News Release Article from  Natural Resources Canada

New Offshore Legislation Strengthening Environmental Protection Comes into Effect

February 26, 2016
Natural Resources Canada

The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced that new measures to strengthen environmental protection and safety in Canada’s offshore will come into force today, February 26, 2016.

The Energy Safety and Security Act enshrines the polluter-pays principle in legislation and increases absolute liability in the offshore. Operators’ liability will remain unlimited in cases of fault or negligence and increase to $1 billion regardless of fault. The legislation requires emergency planning, environmental plans and other documents to be made available to the public. This will ensure that the public can review and understand the steps operators will take to prevent and respond to incidents.

Minister Carr also announced the publication of three new regulations necessary to fully implement the legislation. First, the Financial Requirements Regulations require applicants to demonstrate that they have the means to cover any claims in the event of an accident or spill. Second, the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations provide the offshore regulatory boards with an additional tool to strengthen compliance and enforcement with regulatory requirements. Third, the Cost Recovery Regulations establish a framework through which the Atlantic offshore regulatory boards will recover their operating costs from industry and reduce the cost for governments.

These amendments to the two Accord Acts and the associated regulations are the result of extensive collaboration between the Governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.   

Key Facts

  • The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board are independent, joint agencies of the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
  • There are currently six projects, accounting for 11,000 jobs at peak in Newfoundland and Labrador and over 4,000 jobs in Nova Scotia. 
  • Canada has collected $8.9 billion in royalties from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area and $1.9 billion in royalties from the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area and transferred equivalent amounts to the provinces.


“The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy and protecting the environment. The legislation coming into force today does just that, as it will strengthen environmental protection in our offshore industry, an industry that continues to bring considerable economic benefits, including jobs, to the Atlantic region.”

Jim Carr
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“Our government is committed to a regulatory environment that enhances offshore safety and environmental protection. The legislation ensures that companies operating in our offshore are prepared to cover their cleanup costs and that it is the polluter that pays for an incident and not taxpayers. Transparency is also improved since the legislation requires emergency planning, environmental plans and other documents to be made available to the public.

Siobhan Coady
Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Natural Resources

“As Nova Scotia’s offshore industry continues to grow, it’s important we have clear rules in place for industry players who have an active interest in exploring and developing our offshore natural resources. This has been a highly collaborative effort with the federal government and represents a significant update to environmental liability protections, transparency and clarity for offshore operators.”

Lloyd Hines
Nova Scotia Acting Energy Minister


Laurel Munroe
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

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