by the Commission's Executive Committee on March 4, 2004
The Commission is an
independent quasi-judicial tribunal with appellate, regulatory and
administrative responsibilities derived from the
Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission Act and the provisions of
a number of Province of PEI Statutes.
To be respected for
independence, professionalism, competence and leadership in the matters
the Commission regulates, adjudicates and administers.
To ensure the public of
Prince Edward Island is provided with unbiased, well-reasoned, clear, and
timely decisions in all matters brought before the Commission for its
The following values
govern the Commission's daily operations and interactions:
Respect of the public
trust vested in the Commission;
Respect of the
individuals, businesses and organizations with whom we interact;
consultations and public hearings;
clarity and timeliness in decisions;
A safe, healthy,
co-operative and respectful environment for our staff and the clients we
well-trained, and motivated employees;
Open, accountable and
responsible fiscal management;
Openness to new ideas
and change that meet the requirements of governing legislation and
improve the Commission's effectiveness and efficiency.
This plan is being
developed in 2003; however, it encompasses the fiscal years 2004, 2005,
2006 and beyond. The corporate and functional goals will be revisited
every year to ensure the plan addresses the needs of an ever-changing
As the Commission
begins this planning initiative, Governments across Canada are considering
re-regulation as a means of controlling escalating power and auto
insurance rates. The public has demanded that Governments find a solution
and Governments, in turn, are looking to regulators, who have experience
and expertise in these areas, to develop a cost efficient regulatory
process that will result in a fair price to consumers and a fair and
reasonable return to industries and their investors.
recently been passed giving the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission
the power to regulate electric power rates; electrical utilities were
fully regulated by the Commission until 1994. In addition, the Commission
has been given legislative responsibility for the regulation of automobile
insurance rates; a completely new field of regulation for the Commission.
Given these new
legislated responsibilities, the corporate goals of the Commission will be
concentrated primarily on the development, implementation and
administration of a cost efficient, effective and fair regulatory system
in all areas regulated by the Commission but with particular emphasis in
the areas of auto insurance and electricity.
The Commission realizes
the major contribution technology plays in its overall operation;
therefore, the Commission will continue its commitment to maintain IT
systems and hardware required to operate effectively and efficiently.
In the present evolving
regulatory environment, liaisons and good working relationships with
colleague organizations are of extreme importance. This communication
between like entities provides an avenue through which to share
experiences and best practices - valuable information in this time of
While liaisons and
working relationships with other related organizations, government
departments, regulated industries and the general public are necessary for
the Commission to operate effectively, the Commission is always cognizant
of the importance of retaining its actual and perceived independence. The
public places its trust in the Commission to make informed, unbiased and
fair decisions. This impartiality is only possible when the independence
of the Commission is secure and visible to those it serves. The Commission
strives to maintain this independence in various ways, while remaining
open and accountable to the public of PEI. The Commission's annual report
gives detailed reports on all activities including financial reports from
its audited financial statements. Under the
Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission Act, the Commission is
responsible for hiring its own staff and the
Civil Service Act
does not apply to employees of the Commission. The Commission does not
report directly to a minister of government but reports through a minister
to the Legislature.
endeavors to carry out its appellate functions in a user friendly and
non-threatening atmosphere. The Commission is presented with the challenge
of ensuring those without legal representation are not disadvantaged in
presenting their cases. Parties appearing on their own occasionally
require assistance in understanding the hearing process and in determining
proper presentation and cross examination. The Commission is charged with
the responsibility of ensuring all parties, whether represented by counsel
or not, are given a fair hearing and that all information pertinent to the
case is brought to the attention of the Commission.
To meet its broad
mandate, the Commission operates with a limited number of staff who, by
work demands, generally are responsible for very specialized tasks and
expertise in one particular area of the Commission's mandate. This, in
turn, creates a high risk for the Commission's operations because of the
resulting dependency on single individuals for areas of core
responsibility. The Commission must attempt to address and minimize this
- To maintain the Commission's actual
and perceived independence while remaining open and accountable to the
- To liaise with regulated industries in
developing and implementing an efficient, fair, reasonable and cost
effective regulatory system for auto insurance and electrical rates;
- To regularly monitor and analyze
public issues which arise in the normal course of the Commission
fulfilling its mandate and to discuss such issues, where appropriate,
with the minister through whom the Commission reports to the
- To produce legally correct, timely,
well reasoned and unbiased decisions for all matters under the
- To maintain up-to-date IT systems and
hardware to enable staff to competently serve the public;
- To provide a non-threatening and
user-friendly atmosphere for hearings and to continue to encourage
appellants to appear with or without legal representation;
- To conduct hearings in such a manner
as to ensure those without legal representation are afforded the full
opportunity to be heard within the principles of fairness and natural
- To continue to improve and expand the
Commission's involvement and communications with relevant organizations
and boards, government, regulated industries, public utilities and the
- To ensure the public is properly
informed about the Commission, its legislated mandate and its various
- To ensure a continuous, well-trained,
competent staff in all Commission mandated functions through staff
development, training and cross-training where possible; and
- To provide a safe, healthy work
environment for staff.
Functional Goals and Objectives
1. Hearings under the
The Commission has
endeavored to provide timely written decisions following the completion
of a public hearing. The Commission has noted, however, that a variety
of factors can result in considerable delay before a matter proceeds to
the hearing stage, is settled or is withdrawn. On some matters,
negotiations between the parties proceed while the hearing is held in
abeyance. The Commission's primary goal is to give the parties adequate
time to resolve matters on their own if possible; however, the
Commission also must ensure negotiations are progressing and currently
there is no formal reporting mechanism whereby the Commission is kept up
to date on the status of the negotiations.
