National Energy Board – 2016–17 Departmental Results Report – Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. It regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the public interest with safety as its primary concern. The Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for this organization.

Mandate and role

The NEB regulates under the National Energy Board (NEB) Act, among other things, the construction, operation and abandonment of pipelines that cross provincial or international borders, international power lines and designated interprovincial power lines, imports of natural gas and exports of crude oil, natural gas liquids, natural gas, refined petroleum products, and electricity. The NEB is also charged with providing timely, accurate and objective information and advice on energy matters.

Additionally, in specified areasFootnote 1 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 thorough, science-based environmental assessments during its review of all applications for projects under its jurisdiction. For certain projects, the Board also conducts environmental assessments as required by federal legislation, such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (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 NEB also monitors aspects of energy supply, demand, production, development and trade.

The NEB reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources.

NEB Modernization

The Minister of Natural Resources has been mandated by the Prime Minister to modernize the NEB and to ensure its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in such fields as environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

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. To accomplish this review, the Government established an Expert Panel to engage Indigenous Peoples, interested stakeholders, provinces and territories, as well as the public. As part of the comprehensive review of environmental and regulatory processes, federal environmental assessment processes were also examined. NEB staff and management worked closely with other departments to support this review and the renewal of environmental assessment processes.

For more general information about the National Energy Board, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report. For more information on Natural Resources Canada’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letter.

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