The first quarter of 2015 saw a number of legal developments
that may specifically affect private companies in the oil and gas
industry. Below, we've compiled a list of key developments in
Canadian law and regulatory practice since January 1, 2015 that may
be of particular interest.
In response to an increase in
shipments of crude oil by rail, the federal government introduced
Bill C-52 to the House of
Commons, proposing amendments to the Canada
Transportation Act and the Railway Safety
Act that will toughen the liability and
compensation regime for federally regulated railways that suffer
As a result of its consultations with
stakeholders regarding environmental concerns, TransCanada
cancelled its plans to build a crude oil export terminal in Quebec
as part of its Energy East Pipeline. It said it will look at
New B.C. regulations prohibit natural
gas field pipelines in northeastern B.C. from being converted to
transport oil and diluted bitumen to LNG export plants on the B.C.
The AER's play-based regulation
initiative (PBR) will move forward in the Duvernay
shale formation pilot area near Fox Creek and govern the
unconventional oil and gas development projects included in the
PBR. Operators of projects under the PBR will, among other things,
be encouraged to collaborate on surface development plans in order
to reduce their negative effects.
The Department of Finance released a proposal allowing
accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for certain facilities
used in the liquefaction of natural gas.
The Supreme Court released its Tervita decision
providing guidance on how a proposed merger may lead to a
substantial prevention of competition. The Court instructed the
merging parties and Commissioner on the application of the
Competition Act's "efficiencies defence" and
the nature of the efficiencies to be considered. In general, if the
anti-competitive effects outweigh the efficiencies, the defence is
Industry Canada increased the Competition Act
pre-merger notification "size-of-target" review threshold
from $82 million to $86 million, and the Investment Canada Act
direct acquisition threshold from $354 million to $369
Changes to the Investment Canada
Act regulations will significantly increase disclosure
requirements for investments not subject to review and will extend
timelines for national security reviews of non-Canadian investors
which the Canadian government believes may be injurious to Canadian
Canada expanded its list of
prohibited Russian and Ukrainian individuals.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice
held that method of recruitment can create an implied promise of
job security resulting in entitlements for the employee on
The Supreme Court recently clarified
the test of constructive dismissal in finding that an employer must
communicate honestly with an employee who is subject to a
non-disciplinary suspension with pay. This type of suspension must
be for legitimate business reasons and must not offend the
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice
held that employers are required to give reasonable notice on
termination to dependent contractors (a contractor who works
exclusively for the employer) comparable to the notice to be given
to an employee.
Encana's sale of its Clearwater
assets to Ember Resources for $605M.
Whitecap Resources' acquisition
of Beaumont Energy for $588M.
Financing of Prairie Storm Energy by
NGP Natural Resources for up to $400M.
Bonterra Energy's purchase of oil
and gas assets in the Pembina Cardium for $172M.
TORC Oil & Gas' purchase of
light oil assets in southeast Saskatchewan for $128M.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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