Husky could be fined $1M per day for Saskatchewan oil spill

An investigation into a major oil spill in Saskatchewan last year has been handed over to Crown prosecutors.

Government officials said the investigation is not criminal, but could result in fines of up to $1 million per day for Husky Energy, the company at the centre of the spill.

"I am deeply concerned about this type of incident, and I think our actions today and going forward, I believe, show that we've taken this very seriously," Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan told reporters Thursday.

Despite the budget cuts in many other ministries, Duncan noted $1.4 million has been earmarked for new regulatory measures for the resource sector. Pipeline companies will also now pay to help finance government regulation enforcement, he said.

"Husky's response to the alarms has been extensively investigated and the details concerning their reasons for not shutting down the system are being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice," said Doug MacKnight of the Ministry of the Economy.

Husky takes responsibility: spokesperson

Husky will comply fully with the investigation, said company spokesperson Mel Duvall.

"Well, we'll have to answer any questions that are put to us. We've co-operated fully all along. We respect the process that's underway."

Duvall said Husky takes full responsibility for the spill and is doing everything possible to remedy the situation. He said information on the spill released by government officials Thursday is consistent with the company's information.

Husky's response to the spill last summer has been questioned by many. Some wonder why the oil spill was not detected or stopped on the day it began.

MacKnight said the justice ministry review will be conducted "as quickly as possible," but the file is large and technically complex.

The provincial government has submitted a bill for $1.1 million to Husky for expenses incurred in 2016 on the cleanup, MacKnight said.