The second 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 from April 1 to June 30, 2015
that may be of particular interest.
Oil & Gas and Regulatory
Federal law now requires
Canadian oil and gas companies to make annual disclosure of
payments to all levels of domestic and foreign governments.
Petronas made its final
investment decision to proceed with the Pacific Northwest LNG
project, subject to certain federal and provincial approvals, which
are expected by the end of 2015.
New federal regulations
require stronger tanks with enhanced safety features to be used
when transporting oil and ethanol by rail.
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)
clarified the process for coordinating the reviews of the AER and
the Aboriginal Consultation Office, which manages Crown
consultation with aboriginal groups, of energy development
The federal government advanced legislation imposing
unlimited liability on pipeline operators who release hydrocarbons
into the environment.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled that the province does not have a duty
to consult when granting exploration rights to oil sands resources
located beneath treaty lands which do not involve the sale of
surface rights. Operators must acquire surface rights from the
landowner or by application to the Saskatchewan Surface Rights
Alberta increased its carbon levy and added
requirements for large emitters to meet certain emission reduction
targets. Emitters of less than 100,000 annual tons are not
The B.C. Court of Appeal held that a contract was
formed through a series of emails which contained all of the
essential terms of a transaction and indicated an intention of the
parties to be bound, even though no formal agreement was
A B.C. trial court determined that directors may
be personally liable for contracts if the contract does not
reference the full legal name of the corporate entity and the other
party is misled as to what party is under contract.
The federal government proposed rules
to expand the application of the anti-avoidance rule in Section 55 of the Income
Tax Act(Canada), which
prohibits a corporation from using a tax-deductible dividend on
shares it holds in another corporation to reduce taxable capital
gains it would otherwise have paid on a disposition of those
The Federal Court held that companies must
provide tax accrual working papers to the CRA to provide a roadmap
for the audit process.
Preliminary communications with the
Competition Bureau in which parties disclose anticompetitive
conduct in the hopes of obtaining immunity or leniency are not
protected by settlement privilege.
For the first time, the Competition Tribunal
considered a contested application for an interim injunction in the
context of a proposed merger and granted the Commissioner the
authority to take control of the management of certain assets
pending the determination of the competition issue.
The Ontario courts expanded the personal
liability of directors for unpaid wages by using the oppression
remedy to hold the estate of a deceased director liable for unpaid
wages,termination pay and employment related debts.
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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