The AER serves as the single regulator of energy development in Alberta. In 2014, not content to simply “regulate as usual,” our leadership committed the organization to deliver and sustain a high level of public value—in short, achieve “regulatory excellence.” But what did this mean?
The initiative was about more than about simply receiving a title of “excellent.” It was about becoming a regulator that continually improves our work, builds strong relationships, and leads the next era in energy regulation.
What We Learned
After a lot of research—along with conversations with stakeholders across Alberta—we learned that in order to achieve regulatory excellence, we must
- be more open and transparent;
- better explain how decisions are made and the reasons for our decisions;
- improve our relationships with Albertans, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders;
- clarify our internal processes and priorities, including employee roles and responsibilities; and
- ensure that our employees have the skills and tools they need to carry out their responsibilities.
In short, we need to have three key attributes— utmost integrity, stellar competence, and empathic engagement. If we can embody these attributes of regulatory excellence, we can ensure that we are a strong, fair, transparent, and inclusive regulator that delivers measurable outcomes for this province.
Learn more about this initiative, the attributes of regulatory excellence, and how they guide us as Alberta’s energy regulator in The Alberta Model for Regulatory Excellence, published in April 2016.
Our Strategic Plan
Following our launch in 2013, we released a strategic plan with a vision of becoming an excellent regulator. In spring of 2018, we developed a strategic plan that
- integrates the attributes of regulatory excellence—utmost integrity, stellar competence, and empathic engagement—into all of our work;
- sets clear outcomes and measures; and
- ensures that we continue to protect what matters to Albertans: public safety, the environment, and the economic value of Alberta’s resources.
As part of this strategic plan, we will continue to work with our employees; Albertans, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders; and the international community to embody regulatory excellence in all that we do.
Background: How We Developed Our Model of Regulatory Excellence
In November 2014, we sought to uncover the key attributes of an excellent regulator. We wanted to adopt whatever we would find and learn how to measure our journey to excellence. But first, what did “excellence” look like? We needed an expert opinion. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s internationally renowned Penn Program on Regulation (PPR) helped us answer this question.
In fall 2015, the PPR released a peer-reviewed report entitled Listening, Learning, and Leading: A Framework for Regulatory Excellence. This framework provided a general model of excellence—one that had to be adapted to reflect the unique work of different regulators.
We brought PPR’s findings back to Alberta and met with Albertans, indigenous people, other stakeholders, and our employees. We asked for their honest feedback: How were we performing against the framework? Where could we improve? We knew this feedback was valuable and would help us develop a made-in-Alberta model of regulatory excellence.
We summarized the feedback we received in a report titled What We Heard. Generally, we learned that our model needed to reflect Alberta’s unique circumstances. We heard loud and clear that to achieve excellence, we needed to measure our performance and clearly deliver on outcomes. The What We Heard report also describes how we changed The Alberta Model for Regulatory Excellence as a result of our stakeholders’ feedback.