NEB Corrective Actions in response to Office of the Auditor General Audit – Tracking Table – Fall 2015 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Oversight of Federally Regulated Pipelines

2015 Fall Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

NEB Corrective Actions in response to Office of the Auditor General Audit
Recommendation Corrective Action Start Date Expected Completion Date Actual Completion Date Comments
The National Energy Board should systematically track compliance with pipeline approval conditions and adequately document this oversight work. This documentation should include for example, notifying companies on the status of achievement of the condition.

The Board’s response. Agreed. While the National Energy Board monitors companies’ compliance with pipeline approval conditions throughout all phases of the pipeline life cycle, the Board is committed to documenting its oversight work in a more rigorous manner.

By December 2016, the Board will clarify and enhance its processes so that company compliance with pipeline approval conditions is tracked and documented more systematically. Also, staff will be trained on the updated processes by this date.

The Board assesses all filings that are made by companies in accordance with pipeline approval conditions. The Board formally notifies companies when they have satisfied a condition that requires Board approval. By December 2016, the Board will complete the analysis to determine whether formal notification to companies concerning the status of achievement of other types of conditions is appropriate, and, if so, the timing and manner of such notification. The analysis will take into account the fact that some pipeline approval conditions apply in an ongoing manner over part or all of a pipeline’s life cycle.
Review past pipeline approval conditions to ensure compliance information has been documented Nov 2015 Sep 2016 In Progress All conditions are assessed by the NEB, and NEB staff is in the process of ensuring complete and consistent documentation of this work. The NEB has reviewed the status of documentation for all project approval conditions from the past 15 years to identify areas where documentation in the electronic system requires updating. Documentation from condition files is in the process of being updated and input to the NEB’s current electronic system.
Update business processes to ensure condition compliance status is documented for all new project approvals Nov 2015 Apr 2016 COMPLETED

Dec 2015
Business processes have been revised to ensure condition status is recorded for all future projects. Revisions include work instructions that require tracking dates to be input by staff, and assignment of staff dedicated to condition tracking. As part of its system updates, the NEB will further automate and simplify these processes in future.
Determine methodology for communicating condition status Dec 2015 Sep 2016 COMPLETED

Feb 2016
Status of all conditions for all projects approved since 2010 has been provided in an on-line chart as of 22 February 2016. These will be updated on a quarterly basis or as-needed.
Communicate condition status to companies in accordance with the new process Nov 2015 Dec 2016  COMPLETED

Feb 2016
Status of all conditions for all projects approved since 2010 are viewable on-line starting 22 February 2016. Status will be updated quarterly. Additional mechanisms for communicating condition status will be considered as part of a bigger project assessing information and data needs (see below).
The National Energy Board should systematically verify that companies implement corrective actions to non-compliance situations within the required timeline. This includes notifying companies when the corrective action is satisfactory. The Board should integrate this work with needed improvements into information management systems.

The Board’s response. Agreed. The National Energy Board follows up on all identified non-compliances and tracks corrective actions taken to address non-compliances. The Board has already taken significant steps to enable the more systematic verification of corrective action implementation and is committed to continuing this work.

By June 2016, the Board will further clarify and enhance its processes applicable to corrective action follow-up, in a manner that builds upon the work the Board has already completed. The Board will also, by June 2016, clarify the consequences for companies that do not undertake corrective actions within the Board’s required timeline.

The Board communicates its expectations and requirements related to correcting non-compliances to companies in various ways, including through Board and Inspection Officer Orders. By June 2016, the Board will enhance its processes and tools so that, when appropriate, it consistently notifies companies when their corrective actions have met the Board’s requirements. Staff will be trained on updated processes.
Review and update documentation related to past non-compliances Nov  2015 Jul  2016 COMPLETED

June 2016
All outstanding non-compliances have been checked for documentation and the documentation has been updated in the electronic system.
Update processes to ensure timelines are appropriately specified for corrective actions Jun  2015 Apr  2016 COMPLETED

