NEB issues Information Advisory to all regulated companies based on findings from new audit process

News Release

Management system learnings stemming from audit reports will help prevent future incidents

November 16, 2017 – Calgary – National Energy Board

The National Energy Board (NEB) has released a series of audit reports along with an associated Information Advisory (IA) expecting all regulated companies to use the audit findings to improve their management systems. This is the first time the NEB has issued an IA making this type of request to regulated industry.

Using a newly developed focused audit process, the NEB completed nine audit reports looking at eight companies. These NEB audits focused on two management system elements:

  • Investigating and Reporting Incidents and Near-misses,
  • Inspection Measurement and Monitoring

In general, the companies audited demonstrated that they were conducting activities and identifying preventive actions required by regulations. Within the audit samples, the NEB noted some common areas for improvement such as: updating processes, enhancing training programs, improving documentation and records management. All companies audited have submitted Corrective Action Plans (CAP) to the NEB, and are already in the process of addressing the issues identified. The NEB will follow-up on all corrective actions.

The pattern of findings identified in the audits have highlighted the potential for similar issues across industry. As a result, the NEB is asking all regulated companies (not just those audited) to:

  • Review the all information in the audit reports and consider all learnings;
  • Compare the information in the audit reports against their management system; and
  • Use those findings to ensure their infrastructure meets the NEB’s regulatory requirements and consider any improvements.

This proactive measure supports our goal of zero harm to people and the environment, and supports our commitment to preventing incidents before they happen.

New focused audit process

NEB-regulated companies are expected to have a robust management system in place supported by a strong safety culture. This focused audit process takes an innovative approach to reviewing company management systems. It will enable us to take a snapshot in time, therefore mapping out a clear picture of common issues across industry.

Rather than looking at one company’s entire management system, the new protocol looks at one requirement across multiple companies – essentially using our existing compliance data in a new targeted way that puts a spotlight on any systemic problems. The goal was to create a more flexible audit process that could be completed faster, with the ability to easily trend data and compare findings. These reports are also shorter and plain language, making them more accessible to Canadians.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. It regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the public interest with safety as its primary concern. For more information on the NEB and its mandate, please visit

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“Always seeking to improve in a way that prevents harm to people and the environment is a key attribute we not only expect from regulated companies, but also ourselves. We now have a tool that provides us with the ability to proactively address potential issues faster while enhancing safety outcomes for everyone.”

Peter Watson, CEO

Quick Facts

  • The NEB has introduced a new focused audit process.

  • NEB audits offer the regulator the ability to verify compliance and reinforce the importance of companies’ management systems as the basis for improvement.

  • The goal of a focused audit is to use them to drive management system improvements across regulated companies as they relate to specific issues or trends.

  • The NEB will still continue to conduct full scale company audits, as they are necessary to assess an individual companies’ performance.

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