The Niagara Escarpment Commission was established in 1973 as a provincial agency consisting of 17 persons appointed by the Ontario Cabinet. As the main agency with responsibility for the implementation of the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the NEC has four main functions:
The Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act requires that eight of the seventeen NEC members be elected representatives or employees from municipalities within the Plan Area. Nine members are to be citizens representing the public at large, one of whom is appointed as Chair. All NEC members serve in a part-time capacity. The NEC employs a full-time staff that includes land use planners, a cartographer, a landscape architect, public affairs/educational staff and administrative staff.