Introduction: The Evolving Role of the Ontario Energy Board

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is the independent economic regulator of Ontario's energy sector; its core purpose is to regulate Ontario's energy utilities in the public interest. The OEB is empowered by statute to (among other things) set rates for regulated entities, license market participants, review/approve consolidations, and grant leave-to-construct applications. The OEB undertakes its role primarily through quasi-judicial processes, reviewing utility applications through formal hearings and issuing legally binding orders.

Over the past 20 years, in addition to receiving jurisdiction over the electricity sector, the OEB has experienced significant changes in both its mandate and its required operations. These include:

  • Balancing regulatory independence with responding to an increasing number of government directives;
  • Taking on increased consumer protection responsibilities; and
  • Delivering assistance programs such as the Ontario Electricity Support Program.

This mandate expansion was accompanied by extensive institutional changes:

  • In 2003, the OEB became a self-financing government agency with a corporate governance structure led by the Chair/CEO and the Management Committee.
  • The OEB's operating expenses have grown, from $24.5M in 2004-05 to $43.8M in 2017-18.
  • The OEB's approach to adjudication has changed: the OEB now makes greater use of part-time Board Members and has increased the range of matters that are delegated to staff for decision-making.footnote 1

It is within this context of change that the OEB Modernization Review Panel (the Panel) was commissioned. The Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines tasked the Panel with providing advice on opportunities to strengthen the governance and operational framework of the OEB in ways that increase the confidence of the regulatory community.footnote 2 This Report outlines the process the Panel used to undertake its review, and its recommendations for opportunities to enhance regulatory excellence in the OEB's governance and operations.


  • footnote[1] Back to paragraph Fiscal Year 2008-09: 315 Decisions issued – 117 by Board Members, 198 by delegated staff. Fiscal Year 2017-18: 323 Decisions issued – 61 by Board Members, 262 by delegated staff. Information provided by OEB September 2018
  • footnote[2] Back to paragraph Appendix A: Terms of Reference; the Panel defines "regulatory community" as those who participate in OEB processes, including regulated utilities, intervenors, and others who have an interest in the work of the OEB.