Smart Regulation — Rhetoric or Reality?


  • Judith Hanebury, QC General Counsel, National Energy Board of Canada.



This article examines historical, contemporary, and

emerging form of governmental regulation in various contexts and jurisdictions, and applies that information comparatively in undertaking descriptive and prescriptive analyses in relation to regulation in Canada's energy sector. So-called "smart regulation " is the latest trend in regulatory (re)structuring. and the author attempts to probe the substance behind this catch-phrase to discover what its practical implications are to affected parties. The reader will contemplate how "smart regulation " differs, if at all from prescriptive regulation, goal-oriented regulation, performance-based regulation, and deregulation or whether it is some combination of several. "Smart regulation" necessarily imports inter- and intra-governmental cooperation and coordination to avoid regulatory duplication and multi-layering; in this regard Canada's regulatory regime appears to be in transition. Accurately measuring the degree of regulatory and industrial efficiency and effectiveness resulting from the "smart regulation" movement may ultimately require more credible evaluation methodology and increased research in the area.