Ottawa, ON - Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris wholeheartedly supports the Pipeline Safety Act, introduced today by the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. This Act introduces legislative measures to further enhance Canada's world-class pipeline safety system.
"We need to do all that we can to protect our land and water and further build on Canada's world-class pipeline safety system", said Maguire. "Many high paying local jobs are directly linked to the petroleum industry and the importance of getting our energy to market remains a top priority."
Today's announcement builds on previous action taken by the Government of Canada to prevent incidents, including increasing the number of annual pipeline inspections and audits conducted by the National Energy Board (NEB) and strengthening the Board's enforcement capabilities by giving it authority to fine pipeline operators for smaller incidents. Currently, 99.999 % of the oil transported through 73,000 kilometres of federally regulated pipeline is completed safely.
The Government's latest measures proposed in the legislation introduced today in the House of Commons include:
- Introducing absolute liability for all NEB-regulated pipelines, meaning that companies will be liable for costs and damages irrespective of fault - up to $1 billion for major oil pipelines; companies continue to have unlimited liability when at fault or negligent;
- Providing the NEB authority to order reimbursement of any cleanup costs incurred by governments, communities or individuals; and
- Providing the NEB authority and resources to assume control of incident response if a company is unable or unwilling to do so (i.e., in exceptional circumstances).
Other non-legislative actions being taken by the Government of Canada include:
- Developing a strategy with industry and Aboriginal communities in an effort to increase Aboriginal Peoples' participation in pipeline safety operations, including planning, monitoring, incident response and related employment and business opportunities; and
- Seeking the NEB's guidance on the use of the best available technologies used in federally regulated pipeline projects. This includes materials, construction methods and emergency response techniques.
Minister Rickford linked the improvements to pipeline safety to the Government of Canada's plan for Responsible Resource Development, which strengthens environmental protection, enhances Aboriginal engagement and streamlines the review of major resource projects to make the process more timely and predictable.
These new measures enhance Canada's already world-class pipeline safety system and build on the principles of incident prevention, preparedness and liability. As part of this commitment, a number of amendments to the National Energy Board Act are also proposed to improve transparency and operations of the Board and its enabling legislation.
- Currently, 99.999% of the oil and petroleum products transported on federally regulated pipelines is carried out safely, and the measures announced today aim to improve Canada's record even further.
- New funding provided in Economic Action Plan 2012 allowed the National Energy Board to increase annual inspections of oil and gas pipelines by 50% and double the number of comprehensive audits to improve pipeline safety across Canada.