The ERCB embarked on "continuous improvement" in early 1991. Our program was coined QMAS (Quality Management and Service).

Ten fact finding teams involving all levels of staff conducted 260 internal and 135 external interviews to establish existing realities, willed futures, impediments/facilitators, and initiatives. Three planning phases were established:

  • Directional Planning,

  • Strategic Planning, and

  • Tactical Planning.

The areas of concern were divided into functional groupings:

  • Application Process, Legislation, and Requirements,

  • Advisory to Government,

  • Data Acquisition and Dissemination,

  • Resource and Market Appraisal,

  • Complaints and Concerns Compliance,

  • Human Resources, and

  • Management Process.

This paper will briefly cover the major initiatives in the functional groupings that are underway at the ERCB and focus will be given to the areas that impact industry. Detail will be provided for the first functional group, the Application Process, Legislation, and Requirements.

We will also briefly describe how the QMAS program is being received within the organization and how staff plan to promote and motivate each other toward continuous improvement.


Over the past few years, the ERCB has been faced with an increased workload resulting from increasing responsibilities, the addition of facilities to Alberta's inventory, and heightened awareness by the public respecting environmental matters and industrial development generally. In response to the increasing workload, the ERCB examined how its priorities should be set out. It made an assessment of which activities could be eliminated and which could be deferred without significant consequences. The Board reached the point where it believed that it had eliminated and deferred activities to the maximum possible extent. It then decided that it had to make a fundamental change to the way it does things. The route that the Board chose to take was to adopt a Total Quality Management or TQM approach.

The program was introduced in early 1991 with five separate phases:

  • Phase I - Preparation and Start-up - 1991

  • Phase II - Fact-Finding - Identification of Opportunities and Problems - 1991

  • Phase III - Identification and Addressing Immediate Opportunities - 1991

  • Phase IV - Creating the Quality Management Directional Plan - 1992

  • Phase V - Implementing the Directional Plan - 1992/93/94 and continuing

During Phase II, teams were established to interview both internal and external customers to understand existing realities, willed futures, impediments, and facilitators in order to arrive at the directional plan This phase of the program involved a major staff commitment and lasted 6 months. There were 115 individuals on teams and 260 staff were interviewed. All levels of staff were involved to ensure opinions would be representative of the entire organization, The teams also talked to 135 people from industry, government, and the public.

During Phase III we scanned our activities focusing on the applications submitted by the industry to see if there were obvious cases that could be eliminated.

During Phase IV the ERCS drafted its corporate directional plan that is, the ERCS's statement of the longer-term objectives.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.