Proposed Amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA)

Backgrounder

In December 2016, as part of the Joint Arctic Leaders’ Statement, the Prime Minister announced an indefinite moratorium on new oil and gas rights in the Arctic offshore, to be reviewed every five years with a science assessment. The Government of Canada subsequently launched a one-year consultation process with existing oil and gas rights holders and with territorial and Northern Indigenous governments on their interests in the Arctic offshore.

The proposed amendments to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA) give force to the December 2016 Joint Arctic Leaders’ Statement and were informed by feedback from rights holders and territorial and Northern Indigenous governments during consultations. Specifically, the proposed amendments to the CPRA would authorize the Governor in Council to issue an order, when in the national interest, prohibiting existing Exploration Licence and Significant Discovery Licence holders from carrying out any oil and gas activities. The effect of such an order would be to freeze the terms of the existing licences in the Arctic offshore and prevent the licenses from expiring while the prohibition order remains in place.

The proposed amendments supplement existing authorities under section 12(1) of the CPRA that authorize the Governor in Council to issue an order to prohibit oil and gas activities under certain circumstances.

The Canada Petroleum Resources Act regulates the disposition of oil and gas rights on federal Crown lands in the North and in Canada’s offshore areas not under federal-provincial co-management administration.


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