National Energy Board Ministerial Briefing Binder – Engaging with Canadians: Making more information accessible



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Date: 4 November 2015


  • The NEB is resolved to foster greater public confidence and trust through broad stakeholder engagement. Canadians need to trust that the NEB is doing its job and doing it well. The NEB is significantly improving how it engages with Canadians to:
    • Proactively reach out to key audiences about energy matters and the NEB’s lifecycle role;
    • Strengthen the NEB’s understanding of stakeholder issues, concerns and questions; and,
    • Position the NEB to be the objective provider of reliable energy information to Canadians.
  • This allows for bilateral learning – for the NEB to more fully understand public and stakeholder concerns, and for Canadians to better understand the NEB’s processes and mandate.
  • This mutual understanding is necessary for the NEB to operate in the Canadian public interest, which is continually evolving.


  • The NEB finds itself in new territory, with heightened public expectation to address many issues in the energy debate around fossil fuels, including climate science, GHG management, and the pace and location of oil and gas development. The result is unprecedented interest in our review processes, and scrutiny of our activities to hold the industry the NEB regulates to account for the safety of its operations and the protection of the environment.
  • The NEB is working to demystify its role and become a known entity, in an effort to earn the trust and credibility that comes from being open and transparent.
  • This means broad and bold engagement across the whole of Canada, including a responsive focus on regional issues. It also means more effective communication that is tailored to the intended audience and readily accessible by any stakeholder who wants it.
  • Engagement is not an end in itself, but rather a means by which the NEB intends to achieve its strategic outcome. The NEB’s strategic outcome for 2015-2016 is: “the regulation of pipelines, power lines, energy development and energy trade contributes to the safety of Canadians, the protection of the environment and efficient energy infrastructure and markets, while respecting the rights and interests of those affected by NEB decisions and recommendations” (NEB Report on Plans and Priorities). Meaningful public engagement is an increasingly important factor in achieving all aspects of the NEB’s strategic outcome.

Current Status:

  • Engagement has become particularly relevant because of the rapidly changing external environment. The NEB is bolstering its efforts to meaningfully engage Canadians to:
    • facilitate understanding between the public and the NEB;
    • allow the public to apply to participate in decisions that affect them; and
    • enhance decisions affecting the Canadian energy system (specifically, lifecycle regulatory decisions and organizational decisions).

National Engagement Initiative & More Accessible Information

  • The Chair/CEO launched a National Engagement Initiative (NEI) in 2014-2015 where he, along with other Board Members and NEB staff, met with and listened to community leaders, first responders, Aboriginal groups, provincial and municipal leaders, academics, industry and environmental groups across Canada.
  • One clear learning from this initiative was that Canadians desire more information on how the NEB regulates and greater opportunities to be included in NEB processes.
  • A second clear outcome of the initiative was that the public desires increased transparency for both regulators and companies alike, especially with regards to companies’ emergency response plans.
  • To address both of these concerns, the Chair/CEO responded by launching a public consultation process to solicit the views of Canadians about the type and level of detail in pipeline company emergency management information they believe should be public.
  • In the spirit of transparency, the NEB launched its interactive Pipeline Incident Map on its website in April 2015. The map graphically documents pipeline incidents from 2008 to present day.

Regional Engagement

  • To further support key regional engagement needs, NEB opened two regional offices in April 2015. The offices strengthen the NEB’s regional presence, raise awareness about its work, and build stronger relationships with regional public and local institutions, communities, landowners and Aboriginal groups.

Next Steps:

  • The Board has endorsed a whole-of-NEB Strategic Engagement Program that will build upon and lever existing NEB engagement processes to foster greater public confidence and trust through broad stakeholder engagement, and will begin implementation immediately. This approach will:
    • Increase proactive engagement with key audiences about energy matters and the NEB’s lifecycle role.
    • Strengthen the NEB’s understanding of stakeholder issues, concerns and questions.
    • Position the NEB to be the objective provider of reliable energy information to Canadians.
  • The Board is also improving the energy information products it publishes for Canadians. The Government has committed to taking action on climate change, and the NEB is supportive of this objective. In the near future, the NEB will release Canada’s Energy Future 2015: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This is the NEB’s flagship energy information product and will, for the first time, include greenhouse gas emission projections associated with energy demand projections. Publicly accessible information on the linkage between climate change and energy demand is an important input to the public discourse and will assist with evidence-based policy-making.
  • The NEB will continue to improve public access to data on all aspects of its activities by transforming data into valuable information through relevant user-friendly visualizations.
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