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Research Case Study: Policy Development Consultation Process Review

The Challenge

The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province’s electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest, with a mandate to allow consumers, suppliers and others to provide advice and recommendations.

The OEB 2014 Business Plan called for a review of the existing stakeholder consultation process used in the development of regulatory policy.

C2C, in partnership with another firm, was engaged to perform the review, provide a critical assessment of the current situation, and deliver a set of recommendations together with an implementation plan.

This project allowed C2C to draw on over 25 years of experience in Canada‚Äôs energy sector and in particular, its understanding of the nuances of engagement with the universe of stakeholders within the OEB’s regulatory framework.

The Approach

On behalf of the OEB and separate to a specific policy consultation, C2C engaged directly with stakeholders in order to identify their concerns with the existing process.

In addition, C2C examined the consultation approaches used by other similar organizations, and presented a more effective stakeholder participation process, to inform policy development by the OEB.

The Research

Initially, a review of the current process gathered quantifiable feedback from all participants, and proprietary software was used to identify critical problem areas.

Next, qualitative research by way of personal interviews with a sample of stakeholders and OEB staff and senior personnel, clarified the issues from a variety of perspectives.

Following that, an analysis was conducted of the engagement techniques used by regulatory bodies in other sectors.

It became apparent that a robust consultation framework is the product of a clear strategic purpose, combined with a systematic and principled approach, that continuously evaluates and improves the process of stakeholder engagement.

Project Outcomes

A final report detailing the findings, with recommendations for a more tailored framework and an implementation plan, was delivered to OEB Board Members at the conclusion of the project.

The OEB has since moved forward in establishing a new framework for engagement with stakeholders in 2015, with the ongoing support of C2C.