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Frontier and Offshore Regulatory Renewal Initiative


The Frontier and Offshore Regulatory Renewal Initiative (FORRI) is a federal-provincial partnership working to modernize the regulatory framework for frontier and offshore oil and gas activities in Canada.

FORRI's current focus is on the development of a modern suite of operational requirements for frontier and offshore oil and gas activities, termed the 'Framework Regulations'.

Concurrent to FORRI's work, the Atlantic Occupational Health and Safety Initiative is modernizing the occupational health and safety regulations for offshore oil and gas activities in Canada.

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



FORRI Partners

FORRI is an intergovernmental partnership between Natural Resources Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources. The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, and the Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) are also participants in this initiative.

Past Work

FORRI oversaw the modernization of Canada Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations (2009). It also led the development of three new regulations– Administrative Monetary Penalties, Cost Recovery, and Financial Requirements– to implement the federal Energy Safety and Security Act (2015), and the provincial Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act (Amended) – Bill 18 and the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act (Amended) – Bill 2.

Framework Regulations

Framework Regulations


FORRI's current focus is to modernize and amalgamate five existing regulations (Drilling and Production; Geophysical Operations; Certificate of Fitness; Operations; Installations) into one set of operational requirements, known as the 'Framework Regulations'. The Framework Regulations will:


When completed, the Framework Regulations will apply to any entity authorized to explore, drill, produce, conserve, process and/or transport oil and gas in Canada's frontier and offshore areas. The requirements set out in the Framework Regulations will be the same across Canada, but the enabling legislation will differ depending on the location of the activity.

Changes made through FORRI must fall within the scope of the enabling legislation.

Regulatory Development Process

There are five major stages to regulatory development in Canada:

  • Developing policy intent to inform the drafting of the regulations
  • Drafting regulations
  • Pre-publication in Canada Gazette I
  • Public comment period on draft regulations
  • Publication in Canada Gazette II

FORRI has initiated early engagement with stakeholders, interested parties, and Indigenous groups, which is occurring during the development of Policy Intent for the Framework Regulations.

Guide to the Federal Regulatory Development Process



The FORRI partners are committed to meaningful and transparent engagement with stakeholders, Indigenous groups, and the public.

Engagement on Policy Intent

To date, engagement on the policy intent for the Framework Regulations has resulted in the following submissions:

Powers, Applications, Management Systems and Operator Duties Reporting and Resource Management Installations and Operations

Framework Regulations Revised Policy Intent

Engagement on Draft Regulations

There will be an opportunity to review and comment on draft regulations when pre-published in Canada Gazette Part I. Feedback collected during this stage will be considered and incorporated before the regulations are published in Canada Gazette, Part II.

Offshore Oil and Gas Management

Offshore Oil and Gas Management

Administrative Areas

Regulations developed through the FORRI apply to frontier and offshore oil and gas areas in Canada.

The provincial Governments of Nova Scotia (NS) and Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) have respective agreements with the federal government to jointly manage offshore administrative areas (the Accord Areas) in the Canada-NS and Canada-NL offshore areas. The federal Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and their mirror provincial versions (NS, NL), known collectively as the Accord Acts, define the management regime of the Accord Areas and provide the legislative framework for the regulations developed through FORRI.

Outside of the Accord Areas, regulations are applied under the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA) and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA) with powers as follows:

Offshore and Frontier Oil and Gas Jurisdictions in Canada
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NRCan (CPRA) and NEB (COGOA) administrative area

AANDC (CPRA) and NEB (COGOA) administrative area

Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board administrative area

Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board administrative area

Prospective Canada-Quebec Joint Management Area

Saint Pierre et Miquelon (France)


  1. For the purposes of this map, these administrative areas are shown to extend only to 200 nm (M). These administrative areas extend beyond 200 M to outer limits 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Subject to Parliamentary approval.
  4. Locations and representation of the jurisdiction areas are approximate.

Regulators of Offshore Oil and Gas Activity

The Accord Acts and regulations are applied in the Accord Areas by the responsible governing Board – an independent joint agency of the federal and respective provincial governments.

The Canada Energy Regulator is responsible for regulating frontier and offshore oil and gas activities outside of provincial-federal Accord Areas.

Regulatory Approach

The offshore oil and gas industry operates as a permissive-based regime, meaning that any work or activity to be conducted in the offshore area must first be authorized by the Regulator. The Regulator must ensure the operation or activity would comply with the applicable legislation and regulations.

The regulatory modernization work under FORRI aims to create a regulatory framework that maintains the highest standards for operational safety, environmental protection and management of resources.

Contact Us

Offshore Petroleum Management Division (OPMD)
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 17-A2-1
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E4

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