heavy equipment. As a result, there are more hazards to worker safety during major construction activity in comparison to day-to-day operations.

This trend is of critical importance. Over 2017–18, the NEB increased compliance activity focused on construction, using a range of tools including pre-construction audits for TMEP and Enbridge Line 3 Replacement ProgramFootnote 3 (Line 3), scheduled and unscheduled inspections on construction sites, increased communication with companies and communities to raise awareness, and outreach activities to ensure compliance with regulatory and specific project condition requirements. It is difficult to measure the direct impact these actions had on reducing the number of incidents last year, as it is not possible to quantify the number of incidents that did not occur as a result of regulatory oversight and/or intervention. We are of the view that this work makes a real difference, however, and with major project construction set to increase next year, this trend remains a primary concern for the NEB as we head into 2018–19.

“Near-misses” also increased in 2017–18. These are activities undertaken near NEB-regulated pipelines without authorization under the NEB Damage Prevention RegulationsFootnote 4, and are officially referred to as unauthorized activities (UAs). They are a leading indicator of areas and activities where harm could occur, and tracking them provides the NEB with additional insight on areas of greater risk so that we can take targeted action. The data also helps target engagement activities to improve public awareness and safe digging, construction, and heavy vehicle activity near or over NEB-regulated pipelines.

Because the number of reported near-misses has increased over the year, the NEB is partnering with other organizations, such as the Canadian Common Ground AllianceFootnote 5, to orient compliance verification activities by company, by region and by repeat offenders, and take action to reduce the number of near misses that are occurring. Every near-miss is reviewed by NEB staff and the violator is contacted. In particular, the NEB is focusing regulatory actions on repeat violators as they pose a higher risk.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18
Actual
results
2016–17
Actual
results
2015–16
Actual
results

Harm to people or the environment, throughout the lifecycle of energy-related activities, is prevented.

Number of incidents related to National Energy Board-regulated infrastructure that harm people or the environment. 0 Annually 17 16 12
Percentage change of specific incident types on National Energy Board-regulated infrastructure. 10% decrease Annually 10% increase 11% increase 5.4% increase
Percentage change of near misses on National Energy Board-regulated infrastructure. 5% decrease Annually 16% increase 13% increase 33.3% increase
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned spending
2017–18
Total authorities
available for use
2017–18
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
Actual spending
minus
Planned spending)
22,559,815 22,807,608 31,877,647 23,004,346 196,738
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017–18
Actual full-time equivalents
2017–18
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents
minus
Planned full-time equivalents)
141.2 124.5 (16.7)

Financial, human resources and performance information for the National Energy Board’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Energy Information

Description

Collecting, monitoring, analyzing and publishing information on energy markets and supply, sources of energy, and the safety and security of pipelines and international power lines.

Results

Energy Systems Information products released in 2017–18:

The NEB plays a vital role in conveying objective and neutral energy information to Canadians and the world. Rapidly changing energy markets and climate policy development have made this information more essential than ever. We also provide Canadians information about pipeline infrastructure and safety, including at the community and regional level, through dedicated portals and data visualization on our website.

Tracking the number of unique external page views of online Energy and Pipeline Information helps us determine how frequentl it is accessed. The number of unique page views grew by 12% in 2017–18. Significant viewer gains were achieved by the NEB’s new Pipeline Profiles, Provincial Profiles, and data visualizyations, along with updates of the well-received Energy FuturesFootnote 6 and Canada’s Renewable Power Landscape reports.

This is an indicator of the public’s appetite for more information about Canada’s energy systems, and the NEB’s ability to meet that demand creatively and efficiently. We continue to explore new offerings to ensure that the positive contributions we make to Canadian energy information continually evolve and improve.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18
Actual
results
2016–17
Actual
results
2015–16
Actual
results

Canadians have access to and use energy information for knowledge, research and decision making.

Number of times energy information is accessed. 750,000 Annually 986,347 879,831 623,278
Percentage of surveyed web users who agree that energy information is useful for knowledge, research or decision making. 75% Annually 84% Not availableTable Note a Not availableTable Note a
Canadians have access to community-specific NEB-regulated infrastructure information. Increased information specific to National Energy Board-regulated infrastructure in communities. 5 Annually 5 7 3
Canadians have opportunities to collaborate and provide feedback on NEB information products. Number of opportunities that Canadians have to collaborate and provide feedback on energy information products. 42 Annually 76 Not availableTable Note a Not availableTable Note a
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned spending
2017–18
Total authorities
available for use
2017–18
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
Actual spending
minus
Planned spending)
5,365,717 7,289,921 8,311,633 10,444,458 3,154,537
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017–18
Actual full-time equivalents
2017–18
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents
minus
Planned full-time equivalents)
41.42 55.5 14.1

Financial, human resources and performance information for the National Energy Board’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Engagement

Description

Engaging with stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples on topics within the NEB’s mandate and role, beyond engagement on specific projects.

Results

Engagement Activity in 2017–18:

  • Engagement Events: 319
  • Participants in NEB Engagement Programs: 4,270
  • Cultural Awareness Training by Indigenous Trainers provided to 164 NEB Staff

We firmly believe that the best way to prevent harm, keep Canadians safe, protect the environment, and prevent market inefficiencies is to listen to what people have to say so that we can make informed decisions and recommendations in the public interest.

