OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 2, 2013) - The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada's Minister of Labour, today announced that cooperation between federal and provincial governments has resulted in legislative amendments to further strengthen safety in Canada's offshore oil and gas industry. Amendments are subject to passage through the House of Commons and provincial legislatures.
"Today's announcement is a result of our extensive collaboration with the provinces to protect Canadians working in the offshore oil and gas industry - a sector vital to jobs and our economy," said Minister Oliver. "The proposed amendments introduce measures that will further enhance Canada's offshore industries' ability to operate safely and to the highest environmental standards."
Amendments to the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, were tabled today in the House of Commons. They will also be tabled in the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador legislatures. The amendments will:
- Place authority and fundamental principles of occupational health and safety within the Accord Acts;
- Clarify the roles and responsibilities of governments, regulators, employers and employees. Notably, the federal Minister of Natural Resources and provincial labour ministers (in consultation with the federal Minister of Labour and Transport Canada) will develop regulations for offshore occupational health and safety, while the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NSOPB) and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) will administer the new legislation;
- Grant the offshore petroleum boards the authority to disclose information to the public related to occupational health and safety;
- Ensure that the new occupational health and safety regime clearly applies to workers in transit to or from offshore platforms, and it would require that the federal Minister of Transportation also recommend regulations related to the occupational health and safety of offshore workers in transit; and
- Provide clear and specific enforcement powers for occupational health and safety officers including the powers of inspection and investigation, warrant provisions, and order measures in case of dangerous situations.
"We are working to keep Canada's labour force strong, healthy and competitive in workplaces that are fair and safe," said Minister Raitt. "The changes proposed today will formally establish offshore workers' safety in legislation."
"The offshore petroleum industry is a good source of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for Nova Scotia, and making sure the industry is safe and workers are protected is a priority," said the Honourable Frank Corbett, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education for the Province of Nova Scotia. "This legislation complements the work underway to promote workplace safety in every industry across our province to ensure all workers, whether they are on land or at sea, return home safe from work."
"These amendments demonstrate the commitment of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to protect individuals working offshore and establish the legislative foundation for occupational health and safety within our oil and gas industry," said the Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Natural Resources for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. "The new regime will provide the necessary mechanisms to act on and support work to strengthen safety in our offshore, and we look forward to advancing provincial legislation."
The Minister of Natural Resources and the provincial ministers responsible for occupational health and safety will be jointly responsible for the new occupational health and safety legislation, while the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board will administer it. To ensure that federal labour expertise is provided on an ongoing basis, the Minister of Labour will be involved in the development of regulations and consulted on the issuance of directives to the boards and the appointments of special officers.
Providing this level of openness and clarity in addition to new, clear and specific enforcement powers will ensure that Canada's offshore regime continues to grow in strength and transparency.
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