Legislation and new regulations that strengthen accountability for companies operating in offshore Nova Scotia come into effect today, Feb. 26.
Amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act were introduced in the fall 2014 legislative session and represent a significant update to environmental liability protections, transparency and clarity for offshore operators.
“We already have one of the strongest offshore safety and environmental protection regimes in the world, and we continually work with our federal partners to keep them updated,” said Lloyd Hines, acting Energy Minister. “This effort ensures we have clear rules in place for industry players who have an active interest in exploring and developing our offshore’s natural resources.”
New regulations include cost recovery regulations, administrative monetary penalty regulations and financial requirement regulations.
The federal government has mirror legislation and regulations that are coming into effect at the same time, as part of the joint management of the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore. These changes will also occur in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area, and other areas of federal jurisdiction as part of an effort to adopt a common approach to regulating Canada’s offshore.
“The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy and to protecting the environment,” said Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “The legislation coming into force today does just that, as it will strengthen environmental protection in our offshore petroleum industry, an industry that continues to bring considerable economic benefits, including jobs, to the Atlantic region.”
Highlights of the act amendments include:
— keeping liability for fault unlimited
— raising the absolute liability limit, which applies even if the operator is not at fault, from $30 million to $1 billion per operator
— raising the financial capacity requirements for drilling, production and development to at least $1 billion
— giving the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board authority to administer monetary penalties
The legislative sections designating the petroleum board as a responsible authority to conduct environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act were proclaimed in 2015.
The new regulations are posted on the Department of Energy website at