03/08/2012 01:52 EST | Updated 05/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Ottawa is mulling if 'balkanization' of offshore oversight is best: Oliver

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says Ottawa is still considering whether a separate offshore safety agency in Newfoundland and Labrador would be best for workers.

A distinct agency or division within the current offshore regulator was a key recommendation of a public inquiry into helicopter safety.

The probe was called after the crash of Cougar Flight 491 almost three years ago killed 17 of 18 people on board.

The province has supported the call for safety oversight that is distinct from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

Oliver says a key issue is whether a "balkanization" of regulation would improve safety for workers.

The federal Conservative government is intent on streamlining regulations to fast-track major developments and cut red tape.