Canada Announces Next Steps on Future Arctic Oil and Gas Development

News release

October 4, 2018, Ottawa, ON - The Government of Canada is committed to working and consulting with territorial governments, industry, and Indigenous governments and communities in the North on future decisions on offshore oil and gas development.

Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, and the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, announced Canada’s next steps on future Arctic offshore oil and gas development for current licence holders.

Specifically, the Government of Canada will:

  • Freeze the terms of the existing licences in the Arctic offshore to preserve existing rights, remit the balance of any financial deposit related to licences to affected licence holders and suspend any oil and gas activities for the duration of the moratorium; 
  • Work with Northern partners to co-develop the scope and governance framework for a science-based, life-cycle impact assessment review every five years that takes  into account marine and climate change science; and,
  • Negotiate a Beaufort Sea oil and gas co-management and revenue-sharing agreement with the governments of the Northwest Territories and Yukon, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

Together, these steps represent a concrete response to consultations with stakeholders and interested parties following the December 2016 announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of a one-year consultation process with the current licence holders, and a moratorium on new oil and gas exploration licences in the Arctic, renewable every five years based on the best available science.

Over the coming months, the Government of Canada will continue to work collaboratively with all partners to implement these steps and help grow the economy and preserve the environment in the North to ensure a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future for all Canadians.


“Our government understands that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. During extensive consultations, our partners were very clear: they want to be involved in the management of Arctic offshore oil and gas resources, and they want to see economic prosperity and jobs that will benefit Indigenous peoples and all Northerners in the future without affecting the health of their environment. This input will guide our approach as we continue to work collaboratively with territorial governments, industry, and Indigenous governments and communities.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

“Our consultations with territorial and Indigenous governments, as well as with oil and gas companies have helped guide our path forward. We heard loud and clear that the protection of the Arctic environment and the sustainable, inclusive development of the region for the benefit of Northern residents and all Canadians are critical to growing Canada’s economy.”
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi
Minister of Natural Resources

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Vincent Hughes
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

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