In 2017–18, the NEB led the establishment of a Municipal Roundtable, with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Canadian Energy Pipeline AssociationFootnote 7. The goal of the Roundtable is to identify areas of common concern related to pipeline operations or activities, and find solutions that can be applied across the entire country. The NEB also renewed its commitment to the long-standing Land Matters GroupFootnote 8 (LMG), broadening the scope of the LMG’s work to issues-focused activities in areas of common concern to all landowners.

Impact of IAMC:

“This Committee provides First Nations and Metis Peoples an historic opportunity to advise the Federal government and regulator on how to best integrate Indigenous principles and interests into the lifecycle oversight of the project. This is a new way of working together for everyone involved and I look forward to continuing in the spirit of collaboration, learning, and joint fact-finding.”

Joe Daniels, Line 3 IAMC Indigenous Co-Chair

An increased emphasis on engagement also reflects a new relationship between the NEB and Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. One of the most significant activities for the NEB’s Engagement programs has been supporting the co-development of IAMCs for the TMEP and Line 3 projects.

The IAMCs bring together Indigenous and senior federal representatives to provide input and advice to regulators, and to monitor the construction and operation of the projects. Members have a shared goal of safety and protection of environmental and Indigenous interests in the lands and waters. This initiative represents a foundational change in the way the NEB and the Federal government works with Indigenous Peoples, and aims to develop an enduring and meaningful relationship with those Indigenous Communities along the projects’ corridors, for the entire lifecycle of the projects.

In 2017–18, we conducted significant outreach activity led through our regional offices in Yellowknife, Vancouver and Montreal – in addition to the outreach that we supported all over Canada as part of our engagement programs. Our engagement program activities have been very well-subscribed, and we exceeded our targets in this area significantly in 2017–18. In addition to changing the target for 2018–19 to better reflect our experience in this area, we will also continue to refine and adjust our outreach activities to meet the needs of the communities we serve.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18
Actual
results
2016–17
Actual
results
2015–16
Actual
results

Stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples share their perspectives and provide feedback regarding the NEB mandate and role.

Number of participants in National Energy Board engagement programs. 600 Annually 4,270 723 Not availableTable Note a
NEB engagement activities with stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples are meaningful. Percentage of surveyed stakeholders who engaged with the National Energy Board who indicate that the engagement was meaningful. 75% Annually 76% Not availableTable Note a Not availableTable Note a
Percentage of surveyed Indigenous Peoples who engaged with the National Energy Board who indicate that the engagement was meaningful. 75% Annually 80% Not availableTable Note a Not availableTable Note a
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned spending
2017–18
Total authorities
available for use
2017–18
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
Actual spending
minus
Planned spending)
2,528,944 2,528,944 4,640,405 4,898,235 2,369,291
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017–18
Actual full-time equivalents
2017–18
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents
minus
Planned full-time equivalents)
15.45 24.0 8.5

Financial, human resources and performance information for the National Energy Board’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be servicesFootnote 9 in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Results

The NEB has now completed a full-year cycle under our DRF. Over the course of the year, we have established a Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee, or PMEC, as a part of our Senior Management Committee. All of our Core Responsibilities and related programs have reported quarterly on their results, and we have integrated those results as a part of our planning, budgeting, performance evaluation and improvement identification, making the NEB’s Management System operational at the organizational level.

In addition to robust internal reporting and evaluation implementation, the NEB published its first-ever public Performance Summary in August 2018. This online report is a frank and transparent assessment of the results we are achieving as a regulator, and what we are working to improve on. It signals a new level of transparency and accountability to Canadians for the outcomes we work to achieve.

The NEB has also done a great deal of work towards implementation of an Internal Services Framework. The structure and ownership of each Internal Service is in place, with analysis of mandated indicators and preliminary assessment of program information profiles complete. Our next steps include quarterly reporting of the Internal Services performance results at the senior level.

A key part of our organizational transformation has been ensuring we use data as a critical asset to inform and guide our results. In 2017–18, the NEB developed a comprehensive data management program including policies, principles, strategies, standards and governance, and completed all of the Year One activities in our data management program strategy, including identifying required critical skill sets and competencies, and filling these gaps in resources. The NEB also demonstrated in the 2017–18 Management Accountability Framework assessment that it has the foundational elements of Open Government in place. The NEB will continue to move further towards digital program and service delivery and develop an integrated data strategy aligned to offer a consistent view of data across the organization.

The NEB ratified a new Collective Agreement in early 2018. Despite on-going coordination issues with the Government-wide pay system, retroactive and salary increase payments were made within the agreed-upon timeframe, and the NEB Human Resources team continues to support staff with assistance on Phoenix and MyGCHR.

Finally, the NEB has developed an enhanced Departmental Security Plan, which details mitigation activities with all identified risks related to security. We have implemented a quarterly reporting process for security activities, enabling us to ensure that both our staff and our information and data resources receive optimal risk protection.

 

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned spending
2017–18
Total authorities
available for use
2017–18
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
Actual spending
minus
Planned spending)
18,879,531 18,879,531 22,187,323 31,192,102 12,312,571
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017–18
Actual full-time equivalents
2017–18
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents
minus
Planned full-time equivalents)
133.58 151.6 18.0

The variance of $12.3M in Internal Services is primarily due to:

  • Wage increase in the collective agreement and retro payments and additional hiring of staff to address departmental priorities ($5.9M); and,
  • Higher than expected Operating and Maintenance expenditures in Information Technology and Security Management ($3.4M), Information Management ($0.9M), Communication Services ($0.8M).
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