National Energy Board – 2016–17 Departmental Results Report – Operating context and key risks

Operating context

The NEB’s mandate places us squarely in the midst of some of the most important public policy debates of our time, from pipeline safety and climate change to the relationship Canada has with Indigenous Peoples. The Ministerial mandate letter signalled a shift in the policy environment and the subsequent Review of Environmental and Regulatory Processes highlighted an evolving commitment to develop modern regulatory systems and safeguards that protect the environment, support reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and ensure good projects go ahead and resources get to market sustainably.

The National Energy Board regulates over 75,000 kilometers of pipeline and transmission lines transporting approximately $100 billion worth of crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas liquids and natural gas to Canadians and export customers. It is the NEB’s job to make sure companies are doing what it takes to keep their systems safe and the environment protected. The promulgation of Pipeline Safety Act in 2016 strengthened the NEB’s legislation, increasing the Board’s jurisdiction over pipelines post-abandonment and creating company absolute liability and financial resource requirements in the case of pipeline spills, among other changes.

In early 2016, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) released an audit report which included a number of recommendations and findings that focused on improving the NEB’s documentation and data management systems, consolidating our risk assessment activities and pursing new ways to meet staffing challenges. The input from the Commissioner’s audit provided an opportunity to build on our reputation as a fact-based source for Canadian energy information, enhance our website, and develop regulatory information sharing programs.

Internally, the NEB focused on a realignment of its business structures, regulatory philosophy and approach in fulfilling our mandate. This realignment positioned the NEB to be an early adopter of the Government of Canada’s updated Policy on Results and to develop a comprehensive Departmental Results Framework (DRF) that outlines our core responsibilities, our intended outcomes and the resulting benefits to Canadians. The NEB developed a complementary Management System and Board Member Operating Model, establishing strong governance management principles and emphasizing our focus on regulatory excellence. For ease of reference, this report is framed through both our approved Program Activity Architecture of 2016–17, and our new DRF for 2017–18, and includes references to our new Core Responsibilities.

The Canadian public continues to demonstrate a keen interest in the energy industry and the safety of pipelines, as well as the environmental, and social impacts of energy development, particularly as they affect Indigenous Peoples and local resources. The need for meaningful, transparent and responsive communication and engagement with Canadians in every region of our country has never been greater. The NEB has recognized this need and has, over the past year, began to evaluate every aspect of its business to support new ways to engage over the entire lifecycle of energy regulation.

Key risks for 2016–17

Key risks for 2016–17
Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness Link to the department’s Programs Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities

Incident at a regulated company resulting in serious injury, fatality or significant environmental damage

  • All activities in Compliance Verification Plan (including inspections and audits) completed.
  • Implemented new tools enabling standardized, efficient field data collection, and facilitating faster compliance analysis and action
  • Safety Culture Framework completed and published by NEB and through industry’s “Safety First” initiative; plan for collection of baseline Safety Culture indicators developed for 2017–18.

Risk identified in the 2016–17 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP)
Strategies reduced risk exposure

Energy Regulation Program

(Core Responsibility: Safety and Environmental Oversight)

Linked to Government-wide commitment to protect the environment and keep all Canadians safe.

Inaccurate or incomplete public portrayal of NEB

  • Established an Engagement team to lead the development of a framework for lifecycle engagement with key stakeholder groups, including Indigenous Peoples and landowners.
  • Three regional offices are fully staffed and have developed regional engagement plans
  • Implemented new social media activities and tools to provide Canadians with accurate, timely and relevant energy information

Risk identified in the 2016–17 RPP
Strategies reduced risk exposure

Energy Regulation Program

Energy Information Program

(Core Responsibilities: Energy Information and Engagement)

Linked to the Minister of Natural Resources Mandate letter to provide ways for Canadians and Indigenous Peoples to express their views and participate meaningfully in oversight of resource development projects.

Alignment of Information Technology/ Information Management (IT/IM) plans and business strategies

  • Piloted an Information Management and Architecture portfolio management process, focused on capacity planning and annual budget plans.
  • Established a Data Management Committee of executives and Chief Information Officer to provide oversight and guidance on data management.

Risk identified in the 2016–17 RPP

Strategies reduced risk exposure

Energy Regulation Program

Internal Services

Linked to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Management Accountability Framework and the TBS Directive on Open Government

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