The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB or Board) is an independent body with legal or court-like powers assigned to it by various statutes.
Some powers are regulatory in nature. This includes things like:
- Regulating public utilities – such as electric, water and natural gas utilities -- by setting rates and ensuring that consumers receive safe and reliable service at a reasonable price.
- Setting gasoline and diesel prices,
- Approving auto insurance rates,
- Setting the maximum cost of borrowing for payday loans, and
- Approving the tolls for the Halifax-Dartmouth bridges.
Other powers are adjudicative, which include things like appeals about municipal land use planning, property assessment, utility complaints, fire safety, and setting the value of expropriated lands, along with other matters.
A full list of our mandates can be found here.
The Board is currently composed of the following eight full time Members (brief biographies are available here):
- Peter W. Gurnham, Q.C., Chair
- Roland A. Deveau, Q.C., Vice-Chair
- David J. Almon, LL.B.
- Roberta J. Clarke, Q.C.
- Richard Melanson, LL.B.
- Steven Murphy, MBA, P. Eng
- Stephen McGrath, LL.B.
- Jennifer Nicholson, CPA, CA
The Board is supported by a number of full-time staff, including:
- an Executive Director,
- a Chief Clerk and two Clerks of the Board,
- several professional advisory staff,
- two information technology professionals, and
- several administrative and financial staff.
The Chief Clerk and Clerks of the Board are responsible for receiving and processing all applications and appeals. They also schedule the hearings, respond to questions from the public, and handle distribution of Board decisions and orders.
Conduct of Hearings
To carry out its responsibilities the Board holds hearings in its offices and throughout the province, as well as by telephone and video conference. It typically holds hearings in the municipality affected by the application or appeal. The Board hearings are advertised in the local newspapers, on its website, on Twitter, and other means. The Board also conducts some of its hearings in French.
Hearings are generally open to the public and are recorded. While most are one to two days in length, some may last longer. Board decisions must be in writing and include reasons for the outcome.
Decisions and Orders of the Board may be appealed to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upon any question of jurisdiction or law.
To learn more about how the Board conducts it proceedings, click on this video.