Liabilities and Fines in Respect of a Spill

Oil and gas operators are fully accountable to respond to all incidents, including spills, which may occur in relation to any activity undertaken in the offshore area.

CNSOPB’s mandate is based upon legislation that may permit property owners and fishermen to recover economic loss resulting from an oil spill or debris, which can be attributed to an operator. Additionally, governments may seek compensation for environmental damages. This ensures that any damages to species, coastlines or other public resources will be addressed.

For compensation claims related to loss or damage, an operator has unlimited liability in respect of such incidents when at fault or negligent. An operator additionally has absolute liability (regardless of fault or negligence) in relation to any loss or damage in the amount of $1 billion dollars.

Fishermen who may suffer damages including loss of income, as a result of a spill, have various compensation mechanisms available including:
-    through the operator responsible for the spill;
-    through an industry program;
-    through CNSOPB; or
-    through the courts.

An operator found guilty of an offence under the Accord Acts, which outlines rules for offshore oil and gas activity, can be fined up to $1 million per day.

For more information on compensation for loss or damages, CNSOPB’s Compensation Guidelines Respecting Damages Relating to Offshore Petroleum Activity can be found here