Update on the Modernization of the Act, Regulations and Systems (MARS)

IOGC Quarterly Newsletter Volume VI, Issue 2

Reporting Period July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016

I.  IOGC and MARS Project Update:

You may recall that a special, early draft of the Phase I regulations (prior to their approval and pre-publication in Canada Gazette, Part I) was discussed with First Nations at two symposiums: one in Alberta held in March 2016; and, the other in Saskatchewan conducted in April 2016. The feedback received mainly fell under three major themes: 1) (oil and gas) technical; 2) First Nations' governance; and, 3) First Nations consultation. The oil and gas technical comments received were accommodated, where appropriate. For feedback related to First Nations' governance or consultation, the Government of Canada has committed to explore, in partnership with oil and gas First Nations, potential options for greater First Nations jurisdiction and control over oil and gas management on reserve and is actively engaging First Nations to determine how this may be accommodated with a view to bringing recommendations forward for consideration by the Government.

All feedback that IOGC receives, including public feedback, will be addressed during the pre-publication of the proposed Phase I regulations in Canada Gazette, Part I. For stakeholders desiring to get an early start on reviewing the proposed Phase I regulations, IOGC has worked with the First Nations Gazette and has published the special, early draft of the Phase I regulations on their website. Please note that the final version of the Phase I regulations (known as the Blue-Stamped copy of the regulations) may differ from this, in minor ways, as errors and oversights are corrected during a final round of editing and proofreading.

In the preceding issue, IOGC announced that two important milestones were reached on its MARS Project. Firstly, the Department received the official, Blue-Stamped copy of the Phase I regulations from Justice Canada. This is the version of the regulations that will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. Since then, IOGC has been busy finalizing material, required to support Departmental and Government consideration and approval of the regulations. It is projected that the Indian Oil and Gas Act, 2009 and its Phase I regulations will both become law either towards the end of calendar year 2016 or early in 2017.

The second important milestone reached was the Resource Information Management Systems 2 (RIMS2) project receiving Treasury Board approvals for its project and expenditure implementation. Since then, IOGC continues to work with the oil and gas-producing provinces to ensure data is in sync prior to automated data exchange with Petrinex (formerly PETRINEX – PETRoleum INformation EXcellence). IOGC is also busy undergoing the procurement process for the identification of a supplier to perform the related systems development work. This procurement process has experienced some unforeseen delays requiring IOGC to adjust both the project schedule and the project expenditure profile to ensure the project remains on time and on budget.

IOGC's staff continues working diligently on the preparation of the administration and enforcement of the Indian Oil and Gas Act, 2009 and its Phase I regulations that will become law in the near future. There are two parallel tracks governing this important process: 1) MARS Implementation, that will ensure processes, policies, procedures, and tools are prepared; and, 2) Organizational Change Management (OCM), that will ensure IOGC's staff are well-equipped. To assist staff through this period of considerable change, a contract is being prepared for an OCM service provider over the long-term. This will enable IOGC to be better-positioned to respond to both internally-driven change (i.e., changes resulting from the new Act and regulations) and externally-driven change (i.e., those changes that affect whole-of-government such as new e-mail and document management systems).

II.  An Important Update from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is developing regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. These regulations are being designed to fulfill a joint commitment with the United States to reduce methane emissions by 40-45 percent, below 2012 levels, by 2025 from the oil and gas sector. In late June 2016, Mexico announced their intent to implement this methane commitment. These federal regulations will cover both new and existing sources, and will affect both upstream and downstream sources. Methane is a potent, short-lived, greenhouse gas. It is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so limiting these emissions is a key part of addressing climate change. Controlling methane from oil and gas operations also improves air quality by reducing the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These regulations will address fugitive emissions (those that escape unintentionally) and venting of emissions (intentional release of emissions, instead of flaring those emissions). Fugitive emissions will be addressed through measures such as requiring the implementation of a leak detection and repair system (known as LDAR), so that unintentional emission releases can be identified and fixed. Limits will be placed on the venting of emissions, to minimize their release.

ECCC is working on the draft regulations, which are expected to be pre-published in Canada Gazette Part I in early 2017. Final regulations are targeted for the end of 2017 and will be published on the CEPA Environmental RegistryECCC is actively engaging Indigenous organizations, companies, non-governmental organizations as well as provinces and territories on this subject and welcomes comments and questions on the development of these regulations. ECCC would be pleased to provide interested groups with additional background information and/or briefings, if desired. For further information on this important initiative and the proposed regulations, please contact ECCC at email: ec.methane-methane.ec@canada.ca  Website: CEPA Environmental Registry.

For further information on IOGC or the MARS Project, please contact IOGC at:

Indian Oil and Gas Canada
100 – 9911 Chiila Blvd.
Tsuu T'ina AB T2W 6H6
Phone: (403) 292-5625
Fax: (403) 292-5618
Email: aadnc.contactiogc.aandc@canada.ca

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