Vol. 148, No. 25 — December 3, 2014
SI/2014-103 December 3, 2014
OFFSHORE HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
Order Fixing the Day on which this Order is published and December 31, 2014 as the Days on which Certain Sections of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2014-1267 November 20, 2014
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Natural Resources, pursuant to section 121 of the Offshore Health and Safety Act, chapter 13 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, fixes
- (a) the day on which this Order is published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, as the day on which sections 45 and 84 of that Act come into force; and
- (b) December 31, 2014, as the day on which sections 2 to 44, 46 to 83, 85 to 93 and 96 to 119 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order in Council, made pursuant to section 121 of the Offshore Health and Safety Act, which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, fixes the day on which this Order is published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, as the day on which sections 45 and 84 of the Offshore Health and Safety Act come into force, and December 31, 2014, as the day on which sections 2 to 44, 46 to 83, 85 to 93, and 96 to 119 of the same Act come into force.
The responsible development of Canada’s natural resources is a core element of the Government of Canada’s priority to create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. The health and safety of workers in Canadian offshore oil and gas activities are integral to this priority.
The Offshore Health and Safety Act (the Act) implements an occupational health and safety (OHS) regime in each of the two Atlantic offshore areas: the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area and the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area. Given the joint federal-provincial management of the offshore petroleum resources in those areas, the Act clarifies roles and responsibilities and develops an enforceable, modern OHS regime tailored to the unique circumstances of the Atlantic offshore areas.
This Order will bring certain sections of the Offshore Health and Safety Act into force
- 1) Sections 45 and 84 will come into force to fix the day on which this Order is published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These two provisions enable the federal Minister of Natural Resources in conjunction with his provincial counterparts, upon the recommendation of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board or the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, to designate the officers who will administer and enforce the OHS regime;
- 2) Sections 2 to 44, 46 to 83, 85 to 93, and 96 to 119 of the Act will come into force on December 31, 2014. Given that the full implementation of the new regimes relies on designated officers being in place (a process that will take several weeks) sections 45 and 84 will come into force on a minimum of 30 days before the rest of the Act.
The federal government established joint management of offshore petroleum resources through an agreement with the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and an agreement with the provincial government of Nova Scotia (NS). These two agreements, and their respective implementing statutes (the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, the Accord acts), govern offshore oil and gas activities in each of the two areas. The Accord acts are unique amongst federal laws in that they are mirrored, or replicated, in the respective provincial legislation of NL and of NS. The Accords acts created two independent regulators responsible for regulating all activities in each area on behalf of both the federal and provincial governments: the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB).
The need to provide clear statutory authority with respect to occupational health and safety in the Atlantic offshore areas was identified following a workplace fatality in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area in 1998. The legal uncertainty surrounding which legislation applied or which regulator had jurisdiction led the governments of Canada, NL and NS to agree to place the authority for occupational health and safety within the Accord acts and to have the offshore boards administer on behalf of both levels of government. The Offshore Health and Safety Act is the result of this agreement. In the interim (since 1999) worker safety in the offshore has been regulated by the CNSOPB and CNLOPB through the inclusion of OHS requirements as conditions in every CNLOPB and CNSOPB work authorization.
The Act provides the CNSOPB and the CNLOPB with specific, concrete statutory authorities to administer OHS in each respective offshore area on behalf of both levels of government. The Act provides clear roles and responsibilities to the various participants in the offshore, creates new inspection and enforcement powers for offshore board officers, and clearly applies to passengers in transit to and from offshore worksites. The Act also creates a new joint management governance model in which the Minister of Natural Resources and the respective provincial minister responsible for OHS are jointly responsible for the oversight of the OHS portion of the respective accord act.
The Offshore Health and Safety Act is structured as follows:
- OHS governance framework: creates the new federal-provincial joint management regime for offshore OHS. The Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Labour may jointly recommend regulations to the Governor in Council, with the approval of the provincial minister.
- Social legislation: clarifies that NS non-OHS social legislation applies in Canada-NS offshore area and that NL non-OHS social legislation applies in the Canada-NL offshore area.
- Duties and responsibilities: clarifies respective OHS roles of operators, interest holders, suppliers, service providers and others.
- Workers in transit: makes explicit that the new OHS regime applies immediately before and during transport to workplaces, that workers may refuse to be transported, and that OHS officers may inspect ships and helicopters being used to transport workers.
- Enforcement provisions: extends new powers for action in exigent circumstances to OHS officers and extends the same powers to officers enforcing operational safety and resource conservation.
- Appeals provisions: creates a process to appeal the decision of an OHS officer modelled after the respective provincial appeals processes.
The Accord acts in general and the new OHS regime are a tangible demonstration of the strong federal-provincial partnership that exists and the willingness to partner for the safe and responsible development of Canada’s Atlantic offshore resources. The development of offshore oil and gas resources is important to NL and NS, as well as to the Canadian economy.
The Offshore Health and Safety Act will improve Canada’s already strong regime and enhance worker safety by providing clarity to individuals and firms on the roles and responsibilities for all those involved in Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry in the Atlantic accord areas.
There will be no additional costs involved with bringing the Offshore Health and Safety Act into force as a result of this Order.
Collaboration between the Government of Canada, NL and NS to develop the Act was comprehensive, and took place over the course of more than 10 years. Multiple departments from each government were involved. The implicated federal departments were Natural Resources Canada, the Labour Program, Transport Canada and the Department of Justice. Both the federal and provincial governments also sought technical and operational advice from the CNSOPB and the CNLOPB.
In 2010, the federal and provincial governments also consulted with industry associations representing the offshore oil and gas industry (e.g. the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers), labour federations and labour unions, as well as all Aboriginal groups in NL and NS. Industry is broadly supportive of the Act, labour interests generally welcomed the initiative, and no specific points of concern related to the OHS regime contemplated in the Act were raised by Aboriginal groups.
For additional information, please contact
Natural Resources Canada
Frontier Lands Management Division
580 Booth Street
165 Hôtel-de-Ville Street