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New Ontario Energy Board Chief Executive Officer, Board of Directors and Commissioner Announced

Published on
July 14, 2020

This morning the Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, the Honourable Greg Rickford, announced the intention to recommend Susanna Zagar for appointment as the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) new Chief Executive Officer, and Lynne Anderson for appointment as the OEB’s Chief Commissioner. These appointments will take effect this fall with the anticipated proclamation of amendments under Schedule 2 of the Fixing the Hydro Mess Act, 2019.

The formal announcement can be found here.

The government has also formally announced the OEB’s newly established Board of Directors to take effect when the new governance structure comes into force:

  • Richard Discerni, Chair (previously announced)
  • John Knubley – Current president of InnovAction Advisory Services Inc. and a former Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
  • Gerald Moncrief – Previous owner and president/vice president of Moncrief Construction Limited and a current Build Committee member for the Lake of the Woods Museum and Arts Centre
  • Glenn O’Farrell – Served as the CEO at Ombudservice for Life and Health Insurance, Groupe Média TFO, and Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
  • Marie Oswald – Previously served as Director and Chair of the Board at Oakville Enterprises Corporation and Oakville Hydro Electricity Distribution Inc., and was Director of Compliance and Field Supervision, Canada, for Edward Jones.

In addition, the government intends to appoint former OEB Board member Allison Duff as a new Commissioner. The OEB Commissioners are adjudicatory roles that larger replace that of the former “Board Member.”  As the appointments of existing Board members expire, new Commissioners will be appointed.  That said, all existing Board members are now officially Board Commissioners in both role and function. A list of existing Board members can be found here.

The provincial Legislature passed Bill 87, Fixing the Hydro Mess Act in May 2019. As part of this legislation, the province amended the Ontario Energy Board Act to reform the governance structure of the OEB and address immediate opportunities for improvement.

The amendments, once fully in effect with the proclamation of the Act:

  • Establish a new governance structure, including a board of directors and a CEO, and better separate the OEB's management, administration, and adjudication responsibilities.
  • Streamline processes by amending the OEB's consumer education objective and reducing duplicate responsibilities in transmission procurement between the OEB and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
  • Promote efficiency and reduce the regulatory burden by requiring the OEB to report annually on its efforts to simplify regulations for the energy sector.

Previous to her appointment, Susanna was the Chief Strategy, Analytics and People Officer at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). She had C-Suite accountability for enterprise strategy and execution and joined the WSIB to “be an agent of change and drive the necessary modernization of the organization.” Over time, she also assumed responsibility for business analytics, public reporting, policy development, change management, human resources, public affairs, communications and health & safety.

A pertinent quote from Susanna’s LinkedIn profile is the following: “Strategy, transformation, people and partnerships have always been my priority as I have pursued evidence based decision making to sharpen organizational focus and deliver public value to the people of Ontario. My role is both broad and deep and it allows me to drive change and change lives every single day.”

Prior to her time with the WSIB, Susanna was Associate Deputy Minister (ADM), Infrastructure (Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure 2008-2010). At the time, she was tasked with leading the government’s public infrastructure renewal programs, provincial real estate portfolio management and the capital planning component of the Ontario Budget. In addition, she also helped lead the negotiation of multilateral agreements with Federal, Municipal and Indigenous governments, an innovative new infrastructure proposal intake model and accompanying public affairs and stakeholder consultation process to enable transparency and public accountability. Susannah has also served as an ADM with the Ministry of Labour (2000-2008).

Susanna is a member of the “Campaign Cabinet” for the Greater Toronto United Way, member of the Board of Governors for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and Board Chair (Toronto Regional Group) of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

Lynne has extensive experience at the OEB and was most recently a full-time OEB Board Member. She also served as the OEB's Vice President of Applications for nearly seven years. She previously served as Hydro Ottawa's Chief Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations Officer. If her appointment as Chief Commissioner is approved, Ms. Anderson would be responsible for the OEB's adjudicative function and will establish panels of Commissioners to preside over rate, facility, utility consolidation and other applications and enforcement matters.

The Sussex Energy & Environment team welcomes this announcement, and believes that it supports at least two objectives for the Minister and greater government:

  1. Change management – leadership who understands, appreciates and has experience with the value of institutional change, regulatory reform and the “new OEB” desired by government since they came to office.
  2. Greater respect, appreciation and alignment with current public policy and the workings of government while supporting greater independence – an agency or body of government that can be trusted to act at true arms-length from government.
    Sussex continues to monitor this as well as pandemic-related impacts and changes to Ontario’s energy sector.

Sussex continues to monitor this as well as pandemic-related impacts and changes to Ontario’s energy sector.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of the Energy and Environment Practice should you have any questions about this announcement or any other matter.

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