Ontario Transmission License (8-ON-a)
The Ontario Energy Board regulates the ownership and operation of transmission systems pursuant to the Ontario Energy Board Act; the Ontario Statutory Powers Procedure Act, and Ontario Regulation 161/99, Definitions and Exemptions.
Transmission License Process
8-ON-a.1 – Application for Electricity Transmission License
A developer must submit an Application for Electricity Transmission License (Application) to the Ontario Energy Board (Board). S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. B, s. 60(1). The Application form can be found on the Board's website. The developer must complete and mail two (2) copies of the Application form, any required attachments, and the non-refundable application fee, which must be in the form of a check or money order in Canadian funds made payable to the Ontario Energy Board, to the Board. The application fee is $1000 for a new Electricity Transmission License and $200 for an Electricity Transmission License renewal if the annual registration fee has been paid ($800 per year for every year of the license). Ontario Energy Board – Electricity Transmission License Webpage.
8-ON-a.2 to 8-ON-a.3 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
The Board must review the Application for technical completeness. Ontario Energy Board – Resource Guide for Regulated Entities, p. 15.
8-ON-a.4 – Publish Notice of Application and Public Hearing
The Board must publish notice of the Application in newspapers, post it on the Board's website, or serve it on individuals. In that same notice, the Board can also announce that it will hold a public hearing on the Application. The notice must include the subject matter to be decided at the hearing, whether the proceeding would be written or oral, and the steps required to participate in the hearing. Ontario Energy Board – Resource Guide for Regulated Entities, p. 15.
Additional notice requirements vary depending on the type of hearing to be held. Notice of an oral hearing must include:
- The time, place, and purpose of the hearing; and
- A statement that if the party notified does not attend the hearing, it will go on without that party and that party will not be entitled to further notice in the proceeding.
Notice of a written hearing must include:
- The time, place, and purpose of the hearing;
- Details about how the written hearing will be held;
- A statement that the hearing may not be held as a written hearing if a party satisfies the Board that there is good reason for not holding a written hearing and the procedure for making that claim; and
- A statement that if a party does not participate in the hearing or make a claim that the hearing should not be written that the hearing will continue.
8-ON-a.5 to 8-ON-a.6 – Hold Public Hearing
The Board is required by law to hold a public hearing before issuing an order on applications that it receives. S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. B, s. 21(2). The hearing may be written or oral. Ontario Energy Board – Resource Guide for Regulated Entities, p. 15. An oral hearing must be open to the public and documents submitted for a written hearing must be accessible to the public unless the matters involving public security may be disclosed or if intimate financial or personal matters may be disclosed and the desirability of avoiding that disclosure outweighs the value of making the hearing public. R.S.O. 1990, c. 22, s. 9(1)–(1.1).
The public can also participate in the hearing in several ways. Citizens can actively participate in the hearings as an intervenor if they file a letter of intervention with the Board and send a copy to the applicant (developer). Citizens can also file a request to receive observer status if they do not want to actively participate in the hearing, but still want to monitor the proceeding's progress by receiving all Board-issued documents. Citizens can also submit written or oral comments to the Board without having to become an intervenor. Written comments become part of the public record but are not sworn evidence or subject to cross-examination. Citizens must make arrangements with the Board Secretary to make an oral comment, which may or may not be made under oath and subject to cross-examination. Ontario Energy Board – Resource Guide for Regulated Entities, p. 13.
8-ON-a.7 – Review Application Materials for Approval
The Board must review the Application materials for approval. The Board can grant an approval, consent, or make a determination that may be required for any of the matters provided for in a licensee's (developer's) license with or without a hearing. S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. B, s. 70(1.1).
8-ON-a.8 to 8-ON-a.9 – Provide Notice of Decision
The Board must send a copy of the final order to each party who participated in the proceeding, including any justifications for the decision, by mail, electronic transmission, facsimile, or some other method that allows proof of receipt. R.S.O. 1990, c. 22, s. 18(1).
