Where property rights cannot easily or affordably be assigned or enforced, we strive to eliminate tragic commons through statutory law and regulation. Where regulation is required, regulatory authority must be independent and provide all affected individuals and groups due process and access to information, while avoiding creating barriers to entry, stifling innovation, interrupting the flow of information, or forcing regulated parties to act against their best judgement.
The Principle in Practice:
- Energy Probe has intervened before the Ontario Energy Board over the course of three decades, helping to lower costs for consumers as well as institute landmark reforms. Among the innovations introduced by Energy Probe: reform of the natural gas industry to allow small consumers to share in the benefits of deregulation and incentive regulation and to give both public and private utilities an incentive to lower their costs.
- In May 2000, contaminated water killed seven people and sickened 2,300 in Walkerton, Ontario. Probe participated extensively in the public inquiry established to examine the causes of the tragedy and, more generally, the safety of drinking water in Ontario. Over the course of the two-year inquiry, we cross-examined witnesses, participated in expert meetings, and made submissions on environmental and economic regulation, enforcement, source protection, agricultural pollution, incentive structures, accountability mechanisms, and the operation and financing of water utilities.