An evaluation of the industrial development permit process in Alberta

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Dmytruk, Orysia Iryna Natalka
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The Industrial Development Permit, issued by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, regulates energy use, facility siting, socio-economic impacts, and environmental concerns in Alberta. The process was implemented in 1974 to regulate hydrocarbon consumption above a specific threshold, to increase the efficiency of hydrocarbon use, and to ensure public participation. Twenty one chemical company respondents, four government department respondents, two Alberta Energy and Utilities Board respondents, and five interest group respondents were surveyed to determine satisfaction with the process. All respondents considered the process to be beneficial and noted improvements. Areas needing improvement were: process cost and requirements, expediency, inter-process coordination, and intra-process communication. Stakeholder satisfaction varied: government respondents were mostly satisfied (85%); agency respondents were fairly well satisfied (75%); and company respondents were moderately satisfied (70%) with the process; and interest group respondents were mostly satisfied (85%) with the public participation process. Government respondents favored adapting and simplifying the process. Agency respondents were previously aware of some difficulties identified. Companies were concerned with cost and expediency. Interest group respondents recognized the efforts of the companies but remained somewhat skeptical of company motives. A schedule for process revision; a communication system; legislative amendments; an updated Guide to Content; greater coordination with environmental processes; continued public involvement; and periodic evaluations were recommended to facilitate process improvement.