Mining Week and Offshore Petroleum Amendments
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver spearheaded National Mining Week by sounding the siren at the Toronto Stock Exchange and he made comments to the media afterwards.
“Our Government is committed to the continued prosperity of Canada’s mining sector,” Oliver firmly stated.
“National Mining Week is an opportunity to highlight how realizing the potential of mining is essential to our Government’s goal of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians.”
Prior to the official event, Oliver met with TSX employees where he again reiterated the importance of our national mining industry as a vital cog to Canada’s economic well being.
“Mining continues to be a cornerstone of the Canadian economy, providing good jobs and benefits to communities across the country,” he added.
“While generating revenues for critical social programs like health care and education, the mining sector directly employs 330,000 Canadians and contributed $63 billion to Canada’s nominal GDP in 2011. This activity accounts for 3.9 percent of the total Canadian economy.”
Canada is one of the largest mining producers of any country in the world with about $150 billion in investments in more than 100 countries. Almost 60 per cent of the world’s publicly listed mining companies list on the TSX or the Toronto Venture Exchange.
“Our Government is also working closely with industry on the Green Mining Initiative to reduce the mining sector’s environmental footprint and to position Canada as a global leader in responsible mining development,” Oliver added.
Additionally the federal government and the provinces are teaming up to strengthen safety standards in the offshore oil and gas industry. Proposed amendments are going through the House of Commons as well as provincial legislatures.
“The proposed amendments introduce measures that will further enhance Canada’s offshore industries’ ability to operate safely and to the highest environmental standards,” says Oliver.
Amendments to the Offshore Petroleum Resource Accord
Amendments to the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act were tabled recently 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,” says Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.
“The changes proposed 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,” says 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,” notes 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.”