Remarks prepared for NEB Chair & CEO Peter Watson and presentation and remarks of University of Calgary Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale

Innovate Now Canada Conference

Vancouver, BC

Peter Watson, Chair and Chief Executive Officer

30 October 2017


  • I’m delighted to be here today with Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale to share with you the unique collaborative effort on Data Visualization that the National Energy Board and the University of Calgary have teamed up on.
  • I’m going to talk for a few minutes about why and how regulators need to innovate.
    • And then Sheelagh will share her perspective on Data Visualization.

Why should regulators innovate?

  • So, why should regulators innovate?
  • I believe, to break down walls.
  • Being a regulator is a unique experience – we are in very privileged positions.
    • We are often described as ‘expert bodies.’
  • In fact, the NEB is described as a ‘quasi-judicial, expert body.’
  • I’ve never liked that phrase.
    • It brings forward images of barriers and walls.
  • And the NEB is not an organization with walls around it.
  • To innovate, regulators need to elbow our way out – to occupy the field.

How do regulators innovate?

  • So how does a regulator innovate?
  • Well, by challenging our traditional ‘expert’ oriented paradigm.
    • And starting to think like a member of the public.
  • By giving the public the information that we have – and they need.
    • So they can dig into the data – if they choose to – and come to their own conclusions.
    • Rather than just accepting the NEB’s word for it.
  • And I believe that when we give the public information, and let them come to their own conclusions, the public will see that the NEB is up to the task.

Public assurance

  • In Canada, the public depends on their government, and through the government, the NEB as the pipeline regulator, to provide assurance that pipelines are built and operated safely, and that people, communities and the environment are protected.
  • This responsibility demands very strong accountability mechanisms.
  • And in the past year, we have taken a much more deliberate approach to public assurance.
  • We have established a Management System that defines and describes how we will fulfill our primary role – to ensure that people and the environment are not harmed by the contents of a pipeline.
    • And that will allow us to drive performance – continual improvement in the way we work.
  • With that focus in place, we have built a Performance Framework to recognize our ambition for regulatory excellence.
  • We see this Framework as an opportunity to better report to Parliament, and to all Canadians, regarding our public assurance role, and the results we are expected to deliver.
    • In short, to be more .transparent
  • The Framework describes to the public exactly what we are doing to fulfill our mandate, and the performance indicators that we will use to measure our effectiveness.

Open data

  • Our focus on transparency, accountability and performance will help us show Canadians that we are serious about our public assurance role.
  • And this is why we have Open Data, and why we decided to go a step beyond.
  • So the NEB can provide you with access to the complex data we have, in a way that it is easy to understand.
  • If you are not familiar with the NEB, you should know we have a mass of information.
    • Pipeline safety data.
    • Supply/demand information covering all energy commodities for all provinces and territories.
    • We have analysis, reports, and statistics.
    • At times, it feels like we have an Olympic-size swimming pool full of data – just sloshing around.
    • We have a remarkable set of information – and an excellent group of economists and technical staff.
  • But we can no longer say, “Just trust us, we’re the experts.”
  • We have to be transparent, we have to report our performance,
    • and we have to ensure that the pipeline safety information and energy demand/supply data we possess is accessible to you – as members of the public.
  • And that is why the NEB teamed up with Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale and her team at the University of Calgary.

Sheelagh Carpendale

  • Now, I’m going to pass the floor to Dr. Carpendale. So she can tell you about the Data Visualization project that we believe is a truly innovative approach; helping us begin to make our safety and energy information more accessible to Canadians.
  • But before I do that, I want to mention how much Sheelagh has driven this project and how much I appreciate her vision and enthusiasm.
  • She truly is a leader in this ground breaking field of Data Visualization.
  • So Sheelagh, thank you.
  • And the floor is all yours.

Presentation and

speaking notes of

University of Calgary

Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale

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