The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Bill No. 18

Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (Amended)

An Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1987, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act

Introduced by:
Honourable Andrew Younger
Minister of Energy

First Reading
Second Reading Debates
Second Reading Passed
Law Amendments Committee
    Meeting Date(s) October 27, 2014
    Reported to the House
Committee of the Whole House
Third Reading Debates
Third Reading
Royal Assent
Commencement Upon proclamation; except ss. 1, 5, 14, 15, 17(a)(b), 18, 20, 21, and 32: July 28, 2015; and ss. 11, 17(1)(c) and 31: November 20, 2014; and Sections 2 to 4, 6 to 10, 12, 13, 16, clauses (d) to (f) of Section 17 and Sections 19, 22 to 30 and 33 to 37: February 26, 2016
2014 Statutes, Chapter 43

Explanatory Note

Clause 1 adds a definition of the expression “spill-treating agent”.

Clause 2 updates cross-references in a Section that requires consultation by the provincial Minister responsible for the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (the “Accord Act”) with his or her federal counterpart before the making of regulations under certain provisions of the Accord Act.

Clause 3 allows the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting fees or charges in respect of services or products provided by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (the “Board”) or in relation to its activities, and providing that such fees or charges collected be split evenly between the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia.

Clause 4 corrects the name of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Clause 5 provides for the holding of public hearings by the Board in its capacity as a responsible authority under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and allows the Board to take measures to ensure the confidentiality of certain information that would otherwise be disclosed at the hearings.

Clause 6 provides that the Board may not make an order requiring an owner of any interest in relation to any portion of a significant discovery area to drill if the interest owner has completed a well on the relevant portion of the offshore area within the preceding six months.

Clause 7 removes the authority of the Governor in Council to make regulations prescribing fees, a power made redundant by the enactment of Section 30A by this Act.

Clause 8 removes a reference to “test hole” from the definition of “well termination date” and expands the Board’s authority to disclose information that it obtains under the Accord Act.

Clause 9

(a) requires the Board to give notice of its intention to disclose information or documentation to the person who provided the information or documentation to the Board;

(b) allows the person to make representations to the Board as to why the information and documentation should not be disclosed; and

(c) provides for review of the Board’s decision to disclose by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia upon application.

Clause 10 expands the purpose of Part III of the Accord Act to include the promotion of accountability in accordance with the “polluter pays” principle.

Clause 11 corrects a cross-reference in the Accord Act.

Clause 12 expands the Board’s powers to delegate to include the delegation of the Board’s powers under Section 159A as enacted by this Act.

Clause 13 updates cross-references and modernizes the language of the Accord Act.

Clause 14

(a) authorizes the Board to issue a decision statement referred to under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 in respect of physical activity to which an application for an authorization or the approval of a development plan relates;

(b) defines physical activity for that purpose;

(c) prescribes how the period for rendering a decision statement is to be calculated when the applicant must provide information or undertake a study; and

(d) authorizes the Board to establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in such environmental assessments.

Clause 15 restricts when the Board may permit the use of a spill-treating agent in an authorization.

Clause 16 requires the Board to ensure that an applicant has the financial resources necessary to account for its potential liability before issuing an authorization for a work or activity.

Clause 17 updates the regulation-making powers to reflect the amendments contained elsewhere in this Act and corrects an incorrect cross-reference.

Clause 18 provides for the amendment of Schedules V and VI, as enacted by this Act, by order of the Governor in Council.

Clause 19 allows the Board to publish guidelines and interpretations on the application and administration of subsection 160(1A) and regulations made under Sections 30A and 146.

Clause 20 updates the definitions of “spill”, “actual loss or damage” and “debris” that apply in Sections 158 to 162 of the Accord Act.

Clause 21 governs the use of spill-treating agents.

Clause 22

(a) expands liability for a spill or authorized discharge to include all actual loss or damage incurred as a result of any action or measure taken in relation to the spill or discharge and all loss of non-use value relating to a public resource that is affected by the spill or discharge or as a result of any action or measure taken in relation to the spill or discharge;

(b) expands liability for damages as a result of debris, or as a result of any action or measure taken in relation to debris, to include liability for loss of non-use value relating to a public resource;

(c) provides for vicarious liability in respect of contractors;

(d) expands the absolute liability of authorization holders to $1 billion, or such greater amount as the Governor in Council sets by regulation;

(e) governs the liability of authorization holders under other laws; and

(f) provides that only Her Majesty in right of Nova Scotia or Canada may bring an action to recover a loss of non-use value and ranks the priority of such claims in relation to those for actual loss and the costs and expenses in taking any action or measure in relation to the spill or the authorized discharge.

Clause 23 governs the proof of financial resources to satisfy potential liability that an authorization holder is required to provide to the Board.

Clause 24

(a) requires an applicant for an authorization to drill for or develop or produce petroleum to provide a letter of credit, guarantee or indemnity bond in the amount of $100 million or such greater amount as the Board determines;

(b) provides for the establishment of a $250 million pooled industry fund as an alternative means of providing proof of financial responsibility;

(c) allows the Governor in Council to require, by regulation, an increase in the amount held in the pooled fund;

(d) specifies how long the proof of financial responsibility must remain in place;

(e) allows the Board to require that money be paid out of the letter of credit, guarantee, indemnity bond or pooled fund in respect of claims made; and

(f) requires an authorization holder to reimburse the pooled fund for money paid out of the fund in respect of claims against the authorization holder.

Clause 25 allows the Minister, upon the recommendation of the Board and with the approval of the federal Minister responsible for the Accord Act, to approve a limit of absolute liability under proposed subsection 159(2B) that is less than $1 billion or an amount for proof of financial responsibility under clause 160(1)(a) that is less than $250 million.

Clause 26 prescribes sentencing principles and aggravating factors to be considered by a court when sentencing a person who has committed an offence under Part III of the Accord Act.

Clause 27 authorizes the court sentencing a person who has been convicted of an offence under Part III of the Accord Act to make an order requiring the offender to do or abstain from doing certain things and provides for the enforcement of unpaid fines and to vary the order if the offender’s circumstances change.

Clause 28 establishes a regime for imposing administrative monetary penalties.

Clauses 29 and 30 add headings to the Act.

Clause 31 corrects a cross-reference in Schedule IV of the Accord Act.

Clause 32 enacts the Schedules referred to in proposed subsections 146A(1), 158A(1) and 158B(3).

Clauses 33 to 37 enact amendments to this Act, Chapter 16 of the Acts of 2013 and the Accord Act to deal with the co-ordination of the coming into force of this Act and Chapter 16 of the Acts of 2013.

Clause 38 governs the coming into force of this Act.