NEB’s regulatory framework

NEB’s regulatory framework

Issue: The National Energy Board’s regulatory framework

NEB’s regulatory framework [PDF 1879 KB]

Components of the Framework

The National Energy Board’s (NEB or Board) regulatory framework is made of laws passed by parliament that establish our mandate, as well as requirements set out in regulations and other regulatory tools like orders and certificates, and guidance intended to provide clarity on means of achieving compliance. The NEB’s compliance verification and enforcement activities support this framework and are used to promote safety and environmental protection.

Evolution of the Framework

As an organization dedicated to continual improvement, our regulatory framework evolves over time to reflect technological developments, advances in environmental and behavioural science, as well as to incorporate lessons learned as a regulator (from our own experience and that of other regulators, both within our own industry and other high hazard industries such as the nuclear and aviation sectors).

The framework also needs to be responsive to the changing public interest and the expectations of Canadians, the industry we regulate and of Parliamentarians. We must be able to adapt the regulatory tools within our mandate, based on feedback we receive. We encourage the public to provide specific feedback on the various components of our regulatory framework at any time, by sending an email to

The NEB has a program to systematically and strategically review, update and develop its regulations over time. We provide information on our website on planned regulatory improvement initiatives that we expect to bring forward over the next two years.

Evolution of the Framework

Evolution of the Framework

Principles Guiding the Framework

It is essential that we clearly articulate the purpose of all regulatory requirements and actions that we require of regulated companies. For this reason, NEB regulation is focused on outcomes. Our regulations, conditions and guidance start by defining the safety and security, environmental protection and economic efficiency outcomes (or performance objectives) to be achieved.

This approach requires regulated companies to determine the means to achieve the outcomes to effectively manage risk, and encourages innovation and the use of the most appropriate technology. In so doing, it also provides an opportunity to shift the focus of regulation away from meeting minimum standards of performance, and rather, drive improvements in industry performance as a whole.

This is not to say that the NEB does not prescribe any detailed requirements; we do and we set the necessary management methods (plans, programs and systems), operational standards and reporting requirements to achieve the desired outcomes.

This regulatory approach can be characterized as a hybrid of both performance-based and prescriptive regulation.

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