Canada Energy Regulator – 2019–20 Departmental Results Report – Results at a glance and operating context

This icon represents funds used.

Funds used: 97.8 Million

This icon represents the number of staff.

Number of staff: 494

Results

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

The CER is fundamentally transforming the way it works to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, basing its approach upon the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

One of the key initiatives for the CER in 2019–20 was its work with several Indigenous organizations to develop an IAC, which was established in August 2020. The IAC will play a critical role in providing strategic advice to the CER’s Board of Directors, on the regulatory work of the CER and on developing the framework for an enduring relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the organization.

Another important initiative was the CER’s work with two Indigenous Advisory Monitoring CommitteesFootnote 5 (IAMCs). The organization worked with Indigenous leaders involved in the Enbridge Line 3Footnote 6 and Trans MountainFootnote 7 IAMCs to co-design improvements to its regulatory oversight and monitoring programs. The CER expanded its Indigenous monitoring program so that more CER-regulated projects would benefit from Indigenous knowledge during their construction and operation. Additionally, the organization adjusted its processes for informing Indigenous communities about emergency response activities relating to incidents on pipelines.

To assist the organization in working more effectively with Indigenous Peoples, the CER invested heavily in building the skills and cultural competencies of its employees in 2019–20. The CER delivered training to staff to equip them to better understand Indigenous issues and concerns and to identify ways to co-design regulatory approaches with Indigenous Peoples.

Transforming Data and Information Management

The CER is home to a wealth of environmental, socioeconomic and Indigenous records acquired through sixty years of operation by its predecessor regulator, the National Energy Board.

Modern innovations in big data, text mining and other data science techniques have given the CER new opportunities to combine these decades worth of information in order to draw insights that will enable it to gain enterprise-wise efficiencies. This helps build an energy regulatory system that inspires public trust.

In its first year, the CER created a foundation for its three-year Focus Area on Data and Information Management by concentrating on several key initiatives. These included enhancing the skills and competencies of the organization through the recruitment of twenty experts in data science; developing collaborative relationships between the CER, not-for profits and universities to pilot projects and deliver on data and information management ventures; experimenting with automating administrative heavy processes in order to improve competitiveness; and, unlocking data trapped within the text of CER documents – a process that will help prevent future harm, enhance regulatory transparency, facilitate future analytical projects and enhance engagement.

People and Workforce Excellence

The CER’s greatest attribute is its people. 2019–20 was a year of significant change for the organization and the need to support its people was essential to the success of the transition to the new CER.

The CER introduced the People and Workforce Focus Area in 2019–20 to enhance how its people engage and work with each other as part of an agile, inclusive, and better equipped workplace. These principles were developed through a mutual understanding that corporate and culture change within an organization is a shared responsibility, accomplished through meaningful collaboration.

In the inaugural year of the three-year People and Workforce Excellence Focus Area, the CER established several key priorities including: agility in delivering results and decisions, ensuring employees are equipped for excellence and inclusivity in developing ideas. Initiatives that the organization rolled out as part of this approach included an organization-wide review of the CER Performance Management System, a review and update of several internally-focused CER policies, and the creation of the Catalysts – an employee led group endorsed and supported by management to strengthen inclusion and collaboration.

Operating context: the Creation of the CER

Upon Coming into Force of Bill C-69: An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act in August 2019, the NEB became the CER. Over 2019–20, the CER embraced an updated mandate and structure, implemented regulatory processes that are even more focused on increasing Indigenous and public participation, and updated our systems, website, physical and digital assets.

Along with a new name, the legislation put in place a modern governance structureFootnote 8. A Board of Directors, led by a Chairperson, provides strategic oversightFootnote 9. An independent Commission, headed by a Lead Commissioner, makes adjudicative decisions. A Chief Executive Officer leads the CER’s day-to-day business and affairs and has the responsibilities of a deputy head.

The legislation also brought a clear emphasis on safety and environmental protection, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, enhancing Canada’s global competitiveness, driving innovation, and strong oversight of pipelines, powerlines and offshore renewable energy projects.

Planning for the implementation of the CER ActFootnote 10 began within the organization well in advance of August 2019. The goal was to foster integrated leadership across all CER programs to ensure successful implementation of the legislation and all related policy changes. In addition to a modernized governance structure, the key themes for change in becoming the CER include:

  • Timely and predictable decisions: The CER Act introduces a number of changes to federal processes for project review and decisions. Non-designated projects will be reviewed by the CER. Designated projects will go through an integrated review process led by the Impact Assessment Agency of CanadaFootnote 11 (IAAC) with the support of the CER. Both designated and non-designated projects will be approved by the Governor in Council. Project reviews include a more robust early engagement phase, to better identify and respond to project-related concerns of Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders. They also include new or updated factors to be considered in impact assessments, including consideration of gender-based analysis, climate change and impacts to Indigenous rights.
  • Strengthened safety and environmental protection: While the CER continues to enforce conditions, inspect facilities and conduct other oversight activities to protect people and the environment, the CER Act enhances inspection and investigation powers. It also provides the authority to create an orphan pipeline account and take action to safely cease operation of a pipeline if the owner cannot be located or is in receivership, insolvent, or bankrupt. The CER will also be the lifecycle regulator for offshore renewable energy projects.
  • Greater Indigenous participation: The CER Act ensures greater Indigenous participation through recognition of Indigenous rights and confirmation of the CER’s role in relation to the Government’s duty to consult, including a requirement to assess impacts on these rights and consider Indigenous knowledge in decision making. The CER Act also calls for the establishment of an Indigenous Advisory CommitteeFootnote 12 (IAC). The IAC will play a critical role, providing strategic advice to the Board of Directors on the regulatory work of the CER and on developing the framework for an enduring relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the organization. The IAC advises on strategic, policy and program matters of systemic impact; it does not engage in CER operational matters or provide advice on specific adjudicative matters.
  • More inclusive public participation: Public participation in CER processes will be inclusive and any member of the public will have an opportunity to express their views during a hearing. In addition, the participant funding program is updating funding maximums to align with participation levels for eligible hearings, and will be expanded to include CER led early engagement activities with Indigenous Peoples.

The transition to the CER has been a significant achievement. The CER’s enabling legislation provides momentum for the organization to begin its journey to build an energy regulatory system that inspires trust and public confidence on the part of all Canadians.

For more information on the CER’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the "Results: what we achieved" section of this report.

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