Thanks very much, Tonja.
Thank you, members of the committee, for the invitation to return. I think we're going to end up having more time to talk about it than we would have otherwise, so I'm quite happy to come back and speak again.
I'm just going to try to recap, rather than repeat, where we were when we started off last time, about a month ago. As general propositions, Canada is not bad at documenting what we do in the way of energy production and supply, although we're not as good about renewables as we are about traditional petroleum resources.
We're talking, though, about energy use today as being one of the major topics of energy information and energy data, and we're not nearly as good at that. There are a whole lot of reasons, one of which is that, quite frankly, energy use takes place in provinces, and the Government of Canada doesn't have as much of an overarching jurisdictional responsibility for energy use except when it fits within various policy nexus, but from an information bottom-up perspective, there's not as much of an overarching jurisdictional use there.
The provinces have been trying to fill in as best they can, and because of its fragmented nature, energy data doesn't talk to each other, particularly about use. We're actually quite good in some ways. There's a Petrinex network in western Canada where now B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan are all filling in collectively to one place about what happens in the way of energy production, and there have been efficiencies and things that have happened that way that are really good and driven by provincial interests. In some senses, we need more of that happening in the rest of the country on a broader agenda.
So, energy for the future, energy data for the future, it's a lot more rich. It has a lot more other things attached to it, a lot more information. It's not just about a data point. It really is all the other information you can connect to that data point, and it's linked to a whole bunch of other positive things that start giving you knowledge and real information instead of just some scattered facts.
The new drivers of energy information are all about climate change, efficiency programs, community-level accounting, and things like that, a different agenda from calculating royalties and making sure that the public interest is protected in the production of energy.
We took all these things into account when we started working with the provinces in Atlantic Canada to ask what is a road map to get to this new energy future that will start addressing the new agenda and build on existing needs for the old one. We secured a lot of advice, talked to a lot of people, and worked out a vision that really talks about an energy system, and talks about some principles that I think are really important, one of which is that society needs to make informed choices.
We need to have real solid evidence to make decisions on almost everything, whether investments, programs, or policies, and the personal information has to be protected. That's where it starts today. Almost everything that you see in the media these days that has to do with data has to do with breaches of data and privacy, and that needs to be a fundamental first principle in everything we do. If we're going to be collecting this data, it has to be protected, and consumers need to have the right to decide when they're going to disclose the information and how, within a framework of law. There are technology solutions that provide ways we can do this in a much more standard way. Governments need to work together.
All of those are principles we embedded in the road map that should be released in a couple of weeks time.
When we talk about access to data, it really is either legislative requirements that are very sensitive and protected.... Stats Canada has a very good reputation for protecting people's information. It's been at it for a long time, and has a lot of protocols in place, a lot of security and sensitivity wrapped around it. The next system, the evolution of the system has to have equal kinds of safeguards and assurance and trust of the public. If we can manage that, then we have all sorts of very rich opportunities in the private sector, in efficiency agencies, and in co-operation.
I just want to close on an observation on the federal role. After all, you are a parliamentary committee, and you're looking at it from a Canadian perspective. The first thing is that there are a number of really strong players in the energy information data world today at the federal level. Stats Canada is obvious, but I think you've also heard from others. For example, Environment Canada has a major role in collecting energy information in order to get to their greenhouse gas calculations and inventory. There's a nexus there between the two where that needs to perhaps be examined.
There's a collaborative history between the provinces and the Government of Canada through the federal, provincial, and territorial energy ministers meetings and processes, and there is an opportunity for leadership. I think there is always a national role in these things.
I'm always mindful of whose jurisdiction it is. Having worked in the Province of Nova Scotia for 20 years, I'm very sensitive to the issue of “that's my job and that's your job”, but together we can work in the way of a national job, and I think that's an important opportunity here, to collaboratively work on getting good quality energy data for good quality energy information decisions.