Canada: Implementing The Province's Long-Term Energy Plan: 3 Things To Bear In Mind

In July 2016, Ontario's Liberal government amended the Electricity Act to (finally) dismantle the previous "Integrated Power System Plan" (IPSP) promulgation and public review mechanism. Despite having been in place for several years, that mechanism had never been fully implemented. The IPSP mechanism was formally replaced with a new energy planning regime under which:

  1. The Minister of Energy publishes a Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), and issues directives to each of the OEB and the IESO "setting out the Government of Ontario's requirements respecting the implementation of the [LTEP]"; and
  2. Each of the OEB and the IESO are required to formulate and submit for Ministerial approval Implementation Plans "containing an outline of the steps [they] intend to take to meet the requirements set out in the directive".

The government also amended the OEB's objectives under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEB Act) adding a prescription that the OEB "in exercising its power and performing its duties...shall be guided by the objective of facilitating the implementation of any accordance with the implementation plans submitted by the Board and approved" by the Minister.

The LTEP issued in October 2017 is the first provincial energy plan to proceed under this new model. The Energy Minister's implementation plan directive to the OEB was also issued in October, 2017, requiring the OEB to submit an Implementation Plan for the 2017 LTEP no later than January 31st. The OEB's Implementation Plan was transmitted to the Energy Minister on January 31st, and published on February 21st. Presumably publication of the Implementation Plan indicates that the Minister has accepted that plan. The OEB's Implementation Plan details, in 41 pages, "the steps that the OEB intends to take to implement the goals and objectives set out in [the 2017 LTEP] in respect of matters falling within the OEB's jurisdiction".

This commentary does not address the nature or advisability of the governance structure under which the government makes energy plans, and then has the authority to accept, or reject, the implementation plans which Ontario's independent regulatory and market operation agencies are required to develop in response. Rather, this commentary offers three observations that, it is respectfully suggested, the government, the OEB, and the province's energy stakeholders should bear in mind as the OEB proceeds to carry out its ministerially-approved plan.

First, it should not be the OEB's primary function to implement the goals and objectives of the Ontario government. The OEB's primary function is to regulate Ontario's energy sector participants "in the public interest". While there is no definitive definition of "the public interest", and the term is not likely capable of static definition in any event, from the perspective of robust and independent energy regulation "the public interest" is not synonymous with government policy. It could legitimately be argued that government policy reflects aspects of the "public interest", there is more to the regulatory concept of "regulating in the public interest" than simply implementing the government policy of the day. While the independent utility regulator is legitimately and appropriately guided by government policy, and perhaps is even justified in facilitating the implementation of such policy (or, at least not hampering such implementation), there is much more to effective utility regulation than that. The OEB should not be considered, nor with great respect should it allow itself to be considered, merely an implementation agent acting at the behest of the government or Minister of the day. The independence of regulatory activity in the energy sector is too important for the veracity and acceptability of regulatory outcomes, and must not only be preserved but must be seen to be preserved.

Second, the OEB's Implementation Plan details an ambitious regulatory policy development agenda for the next three years. In prioritizing and resourcing the initiatives described in the plan, it would be prudent for the OEB to keep one eye steadily on its day-to-day regulatory work. There are already concerns in the sector about regulatory backlog and delay. Addressing these concerns should remain a priority for the regulator if confidence in its ability to effectively regulate the sector is to be maintained. Planning for the future at the expense of implementing in the present will not help.

Third, the LTEP implementation work that is undertaken by the OEB in the coming years should not be undertaken behind closed doors. As already noted the Implementation Plan includes a number of study initiatives, as the OEB continues to assess a rapidly evolving energy services industry and how best to respond to that evolution from a regulatory point of view. All of that study provides an excellent opportunity for the OEB to build confidence in a balanced and independent regulatory approach by bringing its stakeholders along with it in its learning. By sharing its knowledge as it is accumulated, and seeking input along the way from those which it regulates and those representing the interests on whose behalf it regulates (energy consumers and environmental interests), the OEB can foster both optimal regulatory outcomes and the acceptability of those outcomes by the actors in the sector which it oversees. Studies should be scoped with input from knowledgeable and experienced energy sector participants, and should be shaped and finalized with feedback and input from those whose interests will ultimately be affected by the OEB's future direction and determinations. Should the OEB take counsel from industry experts, it would be appropriate to invite interested stakeholders in to also hear, and benefit from, that counsel.

Judiciously implemented, the OEB's 2017 LTEP Implementation Plan offers an opportunity to enhance confidence in Ontario's independent energy regulator by both the regulated sector and the public in whose interests that sector is regulated. Keeping government energy policy in its appropriate perspective, balancing important policy work with important day to day regulatory activity, and including the regulated sector and representatives of stakeholders on whose behalf the sector is regulated in learnings along the way, will all contribute to an implementation program that ultimately betters the regulatory process, regulatory outcomes, and the acceptability of both.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions