Relative to other forms of alternative energy, tidal energy developments in Canada are still in their infancy. However, there has recently been significant interest in this area, and tidal projects are currently under consideration in three provinces: British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Although offshore lands for tidal project development are generally secured through long-term leases of Crown land, each of the above-referenced provinces has implemented project proposal and assessment procedures that must be followed by proponents prior to commencement of land lease discussions. In addition, while Crown land leases are typically governed by provincial legislation, the terms and procedures for leasing off-shore lands are found in provincial energy policies.

Nova Scotia is currently the only province with an operating tidal power project. In an effort to spur further tidal initiatives, the province sponsored a strategic environmental assessment to help identify the potential impact of tidal projects on marine life and other factors, it developed a tidal project policy framework to provide guidance for project proponents, and most recently, it distributed a request for project proposals.1

In British Columbia, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands have published a discussion paper describing the policy issues and implementation options associated with locating ocean energy projects on Crown land. The Ministries are also currently in the process of drafting a land use policy for ocean energy, to guide the Integrated Land Management Bureau2 and project proponents through the application process for tidal project proposals.

While the government of New Brunswick has given serious consideration to tidal power initiatives, it is currently behind its counterparts in Nova Scotia and British Columbia with respect to project implementation. The province is currently in the process of assessing potential project sites in the Bay of Fundy and developing a tidal energy policy, which is expected to be ready in the spring of 2008.