Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member from Saskatoon—Humboldt today.
Let me begin by saying I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the pipeline safety act and its critical importance to all Canadians.
Most Canadians hardly think twice about the impact pipelines have on their day-to-day lives. These energy highways are essential for delivering energy that Canadians need to heat our homes, power industries, and fuel our vehicles. When Canadians turn up the thermostat, we hardly bat an eye. We tend not to consider where energy comes from. Like mine, most homes in Canada are heated with natural gas, all of which is delivered by pipelines, but Canadians do not need to give it a second thought, because it all happens so safely and seamlessly every single day.
Behind the scenes is a vast network of federally regulated pipelines. There are some 73,000 kilometres throughout Canada. These pipelines transport $100 billion worth of oil and natural gas each year. When we stop to think about it, energy fuels our daily lives and pipelines carry that energy. Pipelines are used to move oil from producers to refineries and on to customers right across the country. Whether we travel by car, bus, train, boat, or airplane, our journey is fuelled by energy that was most likely transported by pipelines at some point.
The oil and gas sector is tremendously important to Canada. It generates almost 8% of Canada's gross domestic product. As members know, energy is our leading export. Central to all of this economic activity are Canada's pipelines. In fact, 94% of all Canadian transportation is fuelled by energy from petroleum products moved by pipelines.
One thing is certain: pipelines are the cornerstone of Canada's oil and gas sector and are also an important national industry. In 2012, pipelines added nearly $9 billion to Canada's gross domestic product and over 6,800 jobs. They also account for between $40 billion and $55 billion in private sector investment each year. That is a lot of dollars being invested in the Canadian economy.
It seems that Canadians cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the television these days without hearing about pipelines. Some Canadians have concerns about pipelines after a few recent incidents, but when it comes to safety, Canada's record is outstanding. In fact, our pipelines are among the safest in the world. Between 2008 and 2013, 99.999% of oil delivered through federally regulated pipelines arrived safely. As a result, our pipeline safety record easily tops that of Europe and the United States. What is more, during the last three years, 100% of the liquids spilled by these pipelines were completely recovered. Therefore, pipelines have proven to be one of the safest means of delivering the energy we all use.
Every day, Canadian pipeline companies move about three million barrels of oil. Moving the same amount of oil would require 15,000 tanker trucks or 4,200 railcars. Transporting oil through pipelines also consumes less energy and causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
However, we know we can always do better, and when it comes to the safety of Canadians and the safety of our environment, there is no second best. That is why new pipeline safety legislation is so important. With this legislation, the Government of Canada is building on its already impressive safety record through a suite of measures in the areas of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation. We are taking action to strengthen pipeline safety and modernize the National Energy Board Act.
This legislation proposes preventative measures that will clarify the rules and responsibilities of pipeline owners to prevent pipeline incidents, increase safety for Canadians, and better protect the environment. It will ensure that pipeline operators have the financial resources to respond in the unlikely event that an incident occurs. For example, major oil pipeline operators will be required to show proof of $1 billion in financial resources. In addition, they will be required to carry a certain portion of these resources as cash on hand in order to ensure an immediate response.
New regulations would also give the National Energy Board the power to directly administer tough new penalties that would address contraventions quickly so that larger issues would not arise in the future. We would enshrine the polluter pays principle in law so that polluters, not Canadian taxpayers, would be held financially responsible for the costs and damages they caused.
The bill also introduces absolute or no-fault liability. This means that pipeline operators would be held liable even when fault or negligence has not been proven. For companies operating major oil pipelines, the amount of absolute liability would be set at $1 billion. The pipeline safety act would also give the NEB authority to take control of incident response and cleanup if a company is unable or unwilling to do so. At the same time, it would expand the authority of the National Energy Board to recover costs from industry if the NEB ever steps in and takes charge.
Beyond the legislation itself, our government is taking a wider approach to pipeline safety and resource development. We are deeply committed to working directly with aboriginal peoples in all aspects of pipeline safety operations, including planning, monitoring, incident response, and related employment and business opportunities. We believe that aboriginal peoples must be partners in everything we do, from ensuring the safety of our pipeline system to protecting our marine environment from incidents to sharing in the benefits of developing our resources. That is why our Conservative government is working with aboriginal peoples to ensure the responsible development of our resources and the long-term prosperity of our communities for the benefit of all Canadians.
Taken together, these measures would ensure that Canada's pipeline safety system is world class and among the safest in the world. Building safe pipelines is something Canadians have done well for decades now; with the proposed legislation, we are making Canada's robust pipeline safety system even safer.
When it comes to the handling of oil and gas, our government should and will strive for the highest safety standards possible. Canadians expect and deserve nothing less. Canada's pipelines carry the products that fuel our economy, support the livelihoods of thousands of Canadians, and support our day-to-day high quality of life. I am a big promoter of continuing the great record we have.