Investigation finds misuse of funds, scant oversight at Alberta Energy Regulator

The plan was for the agency to be spun off from the regulator and go independent

A government investigation concludes the former head of the Alberta Energy Regulator grossly mismanaged public funds in a scandal that has left taxpayers about $2.3 million out of pocket.

The findings were announced by Alberta’s auditor general Doug Wylie, public interest commissioner Marianne Ryan and ethics commissioner Marguerite Trussler.

The investigation revolved around the activities of Jim Ellis and other executives with the energy regulator between 2017 and 2018.

A report says Ellis and other executives set up a non-profit agency to sign contracts around the globe to advise on best regulatory practices.

The plan was for the agency to be spun off from the regulator and go independent, but the report says the reason behind that was to provide future employment for Ellis and others.

The report also says Ellis and others worked to get the agency off the ground, even though it was not part of the regulator’s mandate and potentially put it in conflict with the oil companies it was overseeing.

It says the executives used regulator funds, travelled business class and stayed in lavish hotels.

Dozens of regulator employees were redirected to work for the International Centre of Regulatory Excellence, even though the regulator faced criticism for long approval times, the report says.

It adds that the board was kept in the dark on some issues and didn’t provide proper oversight on others. It estimates that taxpayers lost $2.3 million in salaries, work time, travel and other costs related to the international centre.

Ellis quit the energy regulator earlier this year and last month Premier Jason Kenney’s government replaced its board. The province is reviewing the regulator’s operations.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Ponoka Festival of Trees opening night gala and auction

Generous donors and bidders will help reach $100,000 goal

Fundraiser a test of endurance and fitness

Ponoka gym setting up to participate in worldwide fitness event

Alberta Justice Minister advocates UCP rural crime plan

Expanded property rights, more power to peace officers, demonetizing scrap mental part of UCP plan

Wolf Creek Public Schools appoints new facilities manager

Kevin Henderson to take over after Len Landry’s retirement

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

One year on, most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

Sweden’s central bank says it has sold its Alberta-government issued bonds

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

PHOTO: Seasons Ponoka remembers

This Veterans’ Week, which was observed Nov. 5 to 11, 2019, each… Continue reading

Most Read