The Canada Energy Regulator and ESG – Purpose of research


Toronto skyline at night, from the water

Why explore the CER’s potential role in ESG?

The CER promotes safety and security, environmental protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian public interest. The CER implements its mandate through its regulatory framework,Footnote 25 which includes applicable acts, regulations, guidance materials, documents, certificates, orders, conditions, and other regulatory instruments used to regulate the energy industry.

The CER is exploring its role within the ESG arena because it recognizes the overlap between ESG factors and the CER’s regulatory oversight. The CER also sees the potential competitiveness implications of ESG performance on the Canadian energy sector and the increasing impact of ESG on CER-regulated companies. Many of the companies the CER regulates own and/or operate interprovincial or international pipelines.

As of December 2021, about half of CER-regulated pipeline companies and two-thirds of major regulated electricity transmission companies disclose ESG information.Footnote 26

  • Group 1 companies were more likely to produce ESG reports than Group 2 companies: 80% of Group 1 companies compared with 47% of Group 2 companies.Footnote 27
  • Among publicly traded pipeline companies, 70% of companies produced ESG reports or provided metrics on their website, whereas only 19% of privately held companies did so, and 50% of Crown corporations.
  • Among companies that operate major international power transmission lines, 73% provided some public ESG metrics.
  • Like pipeline companies, ownership structure made a difference in electricity transmission companies. None of the three private companies sampled produced an ESG report, but all five publicly traded companies and six of the seven Crown corporations did.

Scope of analysis

The CER has analyzed the potential impacts of ESG on its mandate and activities, and the differences between the CER and ESG approaches to key topics. As part of this work, the CER commissioned the Canada West Foundation (CWF) to conduct research into ESG and its implications for the CER.Footnote 28

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