Aug 2015
Business processes and a new system have been developed to record timelines required for each corrective action resulting from field inspections. The NEB launched a trial version of a new electronic system for field inspectors to record all key steps in the inspection process, including a requirement to track timelines for corrective actions required of companies. Phase 1 of the project was successful and further enhancements to the system are in progress to improve ease of use and provide additional features.
Determine appropriate mechanism for notifying companies regarding status of corrective actions Aug 2015 Sep 2016  COMPLETED

Apr 2016
Phase 2 of the NEB's new system for tracking non-compliances has been completed. Companies will be proactively notified of the status of the NEB’s assessment of their corrective actions via the new system.  
Implement communication mechanism for status of corrective actions Aug 2015 Sep 2016 COMPLETED

June 2016
Phase 2 of the NEB's new system for tracking non-compliances has been completed and made operational on 23 June 2016. Status of corrective actions is now communicated to companies via the new system.
The National Energy Board should assess and address its information and data management needs. In doing so, the Board should ensure that its information and data management requirements are aligned with the needs of its critical business processes.

The Board’s response. Agreed. In 2015, the National Energy Board took important steps to modernize its systems for certain critical business processes, including the creation of its online Event Reporting System and electronic Operations Regulatory Compliance Application (ORCA). Through the development of these systems, the Board clarified its data and information needs with respect to incident reporting and inspections.

The Board will continue to build on its improvement efforts in the area of data management. In the 2016–17 fiscal year, the Board will implement the next series of steps to assess and address its information and data management needs. A more comprehensive, integrated system will better support information and data management needs for the Board’s critical business processes, such as inspection, audit, and enforcement.
Complete development of new systems to enable data and information to be collected from NEB inspections Aug 2015 Sep 2016 COMPLETED

June 2016
Field inspection reports are now posted on-line as a result of the NEB's newly developed electronic inspection report system. Phase two development of the system has been completed and was placed into operation on 23 June 2016. The new system enables efficient collection of data from field inspections.
Retain consultant to review NEB business processes and associated data management needs and recommend path forward Dec 2015 June 2016 COMPLETED

June 2016
A consultant has been retained and a review of business processes and data requirements is in progress. The review is a foundational step for further improving the NEB’s data management systems. The results of the review will be used to inform project plans for specific data system improvements beyond the improvement initiatives already in progress. The NEB has endorsed the next phase of this work which involves the development of project plan (see the following action).
Complete project plan for design and/or selection of tools that would enable efficient analysis of information from the NEB's compliance processes May 2016 Dec 2016  In Progress The NEB will create detailed project plans for data management system enhancements based upon recommendations from the consultant who has been retained to recommend a path forward.
The National Energy Board should provide the public with enhanced access to information about company compliance with pipeline approval conditions. Specifically, the National Energy Board should ensure that its website incorporates a user-centered design that the public can access and use efficiently.

The Board’s response. Agreed. The National Energy Board currently publishes key compliance and enforcement information on its website, with the goal of providing all relevant information related to its compliance and enforcement in a manner that is clear and accessible. The Board’s website also contains some information about company compliance with pipeline approval conditions and this information will be enhanced. By December 2016, the Board will begin to implement its plan to facilitate enhanced access by members of the public to information regarding the status of pipeline approval conditions. This will take place in conjunction with the Board’s commitment to clarify and enhance its processes so that company compliance with pipeline approval conditions is tracked and documented systematically and consistently.
Make NEB's Regulatory Document Index public interface more user-friendly Jan 2015 Dec 2016  In Progress The NEB has retained a business analyst and information technology developer to simplify public access to condition-related information. A project has been initiated to create a much simplified user-interface for the Regulatory Document Index that will enable the public to more easily search and find condition-related documents and many other regulatory filings held by the NEB.
Update internal business processes to facilitate posting of condition status information on-line Nov 2015 Apr 2016  COMPLETED

Feb 2016
Business processes have been updated to ensure collection of information related to status of project conditions is captured in a way that will enable status reporting.  Processes have been updated to enable reporting of condition status on-line. The status of all conditions from 2010 to present is now being posted on-line.
Develop a project to update IT systems that will facilitate more efficient posting of condition status information on-line Apr 2016 Dec 2016  Due to start in June 2016 Development of an electronic system to enable more efficient reporting of project condition status will be commenced in summer 2016. Enhancements to our current on-line table of conditions will be included in this work.
Post condition status on-line Nov 2016 Dec 2016 COMPLETED

Feb 2016
Condition status is being posted on-line as of 22 Feb 2016. The condition status table was updated on May 6th and will continue to be updated quarterly.
In preparation for its new responsibilities under the Pipeline Safety Act (coming into force by June 2016), the National Energy Board, in consultation with Natural Resources Canada, should consolidate the risks identified through its various risk assessment activities into an all hazards risk assessment to inform its emergency management plan.

