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ESTMA 101: Everything you need to know


February 2, 2017
By NRCan ESTMA team

February 3, 2017 – Here is a quick 101 of the essential, need-to-know elements of the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA), courtesy of Natural Resources Canada’s ESTMA team.

What is the ESTMA?
As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to contribute to global efforts to increase transparency and deter corruption in the extractive sector, the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA) was brought into force on June 1, 2015. The ESTMA requires companies engaged in the commercial development of oil, gas, and minerals (including coal, salt, quarry and pit materials) to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, specific payments made to all governments in Canada and abroad ( “payees” under the ESTMA).

Do I need to file a report?
In general, publically-traded extractive sector companies, or private companies that are of a certain size, must disclose their reportable payments. To help companies determine their reporting obligations under the ESTMA, Natural Resources Canada has prepared this flowchart.

See the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act at nrcan.gc.ca/ESTMA for more details pertaining to specific sections referenced in the flowchart.

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Who is a payee under ESTMA?
Under the ESTMA, the term “payee” is used to describe governments and related organizations at any level, including national, regional, state/provincial or local/municipal, that receive payments. This includes:

  • Any government in Canada or abroad.
  • A body established by two or more governments.
  • Any trust, board, commission, corporation, body or authority that exercises a function, power or duty of any government in Canada or abroad.

Note that the ESTMA also includes a two-year deferral (ending June 1, 2017) for reporting payments to indigenous governments in Canada.

What payments are included in an ESTMA report?
Reportable payments to a payee must relate to the commercial development of all oil, gas or minerals, including exploration and extraction, as well as obtaining or holding a permit, lease, or licence. Payments made to a payee in one of these categories totaling CAD $100,000 during a financial year must be reported:

  • Taxes (other than consumption and personal income).
  • Royalties.
  • Fees (including rental fees, entry fees and regulatory charges, as well as fees or other consideration for licences, permits or concessions).
  • Production entitlements.
  • Bonuses (including signature, discovery and production bonuses).
  • Dividends (other than dividends paid to payees as ordinary shareholders).
  • Infrastructure improvement payments.

Reportable payments do not include support services like construction or equipment manufacturing, or post-extraction activities like refining, smelting, marketing, distribution or export.

When are ESTMA reports due?
Extractive businesses that meet the requirements to report must report annually for financial years beginning after June 1, 2015.
The reports must be submitted to Natural Resources Canada within 150 days following the end of a company’s fiscal year and must be made publicly available online for a minimum of five years after submission.

How do I submit a report?
First, companies must enroll with Natural Resources Canada by completing a Contact Form. Once your company is enrolled, you will be given a unique ESTMA identification number. From there, you can choose from two reporting templates (XLS preferred) in order to create your reports. Once a report is complete, you must provide Natural Resources Canada with a link to the report, as well as an electronic copy of the report. Reports are required to remain publicly available online for at least five years.

To help companies with the process, Natural Resources Canada has created online Tools for Extractive Businesses at nrcan.gc.ca/ESTMA which is full of useful reporting tools, such as technical reporting specifications, including detailed instructions on how to prepare and submit reports, as well as a guidance document.

If you are still unsure about how to report you can always email Natural Resources Canada’s ESTMA team at nrcan.ESTMA-LMTSE.rncan@Canada.ca, who are more than happy to help.

What if I already submit similar reports for other jurisdictions?
Under the ESTMA, companies may substitute reports prepared in another jurisdiction whose requirements are determined to be an acceptable substitute. At this time, only EU and European Economic Area member countries that have implemented the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives are considered an acceptable substitute for ESTMA reports.

To find out how to submit a report submitted in another jurisdiction, visit nrcan.gc.ca/ESTMA and look for Substitution Process and Determination.

Where can I find completed ESTMA reports?
Natural Resources Canada publishes the links to companies’ ESTMA reports on nrcan.gc.ca/ESTMA.

What if I don’t have a website where I can publish my ESTMA report?
It is the responsibility of reporting businesses to ensure that their completed reports are published on the Internet for no less than five years. However, the reports do not necessarily have to be published on a corporate website, as long as they are publicly accessible online.