The National Energy Board (NEB) is Canada’s federal energy regulator. Preventing harm is at the heart of what a regulator does. People count on us to keep them safe, to protect the environment, to prevent market inefficiencies and to listen to what they have to say so that we can make informed decisions and recommendations in the Canadian public interest.
We do this using a systemic approach (looking not only at individual company performance, but the performance of the industry as a whole), based on evidence, input and data, and all the while committed to delivering effective and efficient regulatory oversight. We share information and operate transparently in order to maintain public confidence in the regulatory process. This Performance Summary – the first that relies upon our new performance framework – is intended to ensure Canadians have the information they have told us they want to have about the performance of the industry we regulate, and about our performance as a regulator.
The greatest asset the NEB has is the sum of our experience and what we learn from working with Canadians: what we know and learn from our analysis of the root causes of past incidents; the trends and issues we see in the data we hold about our performance and the performance of industry; our understanding of the systemic issues and “big picture” of Canada’s energy system; and the views of Canadians about what is of concern to them, and how we can do our job better.
How we use that asset makes a difference – including sharing and discussing that knowledge with Indigenous Peoples, communities, industry, and with other regulators both in Canada and internationally. Most of all, we apply that asset to continually improve our regulatory framework, requirements and performance in the service of Canadians.
Over the past year:
- Pipeline hearing activity remained high, with a lot of public participation in the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) detailed route and land acquisition processes, including alternative dispute resolution processes;
- Incidents that harm people or the environment in our regulated activity continued to be a concern – especially because they are often linked to issues related to worker safety associated with the increase in major pipeline construction activity, which is underway;
- There was a good deal of public and stakeholder interest in the NEB’s new and innovative energy information products, including new data visualization and pipeline information products; and
- There continued to be a high level of engagement by and with our regional offices, with new engagement forums and commitments made to support initiatives such as the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC), the Land Matters Group (LMG), and the new Municipal Roundtable.
There is a lot to be proud of in the work done by Canada’s regulator last year, and there are a number of areas where we know there is more work to do. Under a mandate from the Prime Minister, Natural Resources Canada conducted a review of the NEB’s structure, role, and mandate in order to strengthen the regulatory process and ensure that Canada continues to have a modern, efficient and effective regulator. In early 2018, the Government introduced Bill C-69: An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act. Among other measures, this proposed legislation introduces a new impact assessment system and a new Canadian Energy Regulator.
The NEB welcomes measures that strengthen our regulatory framework and support our transformation to a robust and modern regulatory regime. We have been mindful of this opportunity in work we have undertaken. Implementing our Departmental Results Framework (DRF), utilizing data more strategically and sharing it openly, and forging new ways of working with Indigenous communities through the IAMCs, has helped prepare us to respond to change and quickly adapt to the legislative changes that modernization will bring to the Canadian energy landscape.
There has never been a better time to work at the NEB, and I am proud to work alongside the Board Members and staff who take the role and responsibility of being Canada’s energy regulator so seriously, and who are so committed to the continual improvement of our regulatory oversight.
As you read this Performance Summary, we hope you will appreciate our efforts to be transparent, balanced and open, and consider our invitation to engage with us to improve how we do our work. We welcome your input and ideas on how we can improve our future reports and encourage you to provide your feedback at our online engagement platform www.nebroundtable.ca.
Peter Watson, P.Eng., FCAE
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
National Energy Board