The past year has been filled with news stories and press releases about the controversial Bill C-69 and the effects that it could have on the Canadian industry. This bill has especially caused concern among the oil and gas sector, particularly with the massive downturn in late 2018 where oil reached $10 a barrel. Currently, the bill has passed through the House of Commons and is now in committee with the Senate of Canada. In Alberta, the heart of Canadian hydrocarbon development, Bill C-69 has received bipartisan criticism from both New Democrat Premier Rachel Notley and United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney.
This bill, which is essentially two parliamentary acts in one, is intended to revamp the dated National Energy Board Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Act by replacing it with the Canadian Energy Regulator and creating another entity called the Impact Assessment Agency. These changes aim to shift the current regime in order to decrease regulatory uncertainty and increase stakeholder participation, including Indigenous participation(https://context.capp.ca/energy-matters/2018/og101_what-is-bill-c69). However, many of these changes are estimated to increase regulatory burden and lead to a bottlenecking of proposed projects.
These are some of the issues that encompass Bill-C69:
1. Bill C-69 shifts discretionary power to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada that allows them to prematurely kill a proposed project. This moves the power away from the Minister of Natural Resources. (Read More)
2. Project review deadlines would also be extended from 4 years to another 8-10 months. This extension will decrease investor confidence.
3. There will also be new geographic criteria applied to the reviews for upstream and downstream emissions. However, much of this is out of control of companies because most emissions come from the use and not the development and transportation of oil and gas products. Pipelines are only 1% of total Canadian Emissions. ( https://www.canadaaction.ca/greenhouse-gas-emissions-pipelines-canada)
Bill C-69 could have severe consequences for Canada’s economy and industry. Currently, the Senate committee is traveling across the country listening to Canadians and their thoughts and ideas on Bill C-69 in order to accurately assess this piece of legislation. The Senate passed through Calgary, Alberta on Tuesday, April 9th to engage with the locals and were met by a rally of hundreds who are opposed to the bill. Hopefully, these voices will be heard.
To read the full summary for the Bill C-69 check out: