This enactment implements the accord between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec for the joint management of petroleum resources in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
It establishes a regime for the governance of oil and gas activities in the area referred to in the Accord (the petroleum resources joint management area), including all aspects relating to the exploration for and development of petroleum resources by enacting new legislation that, among other things
(a) defines the limits of the joint management area and establishes a dispute resolution mechanism to settle any dispute between Quebec and any other province that is a party to a joint management agreement with the Government of Canada that arises in relation to the limits of the joint management area;
(b) establishes that some regulatory functions will be governed jointly by the National Energy Board and Quebec’s Régie de l’énergie while other mostly land tenure-related functions will be the joint responsibility of the Minister of Natural Resources and the Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources;
(c) provides that petroleum exploration and production activities in the joint management area will be subject to environmental assessment requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and Quebec’s Environment Quality Act;
(d) establishes a regime for occupational health and safety for workers and the management of labour relations in the joint management area;
(e) provides the mechanism for issuing interests and calls for bids;
(f) expressly includes the “polluter pays” principle, which is consistent with the view that the liability of at-fault operators is unlimited;
(g) provides that the limit of liability to which certain operators are subject in the event of a spill or damages caused by debris is $1 billion, without proof of fault or negligence;
(h) provides that any applicant for an authorization for the drilling for or development or production of petroleum must demonstrate that they have the necessary financial resources to pay the greatest of the amounts of the applicable limits of liability;
(i) identifies the circumstances in which privileged information or documentation may be disclosed;
(j) establishes a legal framework to permit the safe use of spill-treating agents in specific circumstances;
(k) provides for the sharing of royalties and other revenue resulting from the production of petroleum in the joint management area and the manner of transferring equivalent amounts to the Government of Quebec;
(l) provides for the sharing of tax revenues; and
(m) creates an administrative monetary penalty scheme.
Lastly, it make consequential amendments to other Acts.