Canadian Centre for Energy Information External Advisory Committee meeting - November 16, 2020

Meeting summary: Key points and action items

Participants

Advisory member participants: Andrew Leach, Annette Hester, Allan Fogwill, Brad Griffin, Colleen d’Entremont, Channa Perera, Ericka Wicks, Louis Beaumier, Saad Sarfraz, Samantha Morton, Sarah Petrevan, Krista Nelson (obo Ben Brunnen)

Statistics Canada participants: Ziad Shadid, Mary Beth Garneau, Rene Beaudoin, Jennifer Johnson, Kristin Daley
Federal observers: Nick Macaluso (Environment and Climate Change Canada), Eric Sancartier (Natural Resources Canada), Josephine Mulji (Canada Energy Regulator), Karen Morton (Canada Energy Regulator)

Regrets: Bruce Lourie

Opening remarks from Director General: Ziad Shadid

Ziad Shadid, Director General, Agriculture, Energy and Environment Statistics, made opening remarks to the External Advisory Committee (EAC) members and thanked them for the advice that has been provided to date, both individually and collectively, and noted that the project is moving in the correct direction. Ziad passed the floor to the EAC co-chairs, Colleen and Allan. 

Engagement and communications strategies

Statistics Canada provided an overview and update on the public launch and communication and engagement strategy for the CCEI. StatCan then turned the floor to EAC members to seek feedback that members have or have heard concerning the launch. 

Members were in agreement that the website is a success and has a positive look and feel.  Although members expressed that they felt the website was well organized and user friendly to navigate some suggestions for future consideration were made regarding:  

  • Exploring whether pages could be organized by sector (cement, mining, etc.); 
  • CCEI explore including energy prices, a critical metric, such as natural gas delivered or Alberta’s spot market price; and, 
  • Consideration to change how indicators’ reference periods are displayed.

In addition, it was suggested that consideration be given regarding splitting the website into energy production/energy demand, as it can be hard for individuals to know where to look for the information. 

One member advised that they will be setting up a working group with industry representatives from various sub-sectors to coordinate their work, and it will be used to provide additional feedback over the longer-term, which StatCan was pleased to hear. 

Update on priorities determined by the FPT working group

StatCan provided a summary of CCEI priorities and the CCEI work plan recommended by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) executive-level working group (WG) that will be considered by the FPT DM Steering Committee planned for December 2020. 

One member questioned whether there was a scoping assessment planned for energy end-use data, which was not included as a short-term deliverable in the CCEI work plan. Another member asked how the CCEI could deliver on the FPT priority item to provide a complete picture of each provincial-territorial energy system without demand-side data. StatCan agreed to revisit this item with the FPT WG to see what could be done in the near-term within the existing capacity.
There was discussion about data suppression of data sets collected under the Statistics Act to protect the confidentiality in jurisdictions and industries with few firms. Recent efforts to address data suppression has led to a significant increase in the number of cells released in several data series of the energy statistics program. StatCan noted that they rely heavily on waivers from firms to release data that might otherwise be supressed but are limited if a firm refuses to sign a waiver. Members understood that Statistics Canada must follow the law and recognized that the Act’s provisions also allow Statistic Canada to collect data that might not be accessible without such provisions. The members noted that some of the data being suppressed may not be market sensitive or may be available from other public sources – and consideration should be given regarding suppressed data in this area and application of the law.  

It was agreed that further exploration needs to take place to review strategies currently being developed by CCEI to address challenges with data suppression in the energy space, while ensuring full compliance with the Statistic Act. Data suppressions will be added to the EAC forward agenda. 

StatCan closed this portion of the agenda noting that as CCEI moves into year two of the project, we will be focusing our efforts towards the foundational work of the project, which will include Indigenous engagement. The Assistant Deputy Minister Energy Steering Group has a meeting scheduled in late November, with a

Deputy Minister’s Steering Group meeting scheduled for early December 2020. The CCEI Secretariat will look to schedule the next EAC meeting for the spring of 2021.

Action Item

  • The CCEI, in collaboration with the FPT WG, will revisit short-term deliverables related to energy end-use data.
  • Data suppression will be added to the forward agenda, for further consideration and discussion at a future EAC meeting.

Housekeeping

StatCan updated the Committee members to advise that the EAC mandate, membership and meeting summaries have been posted to the StatCan and CCEI websites in an effort to remain open and transparent. The information can be found at Canadian Centre for Energy Information External Advisory Committee.

StatCan tabled the Rules of Engagement document for EAC approval, which members had previously reviewed. Once the document has been approved, the CCEI Secretariat will work to post the information to the StatCan and CCEI websites. 

Overall, members were in agreement that the document aligned with the spirit of the Committee.

One member raised a concern with regards to the mechanism for EAC members to have a voice, and to make formal proposals on specific issues. StatCan reconfirmed that while not a decision-making body, the EAC is an influential committee that informs the CCEI decision-making process.  Rules of Engagement are intended to guide the Committee, and may be updated any time to reflect evolving needs, as appropriate.

One of the members indicated that they would share the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council Annual Report with other members, which provides recommendations to the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and the Chief Statistician of Canada. One of their recommendations, suggests that energy, along with other relevant sectors, receive core funding in contrast to the current funding structure. 

Action Item

  • StatCan will publish the Rules of Engagement on the StatCan and CCEI websites. 

Conclusion and next steps

StatCan thanked the Committee members for their continued support and participation and for their collective input into the program.  
 

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