The National Energy Board (NEB) is Canada’s federal energy regulator. We regulate pipelines, energy development and trade on behalf of Canadians in a way that protects the public and the environment while supporting efficient markets. People count on us to keep them safe, to protect their communities and lands, to prevent market inefficiencies, and to reflect their interests in our decisions and recommendations.
Over the past year, several significant events influenced the course of the NEB’s work. Bill C–69: An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act was introduced in early 2018, and by the time this Annual Report is tabled may have already come into force. Among other measures, the Bill proposes legislative changes to create a new impact assessment system and a new Canadian Energy Regulator. Calling upon decades of experience regulating energy projects in the Canadian public interest, as well as a history of successfully implementing legislative changes, the NEB is prepared to implement the CER Act upon coming into force.
In August 2018, a Federal Court of Appeal decision overturned the Order in Council approving the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Government of Canada referred aspects of the Board’s recommendation report back to the NEB for reconsideration by February 2019. The NEB listened to a range of diverse views, carefully considered all of the evidence submitted, and delivered a comprehensive, evidence–based, fair and meaningful review of Project–related marine shipping [Filing A98021], within the timeline required.
Throughout the year, continued and significant volatility in the oil markets saw a dramatic increase in the price discount on Canadian oil and production curtailments in Western Canada. In November 2018, the Minster of Natural Resources Canada asked the NEB for a report on potential short– and long–term options to alleviate pipeline capacity constraints. NEB employees consulted extensively with a broad cross–section of industry, government agencies and other experts, and publically released a comprehensive report in March 2019.
The important work that the NEB undertakes every day to fulfil our mandate continued as planned: oversight of pipeline construction and environmental protection, damage prevention and emergency response; adjudication of applications before the Board; expanded offerings of energy information, and data transformation; and the focused, collaborative development of an Indigenous Monitoring Program all progressed through the significant work completed in these areas.
An unwavering focus on creating systemic improvements in the way the NEB approaches its work – striving to be a more modern and excellent regulator – has also kept our focus on the path forward. We increased our ability to leverage the work across all NEB programs and create integrated approaches to the big issues we see, including:
- The importance of listening to and understanding Indigenous Knowledge as a fundamental aspect of safety and environmental protection;
- Using the rich data collected over the past 60 years of regulation to improve the future of regulation – and use that data to invite Canadians to explore that future with us;
- Data experimentation to illuminate root causes of incidents, to create visibility on emerging issues, and to strengthen our regulatory framework; and,
- Ensuring more engagement, transparency and communication in adjudication processes – before they even begin.
The work of modernizing the NEB has progressed and will continue to do so. However, our job as Canada’s energy regulator will fundamentally remain the same. We will continue to regulate pipelines, power lines, energy development and trade on behalf of Canadians in a way that protects the public and the environment, while supporting efficient markets. I am proud to work alongside the Board Members and employees who remain dedicated in their commitment to regulatory excellence.
On behalf of the National Energy Board and its Members, I respectfully submit to Parliament and provide to Canadians the 2018–19 National Energy Board Annual Report.
C. Peter Watson, P.Eng. FCAE
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
National Energy Board