CALGARY, AB April 10, 2017 – Unresolved political questions such as climate and Indigenous policy that have seeped into the National Energy Board (NEB) process are hampering the regulator’s ability to do its job effectively, a new Canada West Foundation report says.
The NEB has been caught in the crossfire of fierce energy, environment and Indigenous debates – which have damaged public opinion about the regulator’s ability to do its job. Before it can become a modern, effective regulator, the NEB must first address concerns about its legitimacy and whether Canadians trust it to make major energy decisions, states Up Front: Modernizing the National Energy Board.
“It is important not to make too much of diminished trust in the NEB,” said report author Trevor McLeod, Director of the Natural Resources Centre at the Foundation. “There is a lack of trust in institutions globally – including government, industry, media and NGOs.
“But, there is definitely room for the regulator to improve.”
Up Front was also submitted to the National Energy Board Modernization Expert Panel. The panel is tasked by the Trudeau government to look for ways to make the NEB more “modern, efficient and effective.”
The report provides several recommendations to enhance the NEB’s legitimacy and help it rebuild trust, including:
• Adopt a two-part review process that separates the political decision from the regulatory one – and puts the political decision up front.
• Important climate policy decisions should not be made by the NEB.
• NEB staff should improve engagement in local communities.
• NEB panel members should remain above the fray – and avoid turning into competing experts.
• The NEB’s energy information function should be housed in a separate federal body such as Statistics Canada.