The Commission makes
a concerted effort to accommodate the timing interests of all parties
involved in a planning or a property tax appeal. Unfortunately, this can
lead to hearing delays and consume staff time in coordinating schedules
of the parties, the Commission and witnesses.
The Commission will
develop a reporting mechanism which requires parties to an appeal to
keep the Commission informed of the status of negotiations between the
b. The Commission
will establish rules for setting dates for Commission hearings.
has proven effective in settling some disputes and is
offered by the Commission as an alternative to proceeding to an
immediate public hearing.
will modify the Commission's annual report to indicate:
the time allocated to mediation efforts,
- the number of cases successfully settled
by mediation and
- the number of times a matter has proceeded
to a hearing
after mediation has
1. The Land Identification
Program has resulted in considerable acreage in the
province being placed under restriction to maintain it for resource
use. General land demands have increased pressure on resource land and
resulted in increased applications for changes to identification
agreements. The Commission assists in administering these applications
for the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. The increasing
number and complexity of applications places increased demand on staff
Commission will initiate discussion with the Department of Community
and Cultural Affairs to determine whether or not the Commission is the
most appropriate body to administer the de-identification process and
if so, then a process for combining the Commission's background
information with the Department's recommendation to Executive Council
will be established.
2. The Commission
has expanded the range of information contained in non-resident and
corporate submissions to Executive Council to include area, land use,
and soil type maps of subject properties. This can result in some
rather lengthy submissions.
The Commission will conduct an assessment
Lands Protection Act package currently provided
to Executive Council to ensure the information is presented in the
most effective manner and is beneficial in the decision making
3. Annual disclosure
statements are required by those persons who have
aggregate land holdings in excess of 750 acres of land, and corporations
that have aggregate land holdings in excess of 2250 acres. The size of
farms is increasing; however, some respondents do not file until
contacted by the Commission.
Lands Protection Act
requires those holding a permit to have an aggregate land holding in
excess of the limits imposed by the
to follow a
divestiture schedule to bring them within the prescribed limit. The
Act requires those with a Permit to divest half of the
excess land by March 31, 2004.
To ensure compliance, the Commission will make a greater effort to
make persons and corporations aware of the requirement through news
releases and advertising targeted at farm based publications.
The Commission will take steps to directly remind Permit holders of
the requirement. The Division will also adopt a process to address
any failures to meet the divestiture requirements.
4. The Commission
recognizes the benefit of having members of the PEI Real Estate
Association and the Law Society of Prince Edward Island aware of the
Commission's role in administering the Prince Edward Island
Protection Act. In order for the Commission to fulfill its
mandate, it is important to foster an open dialogue with groups and
organizations impacted by the Legislation.
Commission will have staff available to attend meetings and sessions
held by such groups and organizations to outline the Commissions role,
answer questions, and receive input.
1. Auto Insurance Rate
Regulation: The implementation of auto insurance rate
regulation is underway. This new area of regulation will initially
consume significant staff resources.
review and approve auto insurance rates for all insurers.
establish an ongoing regulatory process that is cost effective and
The implementation of electric
utility regulation took effect on January 1, 2004 with the proclamation
of the new
Electric Power Act.
re-establish a regulatory process that is cost effective and timely.
To review and approve
Maritime Electric's capital programs, including new generation
c. To review
Maritime Electric's rates.
Regulation: The area of petroleum price regulation
has undergone significant change in the last 24 months. A new pricing
model has been implemented and a number of changes made in the licensing
process and license fees schedules.
maintain the high level of data analyses and research carried out in
the pricing area.
maintain a positive working relationship with the industry.
4. Municipal Water
and Wastewater Utility Regulation: The Commission
regulates some 26 municipal and private water-wastewater utilities. A
need has been identified to carry out compliance audits to ensure that
utilities strictly comply with the Commission's uniform system of
establish a compliance audit program.
finalize the conversion of all utilities to the Commission's new
Uniform System of Accounts.
� The Office assists residential
lessors (landlords) and lessees (tenants) in resolving disputes by
providing information, advice on their rights and obligations and
adjudicative services in a fair and timely manner.
� The Office of the
Director experienced a significant increase in the number of inquiries
and applications since year 2000. The Commission and the Office
undertook a review of the Office's resources and practices. It resulted
in the Commission creating a position to handle inquiries and provide
timely and appropriate service to clients at the earliest opportunity.
To develop a system to monitor the results of the inquiries being
handled by non-hearing officers.
To establish a benchmark against which to measure the number of
applications brought to a resolution without a hearing.
to prepare a method of measuring the response time to all inquiries.
� The Office of the Director has found that
the processing of applications through to the decision stage is often
delayed by lessors and lessees not being adequately prepared to present
their information and arguments.
publish an information pamphlet to assist parties in presenting their
cases at a hearing.
prepare and publish information pamphlets on rental agreements and
security deposits for lessors and lessees.
� The Residential Rental Officer
endeavors to reach a decision following the investigation and hearing in
a fair and timely manner. There have been an increasing number of
investigations and hearings which have resulted in a large
quantity of written information involving a number of complex issues
being submitted for consideration. These situations often result in
delaying the rendering of the decision beyond the usual timeframe.
to begin a review of current practices in the decision rendering
process so as to improve effectiveness and efficiency.