Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to parliamentary committees

The Government Response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and Subcommittee’s report on Part 3 of Bill C-38, Responsible Resource Development, was deposited with the Clerk of the House of Commons on October 2, 2012.

The Government Response to the report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources entitled Resource Development in Northern Canada was deposited with the Clerk of the House of Commons on March 27, 2013.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

2012-10 OAG Chapter 2 — Audit of Grant and Contribution Program Reforms

No recommendations for NRCan.

2012-10 OAG Chapter 3 —  Audit on Protecting Canadian Critical Infrastructure Against Cyber Threats

No recommendations for NRCan.

2013-02 CESD Chapter 1 — Audit of Atlantic Offshore Oil and Gas Activities

Recommendation 1.85
Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and Environment Canada should work with the boards and others, as necessary, to establish and clarify the roles and responsibilities of federal government departments and agencies in the event of a major oil spill, as well as the resources that would be available. This should include a coordinated response plan.

Government Response
Agreed (by Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and Environment Canada). The roles and responsibilities of federal departments, agencies, and the boards in the event of a spill are established by various acts and regulations. The nature of a spill would determine the departments and agencies involved, as well as their level of engagement. In 2011, Natural Resources Canada and federal departments and agencies conducted two tabletop spill response exercises, and have continued to work together on a range of issues related to oil spills. The departments will work together and with the boards to review roles and responsibilities related to the response to a major oil spill. The review will take into consideration the legal authority, mandate, and available resources of each organization, and identify gaps, while acknowledging the primary role of the operator in spill response. In addition, Natural Resources Canada commits to hosting an annual simulation exercise with its partners.

Recommendation 1.104
Working with the boards and its other partners, Natural Resources Canada should assess the capacity of the boards to exercise their responsibilities, including how they rely on other federal parties, and should explore opportunities for sharing expertise among those responsible for offshore oil and gas activities.

Government Response
Agreed. Natural Resources Canada will work with the boards and the respective provincial governments to assess the capacity of the boards to exercise their responsibilities. The Department will establish a senior level committee to meet regularly to bring together the departments and agencies with responsibility and expertise related to offshore oil and gas activities to further coordination and knowledge sharing.

The boards are willing to be part of an ongoing discussion with relevant federal departments and agencies to ensure that the requirements for effective spill prevention and response and the sharing of expertise and coordination needed for affecting this are addressed on a continuous basis.

2013-02 CESD Chapter 2 — Audit of the Financial Impact of Environmental Risks

Recommendation 2.50
Natural Resources Canada should complete its review of liability limits for nuclear activities subject to the Nuclear Liability Act and, as necessary, recommend increases to them.

Response
Agreed. The Department will complete its review of liability limits as a matter of priority and recommend changes as necessary.

Recommendation 2.55
Natural Resources Canada should complete its review of absolute liability limits for offshore oil and gas activities and recommend the revision of these limits, as necessary, to reflect the nature and significance of the potential risks.

Response
Agreed. The Department completed its review of the offshore oil and gas liability regime, including the regime’s absolute liability component. The Government, with its provincial partners, announced on June 18, 2013, its intent to further strengthen, jointly with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, the offshore liability regime and to ensure that the polluter pays.

2013-02 CESD Chapter 4 — Study of Federal Support to the Fossil Fuel Sector

No recommendations issued as this report is a study and not an audit.

External audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

N/A