27 Apr Update on the Alberta Energy Regulator’s Best-in-Class Initiative
Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to participate in the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)’s Best-in-Class Initiative. This initiative is being conducted by the University of Pennsylvania through its Penn Program on Regulation to develop the tools and framework necessary for the AER to become a best-in-class regulator. It will generate a framework for identifying and achieving important organizational, legal, policy, and deliberative responsibilities facing the AER (and other regulators) and enable the AER to measure and track its performance against best-in-class attributes.
Over the course of the three day workshop and dialogue, several characteristics repeatedly emerged as being essential to a best-in-class regulator:
- A best-in-class regulator must operate in a transparent fashion. This includes providing easy access to information (and information being presented in an understandable format) and clarity around decision-making.
- A best-in-class regulator must effectively engage with stakeholders and the public. This requires active engagement, understanding of different perspectives and open communication.
- A best-in-class regulator must be fair and credible. Integral to this characteristic is a regulator that is independent from government.
In addition to these characteristics, it was repeatedly expressed that a best-in-class regulator needs to operate within a best-in-class regulatory system. The regulatory system must provide clear environmental objectives and policy direction for the regulator and industry. In the event that environmental objectives or policy are lacking, a best-in-class regulator will work to have these established. In our view, it is essential that there be a forum to engage stakeholders and the public in setting environmental objectives and policy. Recognizing that, as regulator for Alberta’s energy industry, the AER plays a central role in the protection of our natural resources and environment, it is incredibly important that we have a transparent and accountable regulator.
We are encouraged that the AER is seeking to become a best-in-class regulator and look forward to the outcome of this initiative. If you are interested in this initiative, more information can be found at The Penn Program on Regulation website. As well, submissions can be made by the general public at firstname.lastname@example.org.