If enacted, 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, will entail significant changes to the regulation of offshore energy projects in Atlantic Canada. The shift from environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 to “impact assessments” under the Impact Assessment Act will be acutely felt in the offshore oil and gas industry. The new but incomplete offshore renewable energy regime in the Canadian Energy Regulator Act will have less immediate effect, but brings the potential for major change in the longer term. In both the oil and gas and renewable energy industries, there remains much uncertainty about how these changes will play out. The devil will be in the detail: revisions during the legislative process, supporting legislation, regulations, and implementation.
In his article, The Impact Assessment Act, Canadian Energy Regulator Act and Offshore Energy: A View from Atlantic Canada, as published by Energy Regulation Quarterly (July 2018-Vol. 6, issue 2 2018), McInnes Cooper Oil & Gas Lawyer Daniel Watt comments on a selection of issues in Bill C-69 of importance to Atlantic Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry and its embryonic offshore renewable energy industry, and examines two broad issues among those bedeviling Atlantic Canada’s well-established offshore industry: who is responsible for conducting impact assessments for offshore projects; and what projects will be subject to the new impact assessments. He also provides a brief overview of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act’s nascent offshore renewable energy regime with some comments on opportunities for Atlantic Canada, both missed and realized.