Atlantic Occupational Health and Safety Initiative

On December 31, 2014, amendments to the federal Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and their mirror provincial versions (also referred to as the Accord Acts) came into force. These changes established in law a new occupational health and safety regime in Canada’s Atlantic offshore area. The purpose of the new regime is to prevent accidents and injury arising out of, linked to, or occurring during the course of employment in offshore petroleum related activities.

The new occupational health and safety regime for the Atlantic offshore is based on the following principles:

  • Offshore occupational health and safety laws provide workers with protection at least as good as that which exists for onshore workers
  • Protection of employee rights (to know, to participate, to refuse and to be protected from reprisal)
  • Support for an occupational health and safety culture that recognizes the shared responsibilities in the workplace
  • Comprehensive application to offshore petroleum activities and the transport of workers
  • An effective and efficient regulatory regime based on mirrored provincial and federal legislation and consistency between jurisdictions

In addition to the amendments to the Accord Acts, transitional regulations to support the new occupational health and safety (OHS) regime in the interim, while permanent regulations are developed, were also introduced. The transitional regulations are temporary in nature, coming with a legislated expiry date five years after they enter into force, and are adapted from existing federal regulations.

The Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, together with the offshore regulators (the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board), have embarked on an initiative to develop permanent regulations to support the OHS regime.

BACKGROUND

The offshore areas of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia are unique in that they are jointly managed by both the federal and provincial governments. This joint management framework requires mirror federal and provincial legislation and regulations for both the NL and NS offshore areas.

In 1985, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador concluded an agreement to jointly manage oil and gas resources off the coast of that province. This agreement is implemented through the federal Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and mirror provincial version of the Act. Petroleum resource activity in the offshore area of Newfoundland and Labrador is regulated by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB).

In 1986, Canada and Nova Scotia reached a similar agreement that is implemented through the federal Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and mirror provincial version of the Act. These Acts established the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to regulate petroleum activities in the offshore area of that province.

map of Atlantic Offshore Admin Areas

Figure 1 – Atlantic Offshore Admin Areas

Larger image

 
Textual version

Figure 1 – Atlantic Offshore Admin Areas

NOTES

  1. The location and representation of the administrative areas as approximate.
  2. For the purposes of this map, these administrative areas are shown only to the limit of Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). These administrative areas may extend beyond the EEZ to a line at the outer limit of the continental shelf that will be established by Canada in the future. Canada has filed a submission regarding the outer limits of the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the review of which is pending, and will file a submission regarding the outer limits of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean in the future.
  3. Most Board decisions on calls for bids, licences and Development Plans are subject to ministerial ratification by the Minister of Natural Resources and his/her provincial counterpart.
  4. The boundaries of this offshore administrative area may be subject to change through regulation, including following dispute resolution.
 

OHS Initiative

The OHS Initiative is a partnership between the Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, with advice from the regulators that have offshore oil and gas responsibilities under legislation and regulations.

Federally, the OHS initiative is spearheaded by Natural Resources Canada, with input and subject matter expertise provided by its advisors, Labour Program and Transport Canada. The regulations developed under this initiative must come on the recommendation of both the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Labour. Additionally, the regulations that pertain to passenger craft must come on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport.

Provincially, the OHS initiative is led by Departments responsible for occupational health and safety (Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and in Newfoundland and Labrador, Service NL). The Ministers for these Departments have oversight responsibility for the new OHS section of the Accord Acts and the regulations made under these sections.  The Nova Scotia Department of Energy and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources, whose Ministers retain provincial oversight of the remainder of the Accord legislation, are contributing partners to the initiative.

The C-NLOPB and the CNSOPB are regulator partners in the initiative, providing subject matter expertise to governments.

TRANSITIONAL REGULATIONS

The following transitional regulations are currently in effect under the Accord Acts. These regulations are temporary in nature, and will be replaced by new permanent regulations, once developed.

Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area:

Nova Scotia Offshore Area:

STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION

Content from external sources is not subject to the requirements of official languages, privacy and access to information.

The OHS Initiative will invite stakeholders, interested groups and other Canadians from across the country to share their feedback at various stages throughout the regulatory development process.

Current and scheduled consultation and engagement activities can be found below. As the OHS Initiative progresses, information related to planned stakeholder consultation and engagement activities will be updated on this webpage.

Phase 1:  Review the Draft Policy Intent document (PDF, 883 KB)

Feedback consisted of the following submissions:

Phase 2:  Review the Draft Policy Intent document (PDF, 775 KB)

Feedback consisted of the following submissions:

Offshore Diving Policy Intent:

Feedback consisted of the following submissions:

Phase 3: Review the Draft Policy Intent document (PDF, 938 KB)

CONTACT US

For more information or to provide feedback, you can reach the OHS Initiative partners:

By e-mail to: kim.phillips@canada.ca

By mail to:
1801 Hollis Street, Suite 700
Halifax, NS B3J 3C8