Indian Oil and Gas Regulations (Proposed), pursuant to the Indian Oil and Gas Act

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Title or working title of the regulatory initiative

Indian Oil and Gas Regulations

Enabling act(s)

Indian Oil and Gas Act


The Indian Oil and Gas Act and the Indian Oil and Gas Regulations are respectively the legislative and regulatory tools to manage oil and gas activities on designated First Nation reserve lands. Prior to 2009, the Act had not been revised for 35 years resulting in a federal regulatory regime that is extremely outdated compared to provincial oil and gas regimes. The new legislative and regulatory regime will allow for a better climate for economic development and investment, a more robust and flexible monitoring and enforcement regime, new audit powers to ensure that royalties payable to First Nations are accurate, enhanced environmental protection with a streamlined regime and better protection for First Nation culture and heritage.

Regulatory cooperation efforts (domestic and international)

This proposal brings the federal regulatory regime for oil and gas development activities on First Nation reserve lands into greater alignment with provincial regulations and practices off reserve. The proposal will reduce duplication of processes and clarify procedures between on- and off-reserve projects, as well as increase consistency between on- and off-reserve compliance, enforcement and environmental regimes. There are no international implications with this initiative.

Potential impacts on Canadians, including businesses

There are business impacts. The "One-for-One" Rule applies, while the Small Business Lens does not. There are added costs of compliance with the new provisions in the Indian Oil and Gas Act and the Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, specifically stemming from audits that can be conducted by Indian Oil and Gas Canada and/or First Nations. However, the Regulations will be in greater alignment with provincial jurisdictions and will set out clearer compliance requirements. Administrative costs associated with the current Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, 1995 are reduced in the new Regulations, such as a reduction in person-time and wait times. Overall, there will be a net positive reduction in administrative burden costs.

It is expected that First Nations and industry will benefit from increased legislative and regulatory clarity, which fosters economic development and investment on First Nation reserve lands. Industry stakeholders will benefit from the overall cost savings that results from the new regulations, which may led to additional investments, a good portion of which will come from small to medium-sized oil and gas companies. There are no expected or significant impacts on international trade or investment.


First Nations have been engaged in the development of the framework for the management of oil and gas since 1999. Consultations on the modernization of the oil and gas regulatory regime on First Nation reserve lands began in 2008 and have been one of the most comprehensive ever conducted by the Department. First Nations have been the most heavily consulted stakeholder group in the consultation process that included: a) 68 individual First Nations; b) First Nations advocate organizations – the Indian Resource Council and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations; c) the Joint Technical Committee. In addition, three First Nations conducted independent legal and technical reviews of the proposed Regulations. There have also been a number of Industry consultations such as: a) 177 oil and gas companies; b) industry advocates (the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada); and, c) eight provincial departments / ministries of energy and provincial oil and gas regulatory bodies. Drafts of proposed Regulations were also published in the First Nations Gazette on three occasions, being May 2015; May 2016 and September 2017.

The First Nations technical perspective was also included throughout the development of the proposed Regulations by a Joint Technical Committee. The Joint Technical Committee is made up of oil and gas technicians from major oil and gas producing First Nations, members of the Indian Resource Council, Indian Oil and Gas Canada staff, and staff from the Department (formerly Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada). Their mandate is to assist Indian Oil and Gas Canada and the Department in modernizing the First Nation reserve lands oil and gas regime by reviewing draft regulations, providing guidance and ensuring First Nation perspectives are fully considered during development. Funding is provided to the Indian Resource Council to obtain independent legal and technical advice on all matters related to the regulatory regime.

The proposed Indian Oil and Gas Regulations were published in Part I of the Canada Gazette and in the First Nations Gazette on May 18-19, 2018 for 90 days in order to give the public and all First Nations an opportunity to express their concerns, if any.

Further information

A full list of consultation and engagement activities can be found on the Indian Oil and Gas Canada website, as well as other information related to the new regulations. For a copy of the pre-published version of the proposed Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, please visit the Canada Gazette website or the First Nations Gazette website.

Departmental contact information

For English inquiries:

John Dempsey
Director, Regulatory Compliance
Indian Oil and Gas Canada
Tel.: 403-292-5661

For French inquiries:

Marc Boivin
Research, Policy and Legislative Initiatives
Economic Policy Development Branch
Lands and Economic Development Sector
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Tel.: 819-994-6735

Public Enquiries Toll-free: 1-800-567-9604

The date the regulatory initiative was first included in the Forward Regulatory Plan

March 2013

Date modified: