Legislation to better protect Nova Scotia's offshore oil and gas workers will come into effect Dec. 31.
Amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act establish one set of occupational health and safety rules for offshore oil and gas workers, with mirror amendments adopted federally in the Offshore Health and Safety Act and in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"Nova Scotia is committed to improving occupational health and safety standards and regulations in the offshore," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. "This legislation is a significant step forward for the safety of offshore workers."
"Nova Scotia's offshore is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Atlantic Canada and represents huge potential for our province," said Energy Minister Andrew Younger. "These changes complement the work already underway to promote workplace safety in every industry across Nova Scotia, to ensure all workers, whether on land or sea, return home safely at the end of each day."
The amendments add a new occupational health and safety section to the act, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of governments, regulators, employers and employees. The amendments also assign authority for occupational health and safety officers to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board.
-- protect employee rights
-- support an occupational health and safety culture that recognizes shared responsibilities in the workplace
-- provide joint management of occupational health and safety by the federal and provincial governments
-- apply to all offshore petroleum activities
-- add new provincial oversight to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education for offshore occupational health and safety
The Department of Energy remains responsible for oversight of the overall act.
"The Offshore Health and Safety Act enshrines in law the highest standards of safety for Canadians working in the offshore oil and gas industries," said Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. "Our government is working in partnership with provincial governments to create jobs and economic growth in Atlantic Canada by ensuring that our offshore oil and gas resources are developed in a way that is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment."
The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board will continue to administer Nova Scotia's offshore regulations.
The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board will administer Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore regulations.
"As Minister responsible for occupational health and safety in Newfoundland and Labrador, I'm pleased these enhancements to the Atlantic Accord will strengthen the occupational health and safety regime for the offshore oil and gas industry in the province," said Tony Cornect, Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador. "The amendments are tailored to the offshore working environment and incorporate fundamental OHS principles including a worker's right to refusal, a worker's right to know, a worker's right to reprisal protection for raising health and safety concerns. I'm also pleased that the legislation clearly allocates responsibility amongst operators, employers, workers, and suppliers on matters related to health and safety."