Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report ““ Part 56: More Behind Closed Doors OEB Appointments

In a return to the historic practice of appointing OEB members without any transparent review process, the McGuinty government has appointed two new part-time Board Members, effective February 1, 2013, each for a two-year term. Public notice of these appointments was after their effective date.

The new appointees, with their official bios are:

Allison Duff, M.A., B. Comm., CMA, PMP

Allison is an independent consultant and former banking executive. She is also a Certified Management Accountant with an M.A. in Economics. As a former staff member of the OEB, Allison has extensive regulatory experience. In her capacity as a consultant, Allison has previously appeared before the Board on behalf of the Consumers Council of Canada.

Peter Noonan, L.L.B., B.A.

Peter Noonan is an Ottawa-based lawyer with a distinguished career in the energy, environment and transportation sectors. As former Counsel at the National Energy Board, Peter has appeared in various regulatory proceedings. While at the Department of Justice, Peter developed extensive expertise and experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) related to Crown and aboriginal relationships.

In June of 2012, after years of criticism over the lack of transparency in the OEB appointments process, the first slate of new candidates for appointment appeared before the Ontario Standing Committee on Government Agencies for review. I reported on this welcome precedent here.

Unfortunately, the government immediately departed from this beneficial innovation in the subsequent appointment of Christine Long, a lawyer with a practice serving FIT generators.

This is the first time to my knowledge that the Board complement aside from the Chair has a majority of part-timers. I have previously commented that the trend toward part-timers weakens the Board by shifting the balance of power in favour of the Chair. With more part-timers, the Board’s administration and decision making is likely to become less diversified.

The new appointments fail to fill the statutory gap requiring two vice chairs. I have previously commented that the government’s failure to provide the Board with the full vice chair complement weakens the Board. Like the shift toward part-timers, the lack of a second vice chair shifts power in favour of the Chair.

Post Script and Correction (April 8, 2013 2:30): The original post, presented unchanged above, incorrectly states that Christine Long was appointed after the three candidates whose appointments were reviewed by a committee of the Legislature. That statement was incorrect. Long was appointed 2012 June 13 and the three reviewed appointments were effective 2012 June 20.


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