National Energy Board – 2017–18 Departmental Plan

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 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 North West 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 has launched a review of the NEB’s structure, role, and mandate. This is an opportunity to strengthen the regulatory process and ensure that Canada continues to have a modern, efficient and effective regulator. The NEB is committed to supporting this review. The results of the review and resulting decisions will strongly influence future organizational plans.

To accomplish this review, the Government established an Expert Panel to engage Indigenous peoples, interested stakeholders, provinces and territories, as well as the public. The panel expects to deliver a report for the Minister of Natural Resources in 2017 with its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to modernize the NEB. This will include a summary of the input received from the public, Indigenous Peoples, provinces and territories, and any other interested group or organization.

Concurrently, as part of the comprehensive review of environmental and regulatory processes, federal environmental assessment processes are also under review. The review of environmental assessment processes concerns matters related to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. An Expert Panel announced by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change leads this review.Footnote 2 NEB staff and management have been working closely with other departments to support this review and the renewal of environmental assessment processes. A report of recommendations is due to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in 2017.

For more general information about the NEB, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report. For more information on the Minister of Natural Resources’ mandate letter, including commitments for the NEB, see the Minister’s mandate letter on the Prime Minister of Canada’s website.Footnote 3

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