This July, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced one year reappointments of two members, Vice-Chair Gord Kaiser and Member of the Board Paul Sommerville. Through its terms of reappointment, the Ontario government has now positioned the OEB so that five of the seven full-time members can be replaced by September 2010.
The OEB’s mandating legislation allows the government to reappoint members of the board for terms of office of up to five years. Traditionally, longer terms have been common, encouraging the stability of OEB regulatory processes, continuity of expertise within the organization, and employment planning by appointees. Staggered terms of service are important measures for the proper governance of agencies like the OEB.
The McGuinty government’s exercise of control represented by the short, non-staggered terms of service for members of the OEB is consistent with the McGuinty government’s initiatives granting itself an expanding range of Ministerial directive powers over the board, most recently through the Green Energy Act.
Ontario’s traditions of independent energy regulation, which have served the province well, have suffered another setback.