Report of the committee

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources has the honour to table its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized to examine the the subject matter of those elements related to energy, the environment and natural resources contained in Parts 2 and 3 of Bill S-6, An Act respecting regulatory modernization, has, in obedience to the order of reference of Thursday, April 28, 2022, examined the said subject-matter and now reports as follows:

On May 13, 2022, your committee heard witnesses on the subject matter of the parts listed above and supports the amendments with, certain observations, proposed to:

the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act,

the Canada Petroleum Resources Act,

the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act,

the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act,

the Canada Lands Surveyors Act,

the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, and

the Species at Risk Act.

Observations to the Second Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (Bill S-6)

Clauses 16 and 17

Several members of the committee are concerned that the proposed amendments to the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act could have a negative impact on government transparency and accountability.

These proposed amendments remove the requirement that draft regulations under these two Acts be published in the Canada Gazette and that interested parties be given a reasonable opportunity for commentary.

During the meeting, two witnesses from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) responded to this concern, explaining that any substantive regulatory changes under these Acts would still be published in the Canada Gazette through processes elaborated in the Cabinet Directive on Regulations.

The proposed amendments in Clauses 16 and 17, the witnesses explained, would give greater flexibility for future “minor and necessary” amendments. NRCan’s Forward Regulatory Plan details forthcoming proposals for regulatory changes under these Acts and includes consultation with stakeholders and the public before the changes are made.

Nevertheless, the committee believes that publishing of the regulatory amendments on the Canada Gazette, even for “minor” amendments, would constitute an extra layer of government transparency.

Respectfully submitted,

PAUL J. MASSICOTTE

Chair


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