Oil & Gas Product News Logo

Better rules for major projects become law in Canada: Federal government

Canada's new approach to impact assessments is designed to protect the environment and grow the economy

Government of Canada logo.
"With the passage of this bill, our government is working to strengthen environmental protection, restore trust in how decisions are made, and grow the economy."

A strong economy depends on a healthy environment. The Government of Canada is enshrining in law better rules for major projects that protect the environment and communities, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and ensure good projects can go forward, creating good jobs and economic opportunities for middle-class Canadians. 

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, and Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, welcome the Royal Assent of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act, and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, granted by Her Excellency, the Governor General of Canada.

"Better rules mean protecting our environment, making transparent, science-based decisions, and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples while growing our economy. We have delivered on our promise to include Canadians in decisions about resource development and restore environmental protections," McKenna said. "With hundreds of major resource projects and billions of dollars in investment planned across Canada in the decade ahead, better rules are essential to make sure good projects can move forward while protecting the places Canadians love for our kids and grandkids."

With the passage of this bill, the government says it is working to strengthen environmental protection, restore trust in how decisions are made, and grow the economy.

Better rules mean that, going forward, decisions on projects will be guided by science, evidence and Indigenous knowledge. Assessments will look at both positive and negative environmental, economic, social, and health impacts of potential projects.

"We have delivered a major commitment to Canadians, putting in place better rules that ensure good projects go ahead, and create new jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class, and those working hard to join it. These rules provide certainty and clarity companies have been looking for, encouraging investment in Canada's natural resources sectors," Sohi said.

To support Canada's competitiveness and attract investment, the new impact assessment system provides clear expectations and shorter legislated timelines, and aims to avoid duplication with other jurisdictions with 'one project, one review.' Better rules will give companies and investors the certainty and clarity they need, and ensure good projects can move forward in a timely way, the government has stated.

By recognizing Indigenous rights, culture, and interests in project reviews, and working in partnership from the start, the Government of Canada will advance reconciliation, and arrive at better project decisions. This legislation increases opportunities for Indigenous peoples to be active partners and to be consulted in impact assessments from the outset.

Restoring lost protections under the new Canadian Navigable Waters Act will be expanded to better protect the right to travel on all navigable waters in Canada, covering countless rivers, lakes and other waterways. This includes extra protections for those waterways most important to Canadians and Indigenous peoples.

"Our government knows how important our vast network of oceans, rivers, lakes and canals are for Canadians. The Canadian Navigable Waters Act ensures Indigenous rights are respected, and provides a clear, transparent and public process for impact assessment, so that project developers can plan with greater certainty. With this act, we are restoring lost protections for the public right to travel on all navigable waters in Canada," Garneau said.

The government states it listened to Canadians every step of the way as the legislation was developed. It heard from Indigenous peoples, companies, provinces and territories, environmental groups, and the public over three years, as well as Members of Parliament, and used that input to strengthen the bill.

With hundreds of major resource projects - worth over $500 billion in investment -  planned across Canada over the next 10 years, these better rules are essential to protect the environment and communities while making sure good projects can get built to create jobs for the middle class, according to the government.

Quick facts

  • The date for Coming into Force will be determined by the Governor in Council following Royal Assent.
  • Clear rules for transitioning to the new system are outlined in the legislation.
  • Companies currently undergoing an assessment under the previous legislation will have the option to continue under that system or "opt-in" to the new system. No project will have to go back to the starting line.
  • Over the span of the review, the government held public meetings, and received hundreds of written submissions, and thousands of comments from Canadians. We also heard from Expert Panels and Parliamentary committees that held meetings and received presentations and public comments.
  • With the best interest of Canadians at the heart of the decision, the House of Commons accepted 62 amendments and modified a further 37, accepting a total of 99 of the Senate's recommended amendments.

More from Environmental

$2 billion TransAlta energy investment move to include natural gas over coal

TransAlta Corporation has introduced its Clean Energy Investment Plan, which includes converting its existing Alberta coal assets to natural gas and advancing its leadership position in renewable energy. The total cost of the plan is expected to be approximately $2 billion which includes approximately $800 million of renewable energy projects already under construction.

MGX Minerals announces oilsands lithium extraction and wastewater treatment system deployments

MGX Minerals Inc. and engineering partner PurLucid Treatment Solutions are pleased to report a second deployment of an advanced wastewater treatment system is near completion and commissioning is expected shortly. The system is capable of processing up to 10 cubic metres per hour. The system will significantly reduce greenhouse gases through energy savings on steam generation. The technology provides superior treatment outcomes when compared to conventional technology which requires offsite trucking and high cost (due to toxicity) disposal. 

Latest mobile dust suppression design features Tier 4 Final Gen Set

BossTek has updated its family of self-powered dust suppression equipment with Tier IV Final-compliant generators, ensuring compliance in all 50 states and Canada.  BossTek made the announcement with the debut of the new DustBoss DB-60 Fusion, a field-proven suppression system driven by a high-reliability 25 HP electric motor and paired with a gen set powered by a heavy-duty 4-cycle indirect injection diesel engine.  Designed, engineered and assembled in the USA, the generator features a dual-containment fuel cell, heavy gauge lockable enclosure and oversized brushless alternator for easy starting.  

Review panel announces public hearing for Frontier project

The Joint Review Panel established to review the proposed Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project (the Project) and conduct an assessment of the environmental effects of the Project has determined that the proponent, Teck Resources Limited (Teck), has provided sufficient information for the Panel to hold a public hearing for the Project. 

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Newalta, Tervita to form energy-focused environmental solutions provider

Newalta Corporation and Tervita Corporation, a private Alberta-based energy-focused waste and environmental services company, are pleased to announce that they have entered into an arrangement agreement to combine their businesses and create a leading publicly traded energy-focused environmental solutions provider in Canada providing waste processing, treating, recycling and disposal services to customers in the oil and gas, mining and industrial sectors. The transaction, which will result in the merger of Newalta and Tervita under the name Tervita Corporation, is expected to provide significant scale, resources and future growth opportunities.

Vertex expands Saskatchewan presence with purchase of Sonic Oilfield Services

Vertex Resource Group Ltd. has acquired the business of Sonic Oilfield Services Ltd., an environmental services company that provides pressure trucks, fluid hauling, chemical and KCL products in Saskatchewan. Sonic's well maintained fleet is used to serve the drilling, completions, production and facility needs of clients operating within Kindersley and Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

Facing challenges of landfill gas wellhead technology

There are many challenges to managing landfill gas well field operation. QED Environmental Systems, a manufacturer of landfill liquid pumps and LFG control products, conducted a survey of landfill gas well field operators, asking them to report the most significant challenges they have encountered in the field. The most commonly reported challenges were odor control and maintaining compliance with landfill gas surface emission regulations. These issues were followed by a host of others, including avoiding NSPS exceedances for pressure, temperature, and oxygen, maximizing landfill gas (LFG) energy content, maintaining a steady vacuum across all wells, managing liquids to avoid accumulation in wells and system piping, and controlling air leaks at the wellhead, rubber couplings, and flex hoses. The challenges faced by LFG well field operators are numerous and diverse. However, LFG operators agree that all of the common challenges listed above can be summarized into one objective: to maximize gas collection efficiency while maintaining regulatory compliance, all at the lowest possible cost. With this singular objective in mind, let us review some LFG well field technologies and limitations. 

Cogeneration plan begins for Suncor oil sands plant

Suncor has taken its first steps in the regulatory process to replace coke-fired boilers with two cogeneration units at its Oil Sands Base Plant as a part of its plan to remain globally cost and carbon competitive. In addition to providing the facility with steam needed for its operations, the cogeneration units are expected to export approximately 700 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the provincial grid, equivalent to roughly seven per cent of Alberta's current electricity demand.

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

Cenovus on Dow Jones Sustainability index for eighth year

Cenovus Energy Inc. has been recognized once again for its corporate responsibility performance. The company has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the eighth consecutive year. Cenovus is one of only two Canadian oil and gas producers to make the index this year. Areas where the company scored well include stakeholder engagement, environmental reporting, water management, social reporting, risk and crisis management, biodiversity, corporate citizenship and philanthropy, climate strategy and corporate governance.

Carbon pricing not enough to meet Canada's emissions goals: study

Carbon pricing will help Canada reduce emissions but the reductions will fall short of the government's goal of a 30 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, according to a joint report by The Conference Board of Canada and The Canadian Academy of Engineering. Trillions of dollars in investment spending on clean energy infrastructure and significant changes to the way Canadians consume energy will be needed to achieve deep emission reductions.

