Ottawa says Canadian resource companies will soon have to disclose payments they make to governments here and abroad — information that is currently off-limits in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The new rules are targeted at helping "ensure that citizens in resource-rich countries around the world are better informed and benefit from the natural resources in their country," the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued last week.
But it’s not yet clear whether the disclosure standards for governments in the Third World will apply to Newfoundland and Labrador.
There is no longer any public right to know which firms pay how much in royalties in the province.
Last year, Bill 29 barred the release of information on royalty payments, other than in aggregate form that doesn't identify specific companies.
In 2011-12, oil and mining royalties funnelled nearly $3.1 billion into Newfoundland and Labrador’s treasury. That accounted for almost half of the province’s own-source revenues that fiscal year.
Ottawa says it will consult with the provinces and industry about the new reporting regime.
The new rules are aimed at improving transparency, and bringing Canadian practices up to the level of other G8 countries and existing international standards.
"This is a direction we're determined to pursue because this information is essential for citizens to hold their government accountable," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in London last week.
The mandatory reporting standards will include taxes, licence fees and other receipts, Harper’s office said in a press release.
A spokeswoman in Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s office steered CBC News inquiries to the province’s Natural Resources department, which did not comment before deadline.