National Energy Board Ministerial Briefing Binder – The NEB in Brief



Security: Protected B
Date: 4 November 2015

Who we are:

The NEB is an expert tribunal, comprised of 9 permanentFootnote 1 and 5 temporary Board Members, who are supported by a staff of highly skilled engineers, environmental specialists, auditors, inspectors, lawyers and engagement specialists, among others.

We are very proud of the work that we do at the NEB – whether it's managing complex public hearings, assessing environmental impacts and pipeline integrity, engaging Canadians, carrying out pipeline inspections and audits, or the myriad of other tasks that we perform daily to ensure that Canada's energy infrastructure is safe and reliable.

The NEB is headquartered in Calgary and we have small regional offices in Yellowknife, Vancouver and Montréal.

What we do:

Our Raison d’être:

The NEB is an independent federal, quasi-judicial regulator established in 1959 to promote safety and security, environmental protection and economic efficiency in the Canadian public interest within the mandate set by Parliament that includes the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade.

The main responsibilities of the NEB are established in the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and include regulating:

  • The construction, operation and abandonment of pipelines that cross international borders or provincial/territorial boundaries, as well as the associated pipeline tolls and tariffs;
  • The construction and operation of international power lines and designated interprovincial power lines; and
  • Imports of natural gas and exports of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), natural gas, refined petroleum products and electricity.

Additionally, in specified areasFootnote 2 the Board has regulatory responsibilities for oil and gas exploration and production activities under the NEB Act, Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA), the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA), and the Northwest Territories Oil and Gas Operations Act (OGOA) and Petroleum Resources Act (PRA).

The NEB conducts environmental assessments during its review of applications for projects under its jurisdiction. For certain projects, the Board also conducts environmental assessments as required by federal legislation, such as CEAA 2012, the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, and the Inuvialuit Final Agreement or the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Certain Board inspectors are appointed Health and Safety Officers by the Minister of Labour to administer Part II of the Canada Labour Code as it applies to NEB-regulated facilities and activities.

The Board also monitors aspects of energy supply, demand, production, development and trade. The Board reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources.

The Industry we Regulate:

We have a critically important responsibility to provide regulatory oversight to approximately 73,000 kilometers of icustomersnterprovincial and international pipelines. This amount is nearly enough pipeline to wrap around the earth twice. Last year, NEB-regulated pipelines, which are owned by over 100 companies, shipped approximately $159 billion worth of crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas liquids and natural gas to Canadians and export .

The NEB also regulates approximately 1,400 kilometres of international power lines, almost the distance between Yellowknife to Regina. These are owned by over 30 companies who transmitted approximately $3.6 billion of electricity into and out of Canada.

A map of the pipelines regulated by the NEB is provided in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Major NEB Regulated Pipelines

Figure 1: Major NEB Regulated Pipelines

Our Strategic Priorities:

We are working hard at the Board to build our credibility and trust with the Canadian public. The NEB understands that trust comes from demonstrating clear intent, transparent actions and predictability. We must clearly define our role to the public as a decision-maker and lifecycle regulator. We must demonstrate concrete actions on safety and transparency and we must be inclusive of Canadians and support their desire to be informed. To guide these actions, the NEB is advancing three strategic priorities:

  1. We will continue to take action on safety. We are focusing our efforts and resources on developing, refining, and communicating our actions on safety and environmental protection.
  2. We will lead regulatory excellence through continual learning, innovation, enhanced evaluation and improved management systems.
  3. We will increase engagement with Canadians through the life of our regulated facilities. This includes the project application review, construction, operation and abandonment. This requires broad engagement across Canada, including a more responsive focus on regional issues. We are also committed to improving the public accessibility of information about NEB-regulated facilities and the NEB’s activities.

Our Focus on Safety:

The Board is committed to strengthening and improving industry wide performance and awareness of the role that safety culture plays in contributing to or building defences against incidents.

Companies’ executive and senior management can foster the development of an organizational culture in which safety is a core value demonstrated by all personnel at all times. This involves reflecting the importance of safety in companies’ strategies, business plans, processes and safety management systems.

Culture influences what people see, hear, feel, and say. It influences the decisions and actions of people in an organization, and these behaviors ultimately drive safety outcomes and performance.

A strong safety culture is one in which:

  • leaders demonstrate that safety is their overriding value and priority;
  • everyone is aware of known hazards while remaining vigilant to new threats;
  • every employee feels empowered and recognized for making safe decisions;
  • employees feel encouraged to report safety hazards, including instances where they have committed an error and introduced a threat themselves;
  • everyone, including the most junior employee would not hesitate to take action in response to a safety concern without fear of disciplinary action or reprisal;
  • people work safely regardless of whether or not someone is watching;
  • the organization is continually learning from its own and others’ experiences with the goal of advancing safety; and
  • A strong safety culture can achieve our goal of ‘zero incidents’ from NEB regulated companies.

Our Lifecycle Responsibilities:

The NEB maintains continual regulatory oversight throughout all phases of a regulated facility:

  • Planning and application assessment
  • Construction
  • Operation
  • Deactivation / Decommissioning / Abandonment

The Board monitors and enforces compliance with requirements concerning the safety and protection of employees, the public, and the environment. Requirements include statutes and regulations, commitments made by regulated companies, terms and conditions to approvals, and other direction provided by the NEB from time to time. The Board also investigates compliance as a result of complaints, reports of high-risk activity or incidents.

The Board conducts audits, inspections, and compliance meetings to oversee companies’ management systems and system effectiveness.

The Board has a robust toolkit to obtain compliance, deter future non-compliance, and prevent harm which includes: notices of non-compliance, inspection officer orders, Board-issued safety orders, administrative monetary penalties, and revocation of a company’s authorization to operate.

Our Funding Profile:

The NEB is funded through parliamentary appropriations. The NEB (on behalf of the Government of Canada) currently recovers approximately 95 per cent of the appropriation from the regulated industry. The revenues are deposited directly into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This process is regulated by the National Energy Board Cost Recovery Regulations.Footnote 3

The Board expects to recover its fees or charges for regulating under the COGOA and CPRA once the Governor in Council makes regulations allowing it to do so pursuant to Bill C-22, the Energy Safety and Security Act. Upon the implementation of those regulations, the Board will recover 100 per cent of the parliamentary appropriation from the regulated industry.

Base-level Funding

The Board’s current base level funding is 76.8 million (Main Estimates 2015-16).

Table: Planned Expenditures (from 2015-15 Report on Plans and Priorities)

Budgetary Financial Resources
Main Estimates
Planned Spending
Planned Spending
Planned Spending
$76.8 million $77.6 million $71.6 million $59.1 million

Sunsetting Funding

The Board received temporary funds in 2012-13 to enhance NEB safety and security programs as well as public awareness. These funds will expire at the end of 2016-17. Temporary funding for two fiscal years was also received in 2014-15 to support a high level of applications and hearings workload which was re-profiled over fiscal years 2015-16 to 2017-18 with the funding expiring in 2017-18.

In addition, Budget 2015 committed $80 million over five years in for:

  • Safety and environmental protection, and
  • Enhanced engagement with Canadians in relation.

The funding will contribute to safer operation of Canada’s energy infrastructure, greater protection of the environment and increased understanding of the NEB’s regulatory role and responsibilities.

The NEB will be seeking renewal of its temporary funding through the sunsetter process.

Figure 2: NEB Appropriations Fiscal Year 2010/11 to 2018/19

Figure 2: NEB Appropriations Fiscal Year 2010/11 to 2018/19
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