Petroleum refinery using mobile water units for desalination

According to the World Resources Institute, Bahrain is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world and will continue to be through at least 2040. To save as much water as possible in the production of oil and eliminate the need to deliver water via tanker truck, the Bahrain Petroleum Company B.S.C. (Bapco) is using GE's advanced mobile water technology to convert seawater into usable, highly pure source water at the Awali refinery.

Methane detector pilot launched at Shell shale gas site

Shell has launched a methane detector pilot at one of its shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, Canada. The pilot test is part of a wider multi-stakeholder initiative called the Methane Detectors Challenge, a partnership between Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), oil and gas companies, US government agencies and technology developers to test next generation methane detection technologies. The initiative aims to enable better early detection and repair of methane leaks, and ultimately reduce emissions. While detection technologies and processes are already in place across the oil and gas industry, more technical innovation is desired. 

Oilfield water treatment system sees major milestone

ProSep, a technology and service provider for integrated process solutions, has announced a major milestone achievement for one of its proprietary produced water treatments, Osorb Media, a revolutionary, re-generable, modified organo-silica used for polishing oilfield water and gas streams. ProSep has secured a multi-million dollar order for this water treatment system, which is a momentous breakthrough for this technology that has been in a developmental phase for the past seven years. 

Remote sensing equipment for oil spill response validated in tests

A recent offshore exercise, conducted by Oil Spill Response Ltd. (OSRL), was designed to understand how remote sensing technologies can help detect oil spills at sea more effectively. Utilizing the latest in satellite, airborne and in-water surveillance and communications equipment, the highly successful event demonstrated the value of the state-of-the-art technology in identifying and monitoring spills and was conducted with full approval of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) following a rigorous planning and stakeholder consultation process.

MoU signed on integrated subsea well-capping response solutions

Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL), Trendsetter Engineering and Halliburton have announced the companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for integrated subsea well-capping response solutions. With the MOU, the companies will create a strategic alliance for oil and gas exploration and production companies globally, covering integrated solutions for preparedness and response associated with subsea well control activities.

CAPP: Canada already a leader in methane emissions reductions

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) welcomed Environment and Climate Change Canada's proposed commitment to reduce further methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the oil and natural gas sector, but disagrees with the federal government's assessment Canada needs to "catch up" with environmental policies in the United States.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Oil and gas sector asked to cut methane and air pollution with new regulations

Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has announced regulations to reduce methane emissions and air pollution from Canada's oil and gas sector. In doing so, Canada is moving to catch up on the action already taken by states such as California, Colorado, and North Dakota. These regulations are part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2025. 

A monolithic approach to primary and secondary containment

When used for primary or secondary containment, traditional coatings have been too inflexible and not sufficiently elastic to accommodate ground, concrete or metal substrate movement. This deficiency can lead to cracks or holes developing in both the substrate and the coatings, which can compromise containment.

Alberta introduces legislation to add funds for orphan well cleanup

The Alberta government has introduced legislation that would allow it to lend the Orphan Well Association (OWA) $235 million to speed up proper abandonment and reclamation of a growing number of oil and gas well sites that no longer have a responsible owner. It's estimated this loan would lead to up to 1,650 new jobs in reclamation work over the next three years, reducing the liability facing the OWA by approximately one-third.

Canadian refinery named Industrial Water Project of the Year

Federated Co-Operatives Limited’s Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina, Saskatchewan, was named Industrial Water Project of the Year at the annual Global Water Awards. The award recognizes the project, commissioned in 2016, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water.

Carbon emission cut by 2040 within reach but requires cooperation

Governments, investors and businesses must seize the opportunity to halve global carbon emissions by 2040 while ensuring economic development and energy access for all, but they must act now to accelerate clean electrification, decarbonization beyond power and energy productivity improvement, says the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC). 

Evaporator system manages produced water in fracking process

Ship & Shore Environmental Inc. has introduced Hydroflare, a first-to-market technology developed in partnership with Hydrozonix,a leading water quality management company. The companies have joined forces in response to recent demand for a viable, efficient and long-term solution for managing water sourcing and wastewater treatment in hydraulic fracturing. This new technology evaporates and treats the "produced water" that oil and gas companies generate in the fracking process.  

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more