Ottawa raising offshore liability cap to $1 billion in Arctic, Atlantic waters

HALIFAX – Ottawa is raising the liability cap for companies operating in Atlantic Canada’s offshore to $1 billion up from the current $30 million under new proposed legislation.

Speaking today in Halifax, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver also announced that liability in the Arctic will increase to $1 billion from $40 million when the legislation is introduced in the fall.

Oliver says the move is aimed at aligning Canada’s accountability regime with current international standards in the event of an oil spill.

Changes will also be put in place in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to make the so-called polluter pays principle explicit in provincial legislation later this year.

Other changes would see operators required to pay offshore regulators $100 million in order to address any potential spills or make an operation pool of $250 million available.

Last week, Oliver announced that nuclear operators would also face a higher liability ceiling when Parliament resumes following the summer break.