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Provincial-Federal Cooperation Strengthens Occupational Health and Safety Practices in Canada’s Atlantic Offshore

December 18

The Honourable Tony Cornect, Minister of Service NL, together with the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, Government of Nova Scotia, today announced that on December 31, 2014, new occupational health and safety provisions for Canada’s Atlantic offshore will come into force.

“As Minister responsible for occupational health and safety in Newfoundland and Labrador, I’m pleased these enhancements to the Atlantic Accord will strengthen the occupational health and safety regime for the offshore oil and gas industry in the province. The amendments are tailored to the offshore working environment and incorporate fundamental OHS principles including a worker’s right to refusal, a worker’s right to know, and a worker’s right to reprisal protection for raising health and safety concerns. I’m also pleased that the legislation clearly allocates responsibility amongst operators, employers, workers, and suppliers on matters related to health and safety.”
– The Honourable Tony Cornect, Minister of Service NL, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

The federal and provincial legislation, referred to as the Accord Acts in each offshore area, strengthens Canada’s already robust offshore regulatory system by enabling the highest standards for worker safety, environmental protection and management of petroleum resources.

“The Offshore Health and Safety Act enshrines in law the highest standards of safety for Canadians working in the offshore oil and gas industries. Our Government is working in partnership with provincial governments to create jobs and economic growth in Atlantic Canada by ensuring that our offshore oil and gas resources are developed in a way that is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.”
– The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

The amendments to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada-Nova Scotia Accord Acts clarify the roles and responsibilities of operators, governments, employers, employees and regulators.

“Nova Scotia is committed to improving occupational health and safety standards and regulations in the offshore. This legislation is a significant step forward for the safety of offshore workers.”
– The Honourable Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, Government of Nova Scotia

The legislative amendments are the result of extensive collaboration between the Governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, will continue to administer the legislation and regulations on behalf of the Federal and Provincial Governments. All parties will continue to work together to ensure Canada maintains one of the strongest offshore safety regimes in the world.


  • New legislation pertaining to occupational health and safety will enter into force on December 31, 2014, in both Atlantic Accord offshore areas.
  • It places clear authority for occupational health and safety within each Accord Act.
  • The Minister of Natural Resources will be jointly responsible with the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Ministers of Labour for the new Part III.1 of each Accord Act. Provincially, the Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Natural Resources and the Nova Scotia Minister of Energy remain responsible, with the federal Minister of Natural Resources, for the overall Accord Act, including operational safety elements. This joint responsibility underscores Canada’s collaborative approach to managing the offshore petroleum resources in the two Atlantic Accord areas.
  • While the new occupational health and safety regulations are being developed, transitional regulations will apply.
  • Activities in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area accounted for about 28 per cent of the nominal provincial GDP in 2012. Newfoundland and Labrador has received $8.4 billion in royalties from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area and Nova Scotia has received $2 billion in royalties from the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area.

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