Thank you, Chair.
I want to thank both of the witnesses for appearing today—Mr. Mercer and Ms. Johnson. I should note that Ms. Johnson and I, along with Ms. Jones, served in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador, so we have experience with each other in another forum. It's good to see you both here today.
First of all, I want to note that it's been almost 30 years, or will be almost 30 years, since offshore safety was actually put in the hands of the C-NLOPB, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, and taken from the provincial and federal departments of labour that were formerly in charge of occupational health and safety in the offshore. That has been very disappointing to the unions from day one, in my experience, as I was in the House of Assembly when that was done in 1992. It was not until 2014 that there were actually enforceable regulations put in place.
These are the first attempts to do that in an enforceable way to provide the protection of the right to refuse unsafe work, to be able participate and have a say in the situation, and to have the same level of protection as you would have onshore.
It's particularly concerning that this has taken so long. I wonder if we had in place an independent offshore safety board, as recommended by Justice Wells of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry, whether there would be this delay of six or seven or eight years since 2014 to get these regulations in place.
Could both Mr. Mercer and Ms. Johnson comment on that, because Justice Wells asked for a separate, powerful, independent, knowledgeable body equipped with expert advice that would be devoted only to ensuring that the offshore health and safety regime were adequate.
Would that be in place now if we had that separate board? What's your opinion, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Mercer?