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Identifying Challenges and Solutions for Fuel Oil Spills

A large stakeholder engagement was undertaken for the Canadian Oil Heat Association that examined the nature of residential fuel oil spills, specifically their cause and frequency. The engagement focused on how to reduce the number of residential fuel oil spills, their severity, and their remediation cost. A multi-stakeholder advisory committee was assembled to provide strategic advice by helping to better define the problem and to develop a list of potential solutions. buildABILITY recruited the stakeholders, which include oil distributors, insurers and brokers, lawyers, consultants, educators, consumer representatives, and provincial regulators. Stakeholders are from across Canada and from the United States.


A series of meetings were held with the stakeholders, which revealed the issue to have many dimensions and be significantly complex. A backgrounder document was developed to provide context for each committee member and to act as a basis for discussion. The stakeholders then worked to identify 105 challenges that the fuel oil industry and other stakeholders face regarding residential fuel oil spills.


From the 105 challenges, the stakeholders carefully selected five priority challenges that became the focus for the development of potential solutions. A list of 92 solutions was developed, with six being selected to become the focus for implementation plans. The six solutions were selected based on their potential impact and their feasibility. buildABILITY developed one page concept documents for each solution for further discussion with stakeholders. The concept documents formed the basis of the development of implementation plans.


Assembling the stakeholders together provided a comprehensive view of the whole issue, and built commitment to implementing solutions that will work for each participating organization. The focus has since shifted from generating a list of problems and brainstorming solutions to smaller implementation teams working towards executing a small list of high impact solutions.