8-ON-a.10 – Electricity Transmission License
The Board can prescribe the conditions under which a person (developer) can own or operate a transmission system as well as any other conditions that are appropriate in light of the Board's objectives and the purposes of the Ontario Electricity Act. S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. B, s. 70(1). Additionally, each license is deemed by statute to contain the following conditions:
- The licensee (developer)is required to provide, in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed by regulation and in the manner mandated by the market rules or by the Board, priority connection access to its transmission system or distribution system for renewable energy generation facilities that meet the requirements prescribed by regulation made under subsection 26 (1.1) of the Ontario Electricity Act
- The licensee (developer) is required to prepare plans, in the manner and at the times mandated by the Board or as prescribed by regulation and to file them with the Board for approval for,
- the expansion or reinforcement of the licensee’s (developer's) transmission system or distribution system to accommodate the connection of renewable energy generation facilities, and
- the development and implementation of the smart grid in relation to the licensee’s (developer's) transmission system or distribution system;
- The licensee (developer) is required, in accordance with a licensee's (developer's) prepared plan that has been approved by the Board or in such other manner and at such other times as mandated by the Board or prescribed by regulation,
- to expand or reinforce its transmission system or distribution system to accommodate the connection of renewable energy generation facilities, and
- to make investments for the development and implementation of the smart grid in relation to the licensee’s transmission system or distribution system; and
- The licensee (developer) is required to comply with the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan Act.
8-ON-a.11 – Appeal Board Decision to Divisional Court (Optional)
An applicant (developer) can appeal a Board's order to the Ontario Divisional Court upon a question of law or jurisdiction within 30 days. S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. B, s. 33(1)(a), (2). To appeal, the developer must serve a Notice of Appeal (Form 61A) and an Appellant's Certificate Respecting Evidence (Form 61C) on the Board within 30 days of the Board's order. The developer must also file these documents and proof of service within 10 days of serving those documents to the Board. The Notice of Appeal must include, at minimum, the relief sought, the grounds of the appeal, and the basis for the Divisional Court's jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The Certificate Respecting Evidence includes all of the evidence that the developer thinks is necessary for the appeal. Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General – Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court.
Once the developer files the Notice of Appeal and Appellant's Certificate Respecting Evidence, the Board has 15 days to respond by filing a Respondent's Certificate Respecting Evidence (Form 61D) that either confirms the Appellant's Certificate or sets out any additions or deletions to it. Within 30 days of filing the Notice of Appeal, the developer must order transcripts from the Board and file a Certificate of Ordering a Transcript for Appeal, if the appeal requires transcripts. Transcripts are required for an appeal if a witness testified at the hearing and either the developer or the Board believes all or part of their testimony will be relevant to the appeal. The developer must also pay the fee for ordering the transcripts, and the whole transcript is typically not required, only the portions that are relevant to the appeal. Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General – Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court.
The developer must "perfect" the appeal within 30 days of filing the Notice of Appeal by filing and serving all the required documents, followed by filing and serving of a Certificate of Perfection and paying the applicable fee. The required documents include an Appeal Book and Compendium, an Exhibit Book, an Appellant's Factum, and any required transcripts. The developer may also serve and file a Book of Authorities. For specific details and requirements for each of these documents, see the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General – Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court. The developer has 30 days to perfect the appeal if no transcripts are required and 60 days if the developer must order transcripts for the appeal. Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General – Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court.
Within 60 days of being served with the developer's documents, the Board must serve to the developer and file with the Divisional Court a Respondent's Compendium, a Respondent's Factum, and an optional Book of Authorities if the Board wants the Divisional Court to consider anything not already in the developer's Book of Authorities. Once the developer perfects the appeal, the Divisional Court Registrar puts the appeal on the list of cases to be heard in the Divisional Court and mail a Notice of Listing for Hearing (Form 61G) to anyone listed in the Certificate of Perfection. The Divisional Court holds a hearing and can either decide the appeal immediately or "reserve" the decision to be delivered later.
8-ON-a.12 – Appeal Divisional Court Decision to the Court of Appeal (Optional)
The developer can appeal a Divisional Court decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario with leave of that court.
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- Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. B
- Ontario Regulation 161/99, Definitions and Exemptions
- Ontario Electricity Act, S.O. 1998, c. 15, Sched. A
- Ontario Fair Hydro Plan Act, S.O. 2017, c. 16, Sched. 1
- Ontario Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. 22
- Ontario Public Utilities Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.52