The structure and composition of the PUB is outlined in the Public Utilities Board Act. The Board is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal, delegated decision-making authority under provincial statute. Our public hearing processes follow many procedures of court and they satisfy standards of procedural fairness. Our decisions can be appealed to the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Moreover, we act as an appeal body for several other administrative tribunals, including the Highway Traffic Board.
Administrative tribunals are government agencies tasked with making decisions otherwise made by the government’s cabinet or one of its ministers. In keeping with this principle, the chair of the Board currently reports on an annual basis to the Minister of Finance.
There are several reasons why governments choose to delegate authority from cabinet to administrative tribunals.
First, governments seek to ensure that decisions involving essential public services are insulated from political pressures through the independence and objectivity of an administrative tribunal. Second, they seek to ensure that decisions are made on the basis of specialized technical expertise, which is particularly important when dealing with the complexities of public utility rate regulation. Third, they seek to ensure fair and equitable treatment of affected parties through structured public participation.
Board Composition and structure
The Manitoba Public Utilities Board must, by law, be composed of not less than three members. Currently the Board is composed of 12 members, with only the chair acting as a full-time member. Board members do not have fixed terms. All members are appointed by the Manitoba Lieutenant Governor (on the recommendations of the Premier of Manitoba) and serve at his or her pleasure.
The Lieutenant Governor appoints both a chair and a vice-chair for the Board. The chair appoints the members of Board panels tasked with examining matters of interest before the Board and evaluates the conduct of other Board members. The chair has similar authority to that of a justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. The vice-chair assumes these duties in the absence of the chair or in the event that the chair is incapacitated.
Board members serve as members of panels, usually comprised of two to five members for each matter of interest before the Board. Two members constitutes quorum. Members are responsible for carrying out our legislative mandate by enforcing the public interest in our conduct and regulatory decision-making. All members, including the chair and vice-chair, are subject to a detailed code of professional and ethical responsibilities.
Robert left the practice of law after 36 years to accept the position as chair of the Public Utilities Board. His practice covered the areas of administrative law to corporate-commercial and technology law, including intellectual property, cyber security and privacy law. During his tenure, he was one of the founders and general counsel to the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the Manitoba Technology Accelerator. He taught different courses for the Manitoba Bar Admission course, including as a lecturer and examiner in ethics for over 15 years. He sat on numerous committees of the Law Society of Manitoba including the Discipline Committee as well as on the board of many not-for-profit organizations. He was appointed as a commissioner on the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing from 1990-92. Robert received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for community services in 2012.
Hugh is a Professor of Economics at the University of Winnipeg. He obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Toronto. He has served as the President of the University of Winnipeg Faculty Association and is currently the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics.
Carol recently retired from her position as the Regional Financial Officer-Administrator and a member of the Senior Management Team for Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship Central Region (Gimli), serving in that capacity since 1999. She served previously as a Branch Accountant for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) Winnipeg Branch. She is a shareholder and Director (Corporate Secretary) of A.C.G. Investments Ltd. which owns and operates Wildwood Park Tourist Resort. She is a community volunteer and a member of the Lakeside Lions Club.
Irene A.Hamilton,BA LLB
Appointed September 2017
Irene retired as Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Civil Law Division in May 2017, after over 35 years in government, including seven years as the Provincial Ombudsman, five years as Assistant Deputy Minister, Courts Division and nine years as a Public Trustee. Irene is a past president of the Law Society of Manitoba and continues to serve on a number of its committees. She is a public representative on the College of Registered Nurses Manitoba board; and a number of other committees. She is a past chair of the United Way of Winnipeg Board of Trustees.
Marilyn is a former senior Federal Government executive responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. Former Regional Director General of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (Manitoba) as well as Director of Industry Services at the Canadian Grain Commission. She is Past Chair of the National Board of YM-YWCA of Canada and was appointed as Canada's International Representative in 2014. Marilyn is a member of the Riverview Health Centre Board. Former Chair of the YM-YWCA of Winnipeg Board, and past member of Assiniboine Park Conservancy Board and Association of Professional Executives.
Shawn continues to be actively involved in McCutcheon Farms Ltd., a family owned and operated commercial and seed grain farms specializing in soybeans, corn and field bean production in the RM of Dufferin. He served 15 years in elected office, 7 years as a trustee of the former Midland School Division, 6 of those years as chairperson and 8 years as the Reeve of the RM of Dufferin. He has been involved in numerous local and provincial organizations and currently serves on the Carman Community Health Centre Board. He was very involved in the development of Boyne Care which is constructing a new 110 bed personal care home in Carman as part of an overall plan to renew senior housing options in Carman and neighbouring communities.
Sharon lives in Thompson Manitoba and she has spent much of her adult life as a leader in Manitoba aboriginal organizations. She held a number of positions with Keewatin Tribal Council starting as an education counsellor and moving to Chief Executive Officer. She has also sat on a number of agencies, boards and commissions, including as Members of Manitoba Tribal Directors and Past Chairperson of Broadband Communications North Inc. (telecommunications for northern and remote communities). She is currently Executive Director of the Aboriginal Knowledge and Cultural Division of UCN.
Susan is the president of A&F Nemec Recruitment. Prior to moving full time into the recruitment and placement of finance and accounting professionals, Susan held senior positions such as VP Finance and Systems of the Moffat Canadian Cable group, Corporate Controller of The City of Winnipeg and many years as a Senior Assurance Manger with a Big Four Public Accounting Firm. Susan has held various volunteer positions including President of Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, President of the Winnipeg Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI), National Board Member and Audit Committee, Treasurer of the Winnipeg Convention Centre and Manitoba Research Council. Susan currently sits on the Audit Committee of HEB Manitoba. In 2010, Susan was awarded her FCA (Fellowship) Designation which recognizes distinction in her career and ongoing service to the CPA/CA Profession and community.
University of Manitoba graduate, Larry practiced law in Winnipeg and appeared in both the Civil and Criminal Courts. Larry was a partner of a law firm then known as Pollock Nurgitz Bromley Myers and Hewak. In 1977, he was appointed a Provincial Judge and in 1987, he was appointed Master and Registrar in Bankruptcy of the Court of Queen's Bench. He is now retired.