Mr. Speaker, I am addressing the House from my home on the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and Wahnapitae peoples.
As members know, this is a very important bill. When we look at the oil-producing provinces here, with the minister's own province of Newfoundland, this is really an important issue to the minister. This is really an important issue that affects his neighbours and friends when we look at offshore issues that we have dealt with.
When the minister first started to work here, with former premier Brian Tobin, he was 20 years old, and that was 20 years ago. At the time, there was only one platform under construction, which was the Hibernia. When we look then and now, we know that developing the platform designs and fabrication work completely ensures that we could work safely in one of the harshest environments there is. Ultimately, achieving first oil was crucial for the financial future of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Today, we have a proud and mature industry, one that has accounted for 30% of the province's GDP, 13% of the labour compensation and 10% of employment over the years. It has been successful because of the people at the heart of this, the determined and proud workers, but also because of efforts by this government to support the industry. Let me be clear: There has been no government that has done more for the Newfoundland labour offshore than this government, not since the time of Brian Mulroney and John Crosbie.
In the face of challenges, we had our workers' backs. We introduced a dedicated offshore component to the emissions reduction fund to address our common mission to lower emissions, and we look forward to having more to say on this program soon.
We provided $320 million to the provincial government to support workers and increase the environmental performance of the offshore, real action to maintain jobs and protect the future of this sector. We cut through a system that represented government at its worst, reducing regulatory hurdles and cutting down on a lot of the environmental assessments, from an astounding 905 days to 90 days, without losing an inch of the environmental integrity. We did this understanding how crucial the sector has been for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The industry provided the province, the provincial government, with more than $20 billion in royalties between 1997 and 2019, funding key services and infrastructure, from health and education to highways and hockey rinks. A similar story could be told for the offshore impact of our neighbours in Nova Scotia. That province's two natural gas projects created jobs for Nova Scotians before they were decommissioned.
When we look at the capital spending, it was about $8.5 billion over 20 years, and $1.9 billion in royalty payments between 2000 and 2017. Most importantly, our offshore impacts people, supports workers, builds communities. In my province, in Newfoundland, where the minister is right now, and it also applies to Nova Scotia, this industry has created an opportunity to generate hope, reunite families and establish livelihoods.
Building this industry has not been easy. We have had to deal with the engineering challenges of safety, extracting oil in the unforgiving North Atlantic, where storms can cause rogue waves as high as 20 or 30 metres, in what the CEO of Exxon Mobil has described to me as a very harsh environment to operate in, one of the harshest places in the world.
The first was the Ocean Ranger tragedy in 1982, which left 84 people dead, 54 of whom were Newfoundlanders. The resulting royal commission led to many safety improvements. The minister was young at the time, but he remembers the delivery of The Evening Telegram newspaper, which carried the news. It was something that shook the minister and a lot of people in the community. Equally agonizing was the sense of helplessness and pain.
Despite these challenges, tragedy struck again in 2009. Mechanical problems sent a helicopter taking 18 workers to the offshore platform plunging into the Atlantic. Only one somehow miraculously survived. A public inquiry after the 2009 tragedy led to the proposed reforms that were largely incorporated under the Offshore Health and Safety Act passed in 2014.
That brings me to the objective of the legislation we are now debating. Bill S-3, as amended by our colleagues in the other place, would give Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland better health and safety regulations for our workers. Passing it would make sure that transitional regulations from 2014 would apply retroactively to January 1 of this year.
I realize this whole process is taking far too long and we are all frustrated. I will explain the reasons for the delay shortly, but let me first speak about the spirit of the act. The Offshore Health and Safety Act clarifies the roles of both levels of government, as well as regulators, in preventing accidents and injuries. It outlines the safety roles played by everyone involved, from owners, operators and employers to supervisors, employees and contractors.
In addition, the act added the following to the safety regime: a new appeal process when someone is accused of violating the rules; the establishment or clarification of employee rights, including the right to refuse dangerous work without the risk of reprisal; a workplace culture that makes clear that these safety concerns are a shared responsibility of everyone involved; an efficiency regulatory regime that contains no jurisdictions of inconsistency; and finally, the inclusion of the transportation of employees to and from these sites.
I want to focus now on the parts of the act that are especially relevant to today's discussion. I am referring to the creation of the 2014 transitional regulations so that three governments could take the time to do this right and finalize permanent regulations.
This transition arrangement was set to expire at the end of 2020. The Government of Canada is asking, through Bill S-3, for an additional year, to December 31 of this year, to get this done. I would be among the first to acknowledge that it seems at first glance rather surprising that we would take up to seven years to finalize this process. This is complex work. These regulations run close to 300 pages. They need to be translated. We need to go over them with a fine-tooth comb to ensure they are precise and consistent in both official languages.
These regulations incorporate by reference 173 domestic and international health and safety standards, which are contained in a document totalling more than 15,000 pages. We need all three levels of government to vet and approve these finalized regulations, which would involve multiple ministries and two joint management regulatory boards. We have to respect our joint management framework. We have to work in partnership, and sometimes that takes more time, but that is how we develop the best legal framework in the world to protect our workers and how we constantly improve it. That is why it is the best. It is strengthened by consulting others, unions, companies and Canadians.
Other challenges are that while others on these permanent regulations—