There’s no place in the world where regulations have been able to control the harm or costs of fracking, and Canada is no exception. Regulators are often seen as collaborators with industry, and are often staffed with industry personnel. In Alberta the regulatory body is funded entirely by the industry and headed by an ex-Encana executive, who founded the Canadian Assoc. of Oil Producers. British Columbia and Saskatchewan regulators have kept violations, including life-threatening issues, secret from the public and even from the government. Enforcement often depends on industry self-reporting.
Regulations lag well behind the science, particularly in public health. Gas wells are allowed within a few hundred meters of homes, schools and hospitals, despite studies showing harmful health effects up to 3 km away. Instances of water contamination, spills, leaking wells and earthquakes are the same as everywhere. Canada has not forced the industry to set aside nearly enough money – by far – to properly and safely close tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells.