What influences our Regulatory Framework

Comments and Suggestions

The CER welcomes feedback on the content of the Regulatory Framework at any time.

The right-hand side of the graphic details the key parts of our Regulatory Framework that shape how we execute our mandate. This is our policy context which includes Government of Canada policies, governance, strategic priorities and regulatory approaches. Each is described in the tabs below.

The Regulatory Framework is represented by a circle. The centre of the circle contains the word acts. Around the right side are tabs with tools we use to regulate. Around the left side are buttons for our policy context.

Graphic Description

The CER Regulatory Framework is represented by a circle graphic. The center of the circle contains the word ‘Acts’ around which the circle works, as depicted by arrows running clockwise. Acts are laws passed by Parliament that establish the CER’s mandate. We consider this to be the heart of the Regulatory Framework.

The right-hand side of the circle identifies our policy context (from top to bottom: Government of Canada policies, CER governance, strategic priorities and regulatory approaches.

Policy Context

We align with priorities established by the Government of Canada, under the portfolio responsibility of the Minister of Natural Resources. We adhere to directives set by central agencies, such as the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.


Minister of Natural Resources: Is the primary government authority with respect to the CER. The Mandate Letters prepared by the Prime Minister of Canada to their Cabinet include instructions to the Minister of Natural Resources that relate to areas of responsibility for the CER. The Minister is not involved in our daily operations.

We are governed through a structure with defined accountabilities for our Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Commission and Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Board of Directors: Our Board of Directors oversees the CER at the level of governance, and strategic advice and direction. It is focused on results and outcomes. The Board of Directors does not normally engage in routine operations, which are the purview of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Board of Directors reviews and provides strategic advice on the Regulatory Framework Plan annually, provides direction on projects to improve the Regulatory Framework, and approves most regulations developed by the CER.

Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC): As part of our governance structure, the IAC provides advice to the Board of Directors on how the CER can renew relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The IAC plays a key role in enhancing the involvement of Indigenous Peoples and organizations in respect of CER-regulated infrastructure and other matters.

The IAC provides strategic advice to the Board of Directors on certain projects to improve the Regulatory Framework.

Commission: The Commission makes regulatory decisions and recommendations as set out in the CER Act and other legislation. Specifically, when it assesses applications, the Commission ensures adherence to the purpose and provisions of the CER Act, s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, Part III of the Official Languages Act, the rules of natural justice, and other applicable legislation and binding policy direction.

The Commission makes decisions and recommendations independently. The CER Act provides a clear separation between the operational and adjudicative functions.

Except for a few instruments delegated to other officers, the Commission issues most regulatory documents used to regulate energy projects in our jurisdiction, as well as oversees the content of filing guidance.

CEO: The CEO is responsible for the management, daily operations and affairs including the supervision of its employees and their work, and has all the responsibilities of a deputy head.

The CEO approves the Regulatory Framework Plan, projects to improve the Regulatory Framework, and directs efforts of staff involved in Regulatory Framework improvement.

For more detailed information please see ‘Who we are and what we do’ and the publication Governance of the Canada Energy Regulator – Mandate, Roles and Responsibilities.

Strategic Priorities

Guided by the Board of Directors, we produce a Strategic Plan that provides our areas of focus and improvement. It is a road map of what Canadians can expect from us in the years ahead.

Regulatory Approaches

We are deliberate about how we act as a regulator. Guided by sound philosophies, we:

  • serve as a fair and impartial decision-maker on energy infrastructure projects within our mandate through our Commission;
  • apply risk-based approaches to project reviews and compliance verification activities;
  • apply a lens of harm prevention;
  • respond with enforcement that is appropriate and proportionate;
  • encourage innovation through performance-based regulation, applying prescriptive rules as needed and being careful to minimize administrative burden for all involved;
  • apply our technical expertise to influence the sector;
  • focus on data-driven, risk-informed methods to do our work so we can measure, report on and take action to improve performance;
  • involve Indigenous Peoples in the exercise of our mandate; and
  • commit to advancing Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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