Regulations & Regulators

All oil and gas service sector operations, including hydraulic fracturing, are strictly regulated in Canada. Every oil and gas activity must be applied for and approved before work can begin.

Regulations cover such areas as:

  • Environmental protection
  • Water use
  • Health and safety
  • Hiring and personnel
  • Land access
  • Landowner rights
  • Surface and mineral rights


Under the Canadian Constitution, the Federal government regulates oil and gas activities on frontier lands (most of Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories), certain offshore and territorial lands, and lands set aside for First Nations. For example:

  • Indian Oil and Gas Canada manages and regulates oil and gas resources on First Nation reserve lands.
  • National Energy Board regulates international and interprovincial aspects of the oil, gas and electric utility industries, such as pipelines, energy development and trade, in the Canadian public interest.
  • Natural Resources Canada provides geoscience information used in making exploration, resource management and environmental protection decisions.


Provinces have jurisdiction over their onshore resources and are responsible for regulating their development. Here are the regulators for each province:

There are also many other provincial and territorial regulating bodies with legislation applying to the oil and gas industry, such as those dealing with environment, labour, safety and more.


Industry regulates its operations over and above government regulation. Industry Recommended Practices (IRPs) are a series of recommended operational practices for the upstream oil and gas industry in the areas of drilling, completions and servicing of oil and gas wells. IRPs are prepared by experienced industry and government personnel and are used in conjunction with all applicable government regulations governing these operations.