The Provincial Government is taking another step forward to implement
the Energy Plan with legislation currently before the House of Assembly
to establish the governance and accountability structure for the
province�s energy corporation and its subsidiaries.
"We have undertaken significant analysis and engaged external
analysts to ensure our energy corporation is structured in a manner
consistent with international best practices for government-owned
corporations," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural
Resources. "We are breaking new ground in resource development and the
energy corporation will position the province as an international
player, ready and able to compete around the world."
Since 2003, the Provincial Government has taken a series of steps
towards positioning the province to have greater participation in
resource development. The energy corporation was established to pursue
energy developments on behalf of the people of the province. Amendments
to the Energy Corporation Act tabled in the House of Assembly
this week establish the public accountability process for the
corporation and its subsidiaries, provide for the creation of
subsidiaries, and protect the corporation and the Provincial Government,
to the best extent possible, from risks associated with the activities
of the subsidiaries.
"The energy corporation and its subsidiaries will remain subject to
key accountability and disclosure legislation while
commercially-sensitive information is protected," said Minister
Dunderdale. "These changes continue to ensure strong oversight while
meeting the requirements necessary for this province to be a strong
partner and participant in the global energy business. The corporation
will be subject to similar reporting requirements as companies listed on
a stock exchange."
The Office of the Auditor General will continue to have unrestricted
access and oversight to the energy corporation, its subsidiaries and all
commercially-sensitive information. It will also have to protect
commercially-sensitive information from disclosure, in carrying out its
duties. If the office has an issue which contains reference to
commercially-sensitive information and the CEO does not agree to release
then the office will report it to the Cabinet and notify the House of
Assembly of such a report. If there is an issue not related to
commercially-sensitive information, it can be disclosed to the public.
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act will
continue to apply, with a similar provision to protect
commercially-sensitive information. If an applicant has an issue with
being denied certain information, an appeal can be made to the Office of
the Information and Privacy Commissioner, who can review whether the
information meets the definition of commercially sensitive information.
If it does meet the definition, the commissioner will request the CEO
and the Board of Directors to confirm that the disclosure would
potentially harm the company. If the applicant is not satisfied
with the outcome, the applicant can pursue recourse through the courts.
The energy corporation and its subsidiaries will continue to comply
with the province�s Accountability and Transparency Act and will
be subject to specific public reporting provisions that provide greater
access to information by the public, including an open public annual
general meeting, a consolidated annual report and annual consolidated
"We are committed to openness and accountability in our operations,"
said Ed Martin, President and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and
the province�s energy corporation. "It is a principle and value in our
business and we see the importance of strong reporting and disclosure
requirements. The success of our energy business will be built on
gaining the support and trust of the people of the province as we move
forward which requires openness and accountability."
The amendments also allow the corporation and its subsidiaries, to
follow global best practices for procurement associated with large-scale
projects and to include considerations, such as the principle of
adjacency to maximize local benefits and Aboriginal interests, not
provided for in the Public Tender Act. Newfoundland and Labrador
Hydro, as a regulated utility, will continue to be subject to the
Public Tender Act.
These amendments to the Energy Corporation Act will allow the
corporation to deliver on the key goals and objectives outlined in the
Energy Plan and ensure the corporation is structured for commercial
success in competitive industries.
"We want our energy corporation and its subsidiaries to participate
fully in major energy projects and enter into agreements with its
private-sector partners on behalf of the people of the province,"
Minister Dunderdale said. "We are setting up this company and its
subsidiaries for success in the energy business � success that will
benefit all the people of the province. This is an important step in
taking control of our natural resource developments and our future."