A Benefits Plan is a statutory requirement under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA). An operator engaged in the exploration and drilling for and the production and transportation of oil and gas in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Arctic offshore areas is required to submit a Benefits Plan to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for approval.
In section 5.2 of the Act a Benefits Plan is defined as
a plan for the employment of Canadians and for providing Canadian manufacturers, consultants, contractors and service companies with a full and fair opportunity to participate on a competitive basis in the supply of goods and services used in any proposed work or activity referred to in the benefits plan.
A Benefits Plan represents a documented commitment by an operator to provide employment to Canadians and full and fair opportunity to Canadian businesses.
A Benefits Plan should include a detailed description of the proposed project as well as the major components, activities and milestones of the project, supporting maps, tables and figures, expected timeframes and finish date.
A Benefits Plan may vary in comprehensiveness and complexity depending on the scale and scope of the proposed oil or gas work or activity.
An operator is encouraged to notify and submit a Benefits Plan to the Department well in advance of the anticipated start date of a proposed oil and gas work or activity to allow the Department a sufficient period of time for review of the Benefits Plan.
To assist an operator to develop a Benefits Plan, the Department has established the Benefits Plan Guidelines for the North. The Guidelines are intended to streamline the administrative process as well as offer greater clarity on what a company should consider during the development of and reporting on a Benefits Plan.
For more information about the requirements for Benefits Plan and/or about the Benefits Plan Guidelines for the North, please contact us.