Oil and gas development in the British Columbia offshore: does Canada's integrated coastal and oceans management strategy provide a framework for resolving contentious ocean use issues?




Potvin, Marie-Louise

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis explores the legal and political contexts in which offshore oil and gas (OOG) decisions in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Basin (Basin) are being made and situates these decisions within Canada's integrated coastal and oceans management (ICOM) strategy. The geography, ecology and current ocean uses of the Basin are reviewed and environmental impacts of OOG considered. The federal-provincial jurisdictional and ownership complexities and issues of aboriginal rights and title are then reviewed. Canada's efforts to implement ICOM through the Oceans Act and subsequent policies are assessed. as compared to the U.S. model and in light of international principles. Core ICOM principles of sustainability, integration. precaution and transparency are specifically reviewed. While Canada's oceans strategy is consistent with internationally-accepted principles, it falls short of a true ICOM regime and is not sufficiently developed to resolve the OOG debate. Nonetheless, OOG decisions can and should be guided by its principles.



petroleum, natural gas, submerged lands, law and legislation, British Columbia, Canada