June 13, 2024
How board members at Alberta Energy Regulator were duped repeatedly
Alberta Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler, left, Public Interest Commissioner Marianne Ryan, centre, and Auditor General Doug Wylie speak in Edmonton on Oct. 4, sharing their findings from their respective independent investigations into the activities related to the International Centre of Regulatory Excellence (ICORE) at the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Alberta Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler, left, Public Interest Commissioner Marianne Ryan, centre, and Auditor General Doug Wylie speak in Edmonton on Oct. 4, sharing their findings from their respective independent investigations into the activities related to the International Centre of Regulatory Excellence (ICORE) at the Alberta Energy Regulator.

If business school professors are looking for new material about the importance of having a strong and effective board of directors — the Alberta Energy Regulator provides a gripping case study of what not to do.

The AER’s board oversaw a regulator whose executives travelled by air first-class and stayed at $500-per-night hotels, plotted how to privatize the province’s intellectual property, and spent millions of dollars in public money on a private venture in order to secure their future employment.

In some instances, the board knew of the behaviour and allowed it to happen, while at other times, it was completely unaware of activities. Board members not only failed to provide oversight, but they often didn’t even question senior leadership.

These are the conclusions of three different investigative reports by Alberta’s Auditor General, Public Interest Commissioner and Ethics Commissioner. Each agency launched separate probes into the AER last year after whistleblower complaints about senior management.

Costly side project shut down

The AER, which is funded by a levy charged to the energy sector, oversees the province’s massive energy sector and is expected to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible development of the industry.

The reports focus largely on the AER’s failed attempt to launch a side project, called the International Centre for Regulatory Excellence (ICORE). The private venture was supposed to provide training to foreign energy regulators. In the end, ICORE was shut down less than two years after it launched and cost the AER millions of dollars.

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See Also:

(1) The Bloc’s war on Alberta: Why Quebec separatist party is specifically targeting the Western province

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