The Board’s response. Agreed. Risk assessment is an integral part of the Board’s decision making and emergency management. The Board conducts a variety of risk assessment activities and is fully prepared to respond in the event of a pipeline emergency. The Board continues to assess risk in the context of its regulatory oversight role and within an integrated, whole-of-government approach.

Emergency management is a priority for the Board and, to be effective, it requires coordination between a variety of partners. The Board has proactively identified and implemented specific measures to improve not only in the areas for which it is accountable, but to exercise leadership to bring together all relevant stakeholders.

The Board welcomes the Pipeline Safety Act as it will strengthen our legislation and expand our toolkit to protect Canadians and the environment.

In the interest of continued improvement, the Board appreciates the recommendation. In connection with its other key emergency management initiatives already under way, the Board will, by June 2016, consolidate its various risk assessment activities related to its mandate into a central document and, in doing so, will consult with Natural Resources Canada as appropriate. This consolidation will explain how the Board’s risk assessment activities are integrated with other key Board emergency preparedness measures, such as its emergency response procedures.
Consolidate NEB's various risk assessment activities under its Strategic Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) Oct 2015 Jun 2016 COMPLETED

June 2016
The NEB has consolidated its risk assessment activities and has finalized the report with other federal agencies.
Be prepared to implement the updated SEMP Jan 2016 Jun 2016 COMPLETED

June 2016
The NEB is prepared to implement its updated Strategic Emergency Management Plan in advance of the coming into force of the Pipeline Safety Act. The NEB’s emergency management team and internal departmental security group have worked collaboratively to ensure appropriate development, communication and alignment of the SEMP. The NEB has trained emergency response staff in the Incident Command System. The NEB will continue with training and exercises on an ongoing basis, including continual improvement of the SEMP and the NEB’s business continuity requirements.
The National Energy Board should review its overall resource assessment and, in consultation with other relevant federal authorities where appropriate, should further explore avenues to address and resolve its challenges in the recruitment and retention of key staff.

The Board’s response. Agreed. The National Energy Board is committed to attracting, retaining, and developing highly qualified staff, and has done so through the implementation of a variety of strategies and measures that have worked to mitigate the risks associated with recruitment and retention of staff.

While challenges exist, they are not unique to the Board and are faced by other Canadian employers, including in the oil and gas industry. The Board will continue to seek constructive and flexible solutions to attract and retain highly skilled individuals and, in doing so, will consult with other relevant federal authorities where appropriate.

By April 2016, the Board will complete an updated technical capacity assessment for the engineering subset of the Engineering and Safety job family. In addition, the Board will continue to review its overall resource assessment on an ongoing basis.
Identify key/critical positions and prioritize staffing actions Apr 2015 Apr 2016 COMPLETED

Aug 2015
A staffing plan was developed to initiate the staffing of key positions in the Operations Business Unit.
Conduct staffing processes for key positions Aug 2015 Apr 2016 COMPLETED

Apr 2016
Staffing actions have been initiated for all safety and engineering positions planned in August 2015. Eighteen new staff have been hired in the safety and engineering job positions.
Assess long-term staff resource requirements in the engineering discipline of the safety and engineering job families Jan 2016 Apr 2016 COMPLETED

May 2016
An assessment of long-term needs in the engineering job family has been completed. This will help inform the NEB’s future staffing plans.
Enhance tracking of staffing results Jan 2016 Apr 2016 COMPLETED

Apr 2016
Tracking of staffing results has been enhanced to enable accurate quarterly reporting on progress.
Formalize tracking of innovative solutions implemented for the attraction and retention of key staff. Jan 2016 May 2016 COMPLETED

Apr 2016
Tracking of implemented solutions has been formalized to enable reporting on progress.