Interpretation Policy

An interpretation policy is an overarching document that outlines the commitments, practices, and tools to be applied by a department or agency when providing Canadians and businesses with information and guidance on regulatory obligations to be met. It also identifies the conditions under which written responses to questions will be provided.

Departmental Context

The National Energy Board (NEB) is an independent federal regulator established in 1959 by the Parliament of Canada to regulate international and interprovincial aspects of the oil, gas and electric utility industries. The purpose of the NEB is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. The NEB is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources Canada.

The NEB is committed to providing clear and up-to-date information to help stakeholders understand their regulatory obligations. This policy describes the NEB’s commitments in the areas of Predictability, Service, Stakeholder Engagement, and Improvement.

Predictability

Plain Language Commitment

The NEB is committed to providing Canadians with clear information, written in plain language whenever possible.

The NEB has developed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for their most accessed regulations and is committed to the publication of FAQs for all new or amended regulations that have business impacts.

Providing Guidance and Building Awareness

The NEB clarifies its expectations and provides guidance on how to meet regulatory requirements in documents such as the Filing Manual, regulatory guidance, policies, protocols, and FAQs.

Responding to Questions

The NEB responds to stakeholder questions about regulatory requirements in a timely, accurate, and helpful manner. In general, responses are offered in the form that inquiries are made, whether verbally or in writing.

Common/frequent inquiries may be responded to through FAQs.

The NEB does not provide legal advice about how specific regulations may apply to particular circumstances.

The NEB will endeavor to acknowledge receipt of all written requests for interpretation within 2 business days.

Service

Service Commitment

The NEB is committed to delivering professional and courteous[1] responses to stakeholder enquiries about how to meet their regulatory requirements.

Service Accountability

If stakeholders are not satisfied with the guidance they have received from NEB staff on how to meet their regulatory obligations, they should begin by contacting the staff member to see if it is possible for them to clarify or amplify the guidance. If unresolved, stakeholders may contact the staff member’s supervisor. 

Staff Training

The NEB commits to ensuring that staff responding to enquiries have the necessary skills and technical knowledge to provide quality service and accurate information on regulatory requirements.

Stakeholder Engagement

Commitment to Stakeholder Engagement

The NEB is committed to meaningful engagement with stakeholders throughout the development and implementation of its regulations and regulatory documents.

Stakeholder Engagement Practices

Consultation with the public, regulated companies and other stakeholders is an integral component of developing the NEB’s regulatory framework. The NEB holds public consultations to seek input on its new or updated regulatory documents. Meetings and workshops may also be organized to engage stakeholders and solicit feedback on the development of regulations and guidance. In cases where the NEB proposes to exercise its authority in a new area or in a new way, discussion papers are often used to encourage stakeholder engagement early in the process. Additionally, the NEB regularly participates in outreach sessions, workshops, conferences and meetings which provide opportunities to clarify requirements for regulated companies and to respond to issues.

Stakeholders are notified of consultation opportunities through the NEB’s email distribution list, NEB website, NEB Twitter account, and publications in the Canada Gazette.

Improvement

The NEB sought feedback from stakeholders from February 2nd-28th on its current interpretation practices and did not receive any comments on this issue. This feedback was to form the basis of an Interpretation Improvement Plan. In an effort to continually hear from our stakeholders, the NEB will continue to seek feedback in order to compile a substantive pool of comments. Please provide any comments you may have to info@neb-one.gc.ca, noting in the subject line that this is related to the “Interpretation Policy”. The NEB considers all feedback received and will identify and publish its plans for improvement, as needed. These improvements will be implemented over the following two years. An update on these improvements will be made available by March 31, 2017.

References

[1] Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

Date modified: