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Towards a Trusted and Accountable Modernized OEB

Published on
October 14, 2020

On October 1 2020, the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (MENDM) issued a mandate letter to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) setting out his expectations with respect to the OEB’s service and performance priorities for the coming year.

The mandate is largely thematic in nature, reflecting broad government priorities and those underpinning the recommendations in the October 2018 OEB Modernization Report (https://files.ontario.ca/endm-oeb-report-en-2018-10-31.pdf). The letter also sets out the Minister’s expectation that the OEB enhance its planning and responsiveness for emergency situations such as Covid-19.

It is important to note the Chair of the OEB Modernization Panel, Richard Dicerni, is now the Chair of the OEB.  The OEB’s new CEO, Susanna Zagar, led significant change in her role as Chief Strategy, Analytics & People Officer at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

The Minister has an “ambitious agenda” for a modernized OEB with a vision to have “the trust of the regulated community, the public it serves and the public representatives to which it is accountable.” The letter sets out his expectation that the OEB’s early focus be on adopting meaningful performance indicators, effective stakeholder engagement and the development of human capital plans. The OEB will be consulting with stakeholders in developing its Business Plan priorities for the 2021-24 planning period.  

There are several references in the letter and the OEB Modernization Report on the importance of stakeholder engagement:

“Stakeholder engagement is also important when it comes to setting rules and policies that incent or require certain behavior in the energy sector. The [OEB] cannot expect to succeed in its role if it does not have a clear sense of the challenges facing the sector, and developing this clear sense requires two-way communication with the regulatory community so that community concerns are understood”. (page 17, OEB Modernization Report).

Readers may also wish to review the OEB’s 2020-2021 Business Plan approved by the Minister on April 16, 2020  https://www.oeb.ca/sites/default/files/OEB-2020-2021-business-plan.pdf and the OECD’s 2014 “The Governance of Regulators, OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy” https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/9789264209015-en.pdf?expires=1602697542&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=CF092E5879000AC03A5568E0BC79673A

Please let our team know if you have any questions, or if we can help.

Read the Mandate Letter here.