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About the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA)

The Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA) requires that certain businesses involved in the commercial development of oil, gas and minerals report the payments they make to governments in Canada and abroad. The ESTMA addresses Canada’s commitment, made alongside other countries at the 2013 G8 Leaders’ Summit, to raise transparency and reduce corruption in the global oil, gas and mining sectors.

Businesses that are subject to the ESTMA must publish their reports online for at least five years. Members of the public, academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments around the world and professionals in the resources sector can use ESTMA data to access clear and reliable information about revenues generated from natural resources.

We (Natural Resources Canada) engaged the provinces and territories, civil society, industry and Indigenous representatives when we developed the ESTMA and after the legislation was in force. Read about this engagement on the Open Government website.

Below is an overview of the ESTMA, including who reports, what and when they report, etc. There are also links to other web pages that contain detailed information about enrolling and submitting a report.

What is the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals?

The “commercial development of oil, gas or minerals” includes exploration and extraction, as well as obtaining or holding a permit, lease or license or other authorization for these activities. This includes the production of crude oil, bitumen and shale oil; natural gas and its by-products; and all naturally occurring metals and non-metallic minerals.

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

Who reports under the ESTMA?

The following Entities are subject to the ESTMA: Any corporation, trust, partnership or other unincorporated organization that is engaged in the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals, either directly or through an organization it controls that is:

  • Listed on a Canadian stock exchange


  • Not listed on a Canadian stock exchange, but has a place of business in Canada, does business in Canada or has assets in Canada and meets two of the following thresholds in one of its two most recently concluded financial years:
    • Had at least C$20 million in assets
    • Generated at least C$40 million in revenue
    • Employed an average of at least 250 employees

Additionally, some Entities may be subject to the ESTMA if they are not directly engaged in the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals themselves but control another Entity that is. Control for the purposes of the Act is not limited to direct control. It also extends to indirectly controlled businesses down an organizational chain. Whether an Entity has control over a business will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the situation.

Which financial years should an Entity consider when applying the size criteria?

To determine if they meet the size criteria, Entities must consider their two most recently concluded financial years.

For example, a private Entity has a January 1 to December 31 financial year.  To determine if they have to submit a report for 2016, following December 31, 2016, the Entity must determine if they met the size criteria in either the year ending December 31, 2016 or December 31, 2015. 

If the Entity met the size criteria in either of those years, they would be required to submit a report for their 2016 financial year within 150 days following its completion.

What must be reported?

If a business meets the criteria above, it must enrol with us and report payments if they meet three criteria:

  • They are made to a Payee (see Payee section below)
  • They relate to the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals
  • They total at least C$100,000 in at least one of the following categories:
    • 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

Companies must identify and aggregate all the payments made within one of the payment categories to a single Payee. If that amount meets or exceeds C$100,000, it must be included in an ESTMA report. If it is unclear which category a payment falls into, consider the substance rather than the form of the payment.


To be reportable, a payment must be made to a Payee, defined as:

  • 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 (it must have some relation to one of the other two bullets)

A “government” is broadly defined as any government in Canada or abroad. This includes federal, provincial, regional, municipal and Indigenous governments, among others. Canada and the European Union use a similar, broad definition, which recognizes that governments around the world come in many forms.

Payments made to Indigenous groups and governments in Canada might also be reportable. Read the Payments to Indigenous Payees in Canada factsheet (PDF, 183 KB) for more information.

Payments received by a third party on behalf of a Payee are considered to have been made to the Payee.

There are no reporting requirements for Payees under ESTMA.

Social and in-kind payments

Reporting businesses may also make payments to Payees in exchange for no opposition to a project, or so that a project would be allowed to proceed. These social payments are reportable if an extraction project could not proceed without them, or if the timing, nature or extent of these payments are controlled by the Payee.

Social payments may be reportable under the Act if they are directly related to, or a condition of, the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals. Payments should be categorized based on the facts and circumstances of each payment

Payments made in forms other than cash are deemed to be payments made in-kind, which are also reportable under the ESTMA. If you can determine the cost of an in-kind payment, that is the value you should report. If the cost is not determinable, report the in-kind payment at fair market value. Payments made in-kind should be clearly identified and a supplementary note should be included in your report briefly summarizing how the value of the in-kind payment was determined as well as the amount of the in-kind payment.

Types of ESTMA reports

There are three types of ESTMA reports:

  1. Individual reports: These are filed annually by a single business, and describe the qualifying payments made to Payees during its last financial year
  2. Consolidated reports: Some parent companies submit reports that include their own reportable payments made during their last financial year as well as those made by their subsidiaries
  3. Substituted reports: These are reports that were prepared to meet the requirements of another jurisdiction. Sometimes, you can use these to fulfill your reporting requirements under the ESTMA and reduce your reporting burden. Read the Substitution determinations web page for more information.

ESTMA and Indigenous governments

Read the Payments to Indigenous Payees in Canada factsheet (PDF, 183 KB) to learn how ESTMA defines an Indigenous Payee and which payments you must include in your ESTMA report.

Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs)

Extractive businesses are not required to disclose impact and benefit agreements (IBAs) or other agreements with Indigenous groups. The ESTMA requires extractive businesses to report certain types of payments of $100,000 or more made in relation to the commercial development of oil, gas or minerals. Some of these reportable payments might be included in IBAs and other commercial agreements. Extractive businesses may provide additional information in their ESTMA report about payments (including those to Indigenous governments).

Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC)

Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC) is a special operating agency part of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. For the purposes of the ESTMA, IOGC would meet the definition of a Payee, as it performs a power, duty or function of government for the Government of Canada. As a result, payments made to IOGC would be reported as payments to the Government of Canada. Include specific amounts paid to the IOGC in the appropriate column of the reporting template or below the aggregated amount reported to the Government of Canada.

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