Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Announce Intent to Expand the Mandate of Offshore Energy Regime to Support the Transition to a Clean Economy and Create Sustainable Jobs

Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Announce Intent to Expand the Mandate of Offshore Energy Regime to Support the Transition to a Clean Economy and Create Sustainable Jobs

April 5, 2022 St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador Natural Resources Canada

Canada’s approach to creating sustainable jobs includes identifying and pursuing opportunities for regional economic transformation that will lead to sustained economic growth compatible with a net-zero economy. The Government of Canada is working with partners across the country to build a clean economy, advance economic reconciliation, support the energy sector and ensure a just transition that creates sustainable, middle-class jobs for people and communities in every province and territory.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, jointly announced their intention to facilitate the transition to a clean economy and create sustainable jobs by refreshing and expanding the mandate of the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador offshore energy regime. Both governments also committed to expedite the elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, including for the offshore energy sector.

To address and capitalize on emerging opportunities, the two governments have agreed to work toward modernizing the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) that would expand its mandate to include the regulation of offshore renewable energy development in the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador offshore areas, such as offshore wind and clean hydrogen. Modernizing the C-NLOPB is consistent with both governments’ commitments to diversify their economies and includes an intention to move forward by renaming the Board to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Energy Board (C-NLOEB) to reflect its new mandate.

To implement these changes, the Government of Canada intends to amend the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has committed to introducing mirroring legislative amendments in the province’s House of Assembly.

The C-NLOEB will draw on existing regulatory experience, technical expertise and administrative capacity. The new Board will become the lead regulatory body for offshore energy in the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador offshore areas, creating a predictable and streamlined regulatory environment and promoting investor confidence in the deployment of renewables.

The governments of both Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador are committed to creating regulatory alignment and certainty in a way that will allow offshore renewable projects to be expedited moving forward in support of the clean energy transition. Therefore, both governments will work together to consider adjustments to the regulatory regime for these projects to proceed as efficiently as possible while still ensuring that regulatory reviews are rigorous and effective.

As the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to build on its strategy for economic growth and job creation, it is committed to taking the actions set out in its provincial Climate Change Action Plan, advancing electrification and innovation, and implementing its Renewable Energy Plan to further the transition into more renewable energy sources. This work is well underway and will continue to be informed by input from the general public, industry and business leaders, civil society organizations, Indigenous groups and the Newfoundland and Labrador Net-Zero Advisory Council announced in December 2021.

In further support of this work, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is initiating a regional assessment under the Impact Assessment Act for wind energy in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore. This regional assessment will be conducted in consultation with the C-NLOPB and assist in providing long-term regulatory certainty and clarity for investors.

Additionally, Natural Resources Canada will initiate a regional process to work collaboratively with provinces and territories, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Indigenous partners and the private sector to create place-based economic strategies that facilitate the creation of sustainable jobs through the clean energy transition.

Quotes
“The Government of Canada is supporting Canada’s energy sector as it seeks to compete in the net-zero economy of tomorrow. By working with provincial partners like Newfoundland and Labrador, we are helping to grow the economy in a way that is compatible with our climate commitments.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources Canada

“The challenges before us are enormous — but so are the opportunities. We need to pivot. Canada, and the world, needs low-emitting sources of oil and gas and reliable sources of renewables to meet our energy needs. Newfoundland and Labrador has the solution, and our workers are already on the job. Hype won’t get the job done — only hard work can do that.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Minister of Labour

“Newfoundland and Labrador is perfectly positioned at this time of transition. We have an abundance of clean, green, renewable energy resources to further develop — such as wind and clean hydrogen. We also have the lower carbon oil required to meet global demand, as our innovative offshore has among the lowest per-barrel GHGs in the world. The possibilities for renewable energy are endless in our province, and I look forward to this significant step forward in achieving our shared goals and diversifying the economy.”

The Honourable Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Newfoundland and Labrador is perfectly positioned at this time of transition. We have an abundance of clean, green, renewable energy resources to further develop — such as wind and clean hydrogen. We also have the lower carbon oil required to meet global demand, as our innovative offshore has among the lowest per-barrel GHGs in the world. The possibilities for renewable energy are endless in our province, and I look forward to this significant step forward in achieving our shared goals and diversifying the economy.”

The Honourable Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“The changes announced today to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board show that both of our governments are leading a balanced, responsible transition while capitalizing on Newfoundland and Labrador’s available resources. Along with oil and gas and wind energy, our province boasts a world-class tech sector and a welcoming business environment that will only be further strengthened by the progress announced today.”

The Honourable Andrew Parsons
Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology

“Energy NL is pleased to see that timely action has been taken to determine a regulator for offshore renewable energy activity and establish a consistent process to develop our extensive energy resources. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Energy Board is the appropriate authority to review offshore renewable energy projects given the experience and expertise of the Board in the offshore oil and gas industry. The creation of a regional assessment process for wind energy by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada is also a positive step to provide clarity and certainty for our members who will be seeking opportunities in this sector.”

Charlene Johnson

CEO, Energy NL

“Our Board members and dedicated regulatory staff look forward to this expanded mandate. We are all excited to work with the federal and provincial governments in support of the transition to lower carbon and renewable offshore energy sources.”

Roger Grimes

Chair, C-NLOPB

Quick facts
In March 2022, Canada re-launched public consultations on legislation to support a just transition through the creation of sustainable jobs; submissions will be accepted until April 30, 2022.

As of January 1, 2020, the Canada-NL offshore sector employed 8.168 people in the Canada-NL and between 2015 and 2019 accounted for an average of 26.3 percent of Newfoundland and Labrador’s GDP.

On March 29, 2022, the Government of Canada tabled its 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy, a detailed plan that lays out an achievable path toward Canada’s emissions reduction target of 40–45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of that plan, the Government of Canada is committed to cap and cut emissions from the oil and gas sector at the pace and scale needed to get to net zero by 2050.

Launched in November 2021, the offshore program of the Emissions Reduction Fund is a $75-million investment to help Canada meet its environmental commitments, rebuild the economy and create a lower carbon economy, especially toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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