Canadian Energy Regulator officially replaces NEB, iPolitics

By Marco Vigliotti • Published on Aug 28, 2019 6:00am

(Gina Dittmer via Public Domain Pictures)

After some 60 years, the National Energy Board is officially no more. 

At 12:01 a.m. (Eastern time) today, the regulatory body that oversaw interprovincial and international energy infrastructure like oil and gas pipelines and power lines was officially replaced by the new Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), as demanded under contentious legislation passed by Parliament in June, known as Bill C-69. 

Like its predecessor, the CER is also based in Calgary, though will also have regional offices in Vancouver, to cover the pacific region; Yellowknife, for the northern region; and finally, Montreal for the eastern region, according to spokesperson Rebecca Taylor.

She told iPolitics there would be no staff layoffs as a result of the changeover, though the tenures of the NEB’s previous board members ended as of midnight on Aug. 27.

The CER’s new board of directors, headed by a chair, will provide “strategic oversight,” while an independent commission will be responsible for “adjudicating projects and overseeing infrastructure activities,” according to Taylor.

She said the organization’s CEO, separate from the board of directors and the commission, is “accountable for leading the organization and delivering results.”

Under new regulatory rules brought in by the Liberals, the CER will wholly review all so-called small projects, such as pipeline projects less than 40 kilometres, with a full impact assessment having to be completed within 10 months. Medium-sized projects, which include pipelines of more than 40 kilometres but less than 75 kilometres of new right-of-way, must be reviewed by CER, go through a full impact assessment within 15 months and then need to be approved by the federal cabinet.

Finally, the largest projects must go through what the government calls an “integrated review process” led by the new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, with the support of the CER. These projects also need to be approved by cabinet. Large projects include pipelines with more than 75 kilometres of new right-of-way. 

The organization is governed by the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, which was part of C-69.

As iPolitics reported on Tuesday, the commission, which is a court of record responsible for making independent adjudicative decisions and recommendations, is headed by lead commissioner Damien Côté and deputy lead commissioner Kathy C. Penney. The other commissioners are Trena L. Grimoldby, Wilma M. Jacknife, Stephania P. Luciuk and Mark Watton.

The CER’s board of directors consist of chairperson Catherine Doyle and directors George Vegh, Alain Jolicoeur, Ellen Barry and Melanie Debassige.

*This story has been corrected to note the lead commissioner is Damien Côté.