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Atlantic Occupational Health and Safety Initiative

In 2014, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Initiative was established. It represents a partnership between the Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, with advice from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB).

The main objective of the initiative is to establish permanent occupational health and safety regulations in each of the Canada-NL and Canada-NS offshore areas that are appropriate for the unique hazards that exist in remote, offshore petroleum workplaces, and thereby ensuring the health and safety of offshore employees and other personnel in the workplace. Accordingly, there will be two regulations – one for each offshore area – which are nearly identical and will be mirrored by provincial regulations in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Concurrent to the Atlantic OHS Initiative, the Frontier and Offshore Regulatory Renewal Initiative (FORRI) is working to modernize the regulatory framework for frontier and offshore oil and gas activities in Canada with the 'Framework Regulations'.

These initiatives aim to advance the already high standards for health and safety, environmental protection, and resource management in offshore oil and gas areas of Canada.

OHS Initiative Partnership

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 passengers in transit 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.

Background

Background

On December 31, 2014, amendments to the federal Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador 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 were temporarily put in place to support the occupational health and safety (OHS) provisions in the Accord Acts while new OHS regulations were being developed.

CONTACT US

Offshore Petroleum Management Division (OPMD)

Kim Phillips
Senior Regulatory Officer
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 17-A2-1
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E4
kim.phillips@canada.ca

OHS Regulations

Atlantic Offshore Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

The Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, as partners, together with the offshore regulators (the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board), are working towards developing comprehensive draft regulations to replace the 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 regulations, once developed (expected to be completed by December 2021).

TRANSITIONAL REGULATIONS

Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area:

Nova Scotia Offshore Area:

OBJECTIVE

The main objective of this proposal is to establish permanent occupational health and safety regulations in each of the Canada-NL and Canada-NS offshore areas that are appropriate for the unique hazards that exist in remote, offshore petroleum workplaces, and therefore ensure the health and safety of offshore employees and other personnel in the workplace. Accordingly, this proposal contains two regulations – one for each offshore area – which are nearly identical and will be mirrored by provincial regulations in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

A secondary objective is to provide flexibility to internationally flagged MODUs and ships to more easily comply with the established health and safety requirements while working in Canada’s offshore Accord areas.

Early Engagement

Early Engagement Through the Regulatory Development Process

The OHS Initiative Partners are committed to meaningful and transparent engagement with stakeholders, Indigenous groups, and the public. The policy intent and draft regulations were subject to a comprehensive engagement and consultation process.

Stakeholders have been engaged at numerous stages in the regulatory development process. The objective of early engagement has been to obtain input on the development of policy intent and on the proposed regulatory requirements.

Stakeholders included the offshore workforce; labour unions; oil and gas operators and employers; regulators; certifying authorities; drilling, geophysical/seismic and diving contractors; helicopter and marine transfer service providers; industry associations; and, companies engaged in the offshore service and supply sector. Indigenous groups in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia were also given opportunities to engage in the regulatory development process.

NRCan and its provincial partners held engagement opportunities in Spring 2015, Summer 2016, and Summer and Fall 2017 on various topical areas to obtain input into the draft policy intent that would support the development of the regulations for both offshore areas. Engagement opportunities included written comment periods as well as in-person sessions held in both St. John’s, NL, and Halifax, NS. The input and advice received during these sessions helped to shape the final policy intent, which was presented at a follow-up engagement session in Spring 2018. This session provided an opportunity for government partners to demonstrate to stakeholders how feedback received in earlier engagements had been considered and incorporated into the consolidated policy intent, which would form the basis of the drafting instructions for the proposed Regulations for each offshore area.

Past, 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.

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

Engagement on Initial Policy Intent

Policy Intent and Submitted Comments– Phase 1

Policy Intent and Submitted Comments – Phase 2

Offshore Diving Policy Intent and Submitted Comments

Policy Intent and Submitted Comments – Phase 3

Policy Intent and Submitted Comments – Phase 4

Consultation on Proposed Regulations

Pre-publication in Canada Gazette I of the proposed OHS regulations is expected in the summer of 2021.

The purpose of pre-publication is to give those who are interested an opportunity to provide comments.

Feedback collected during this stage will be considered before the regulations are published in Canada Gazette, Part II.

Early Engagement on Policy Intent

The development of the policy intent for the OHS Regulations is complete. All documentation and feedback related to the policy intent is posted below.

Note:

Some of the information below has been provided by external sources. The Government of Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information. Content provided by external sources is not subject to official languages, privacy and accessibility requirements.

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)

Feedback consisted of the following submissions:

Phase 4: Consolidated Revised Policy Intent (PDF, 1.15 MB)

Feedback consisted of the following submissions:

Early Engagement on Draft Regulations

In March 2021, an early draft of the regulations was shared for review by provincial government partners, the C-NLOPB and CNSOPB, and key stakeholders who participated and submitted comments into the early engagement sessions.

For efficiency and ease of this review, and because the two regulations for the Canada-Nova Scotia and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador  offshore areas are nearly identical, engagement on the pre-publication draft regulation was on the Can-NL version only, but input was considered in finalizing the proposed regulations for both offshore areas.

Documentation and submitted comments from stakeholders on the pre-publication draft of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and responses to concerns that were raised or clarifications are provided below.

Early and ongoing engagement with stakeholders has allowed local industry expertise to be leveraged and has helped to formulate the foundation for the proposed OHS regulations, which are anticipated to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I in the summer of 2021, along with the proposed Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Relevant links and comments will be posted in the CG1 tab as that process unfolds.

Stakeholder Comments and Responses

Approximately 400 comments and questions were submitted on the technical content of the draft OHS regulations. All input was reviewed and considered by NRCan and its provincial and regulatory partners and the draft regulations were revised accordingly. Letters were provided to stakeholders in response to their submissions, see stakeholder response letters for additional information.

Note:

Some of the information below has been provided by external sources. The Government of Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information. Content provided by external sources is not subject to official languages, privacy and accessibility requirements.

Feedback consisted of the following submissions:

Stakeholder response letters:

Canada Gazette
Part I

Pre-publication is expected in Summer 2021 and this page will be updated with the link to the CG1 page, once it has been pre-published.

Offshore Oil and Gas Management

Offshore Oil and Gas Management

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 Canada-NL and Canada-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.
 
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