National Energy Board Ministerial Briefing Binder – Modernizing the National Energy Board: Building trust with Canadians



Security: Protected B
Date: 4 November 2015


  • The NEB has identified three strategic priorities to help guide our actions moving forward. These are:
    • Taking action on safety;
    • Leading regulatory excellence; and
    • Engaging with Canadians.
  • These strategic priorities will help the NEB modernize and continually improve over the next three years.
  • They will also assist the government to implement its vision to provide for fair and more open government, more accessible information, and more credible, science based reviews.


  • Historically, the NEB has operated with little public involvement in its work as Canada’s national energy regulator.
  • In recent years, however, several external factors have changed. Pipeline safety and environmental issues have come to the forefront of Canadian interest and, as a result, the NEB’s work is undergoing unprecedented public scrutiny.
    • The NEB has seen record numbers of intervenors in its application process and an influx of media requests and articles questioning the NEB’s credibility.
    • Canadians are questioning the inclusiveness of the NEB’s processes, its competency as a lifecycle regulator, and its independence.
  • In order to position the NEB for the future, trust in its ability to regulate in the public interest is vital. Status quo in NEB operations will no longer suffice.
  • The NEB has revised its strategic priorities to expand the scope of its activities to evolve and respond to these new challenges.

Current Status:

  • The NEB’s strategic priorities were set by the Board in the fall/winter of 2014 with the collective goal to enhance public confidence in the NEB’s ability to fulfill its core mandate.

Strategic Priority 1: Taking Action on Safety

  • The NEB’s main focus is to see to it that its regulated facilities are safe and secure.
  • Through this priority the NEB is strengthening the actions it takes on pipeline safety and environmental protection and it is putting a stronger focus on root cause analysis and systemic issues.
  • The NEB will use that information to drive broader, more proactive compliance by companies and enforcement by the NEB.
  • Implementation activities include:
    • Safety Culture:
      • Working with other regulators, associations and companies in the development of enhanced safety culture frameworks and technical knowledge sharing, as well as stronger internal data tracking, trending and root cause analysis.
      • As part of the NEB’s work on safety culture, the Board has released a Statement on Safety Culture, which included a definition and framework intended to promote learning and shared understanding of safety culture; and released a suite of draft indicators for public consultation and comment.
    • Data:
      • An example of the work the NEB is doing on improving the quality, timeliness, and integrity of its regulatory data is the deployment of its Operations Regulatory Compliance Application (ORCA) to allow field inspectors to produce an on-site report remotely. These reports are posted to the NEB website.
    • Safety Forum:
      • In June 2015, the NEB hosted a Safety Forum that provided an open exchange among expert stakeholders on technical pipeline issues and addressed specific issues to improve the safety of regulated facilities.
    • Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA):
      • The NEB works, where appropriate, with CEPA on issues related to NEB-regulated pipelines. For example, as part of its public consultation process, the NEB has asked CEPA to comment on the draft safety culture indicators. Other examples where future work is necessary include building a better understanding on the NEB’s expectations for management system audits.

Strategic Priority 2: Leading Regulatory Excellence

  • This priority reaches broadly across the entire organization and is based on continual learning, innovation, enhanced evaluation and improved management systems on a long-term basis.
  • Implementation activities include:
    • The NEB has been a part of the Alberta Energy Regulator’s initiative on Best-in-Class, which has resulted in a generic framework for regulatory excellence.
    • Through the AER’s project and our own research the NEB is working to develop a Regulatory Excellence Framework. This Framework will be used to develop the metrics to align with the framework and evaluate internal and regulatory processes and allow for benchmarking, resulting in improvement priority areas for the Board to focus on.
    • The Board continues to work with other regulators around the world to examine the concept of regulatory excellence and learn from each other’s experiences.

Strategic Priority 3: Engaging with Canadians

  • The NEB fosters greater public confidence and trust through broad stakeholder engagement. The NEB must build trust by demonstrating clear intent, transparent actions and predictability. To continue building trust with Canadians, the NEB is:
    • Proactively reaching out to key audiences about energy matters and the NEB’s lifecycle role;
    • Strengthening its understanding of stakeholder issues, concegy information to Canadians.
    • Positioning itself to be the objective provider of reliable energy information to Canadians.
  • Implementation activities include:
    • The NEB opened regional offices in both Montreal and Vancouver in April 2015, adding to the regional office in Yellowknife. 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.
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    • Positioning itself to be the objective provider of reliable ener
    • The Chair/CEO launched a National Engagement Initiative (NEI) in 2014-2015 where he, along with other 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 outcome of the initiative was that Canadians desire more information on how the NEB regulates and opportunities to be included in its 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 initiating the launch of 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.
    • The NEB and the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) CMM have agreed on a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the intent of which is to establish a relationship to share information and promote cooperation on matters related to NEB-regulated pipelines.
    • NEB staff facilitated the creation of a ‘Joint Committee on Emergency Preparedness for Quebec’ where the CMM and government of Quebec, and Enbridge are active participants This committee would oversee the development of a coordinated approach to Emergency Management in the Montreal area, increased capacity for local First Responders and continuous sharing of information between the company and regional municipalities.


  • These priorities, and the associated plans, are aimed at continuing to deliver on our strategic outcome, which is that 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.

Next steps:

  • The strategic priorities were prepared with a three-year timeframe, starting in 2015.
  • As the NEB moves forward, it will continually strive for improvement in regulating in the public interest.
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