Northern Gateway: Timeline

Douglas Channel, the proposed termination point for an oil pipeline in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, is pictured in an aerial view in Kitimat, B.C., on Tuesday January 10, 2012. The 1,177-kilometre twin pipelines would run from Bruderheim, just outside Edmonton, to a tanker port in Kitimat, on the northern coast of B.C.
Douglas Channel, the proposed termination point for an oil pipeline in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, is pictured in an aerial view in Kitimat, B.C., on Tuesday January 10, 2012. The 1,177-kilometre twin pipelines would run from Bruderheim, just outside Edmonton, to a tanker port in Kitimat, on the northern coast of B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A decision on a pipeline linking British Columbia’s coast to the Alberta oil sands has been in the works for years. But the entire process has been going on for over a decade. A chronological look at events surrounding the Northern Gateway project since it was first proposed in 2002.

2002-2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014


March 6, 2002: Enbridge announced preliminary plans to build a pipeline that would link British Columbia’s coast with the Alberta oil sands.

April 14, 2005: Enbridge announced a $2.5 billion deal with PetroChina Co. to transport oil along the proposed pipeline.

October 14, 2005: Kitimat, British Columbia, is chosen by Enbridge as the endpoint for a pipeline due to its deepwater port.

November 1, 2006: Enbridge delays Gateway in favor of accelerating new lines to U.S. markets.

February 21, 2008: Demand from producers and refiners prompts Enbridge to rekindle Gateway, now estimated to cost C$4 billion and ship 525,000 bpd.

December 4, 2009: Canada’s National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued the Joint Review Panel Agreement of the Northern Gateway pipelines.


March 23, 2010: the Coastal First Nations Declaration bans oil supertankers from the Pacific North Coast. It is the first Indigenous law ban on the Enbridge project

May 27, 2010: Enbridge submitted its application to build the Northern Gateway pipeline to the National Energy Board.

July 5, 2010: Joint Review Panel (JRP) issued a Procedural Direction requesting comments on the draft list of issues, additional information Northern Gateway should be required to file and locations of the oral hearings.

July 26, 2010: Enbridge comes under fire for their response to an oil spill on a pipeline they operate in Michigan.

August 10, 2010: The Canadian Environmental Assessment and National Energy Board held a joint review panel session for the public. This welcomed discussion on issues and information about the application for the pipeline.

September 9, 2010: The JRP determined Enbridge submitted enough information for the project to proceed to public hearings.

December 2, 2010: 130 First Nations across Canada signed the Save the Fraser declaration.


January 19 2011: JRP requested Enbridge to provide additional info on the design and risk assessment of the pipelines due to geographical location of the proposed project.

December 5, 2011: Gitxsan Chiefs said ‘No’ to Enbridge.


January 9, 2012: Then-natural resources minister Joe Oliver issues an open letter branding oil pipeline opponents “radicals” who are attempting to “hijack” the hearing process with funds from “foreign special interest groups.”

January 10, 2012: Review panel holds its first public hearing that will travel through Alberta and B.C.

March 29, 2012: The Federal government announced changes to the Navigable Waters Act, and the rule governing the environmental review process for major projects, through the 2012 budget.

July 27, 2012: Premier Christy Clark said B.C. will not be a part of any national energy policy discussions until Alberta agrees to give B.C. its “fair share” of revenues from the Northern Gateway Project.

August 17, 2012: Media mogul David Black announced plans to pursue an oil refinery in Kitimat.

October 18, 2012: The BC provincial government and Enbridge publicly spar over whether Enbridge is providing evidence that the project would be safe.

December 12, 2012: A UBC Fisheries Centre report was released that said the financial costs of an oil spill off B.C.’s north coast could outweigh economic rewards of the pipeline.


March 18, 2013: Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announces changes to marine safety rules for oil tankers.

April 12, 2013: The joint review panel issued a list of 199 conditions Enbridge would have to meet if the pipeline project were to receive approval.

May 31, 2013: The B.C. government tells the JRP that they do not support the proposed pipeline project because Northern Gateway hasn’t addressed British Columbians’ environmental concerns.

June 26, 2013: Natural Resources Minster Joe Oliver announced pipelines companies will have to prove they have $1 billion to cover the cost of oil or gas spills.

November 5, 2013: Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford reached an agreement to support pipelines.

November 16, 2013: 115 anti-pipeline rallies were held across Canada, with the largest taking place in Vancouver at False Creek.

December 19, 2013: The Joint Review Panel recommended the approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project with 209 required conditions to be met.


April 12, 2014: Voters in Kitamat, B.C. voted against the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project in a non-binding plebiscite.

May 10, 2014: A national day of action against pipeline expansion drew thousands to Sunset Beach in Vancouver.

May 14, 2014: The federal government announced a new pipeline safety legislation that will apply to all pipelines — new and old. This includes absolute liability of a billion dollars to cover the cost of spills for pipeline companies — regardless of fault.

June 8, 2014: Pipeline opponents rallied in Vancouver on World Oceans Day.

June 20, 2014: The women of the Gitga’at Nation of British Columbia say they stretched wool yarn across the Douglas Channel on Friday in a symbolic protest against the federal government’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

June 17, 2014: Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau announced if he becomes Prime Minister, the Northern Gateway Pipeline will not happen.

July 24, 2014: British Columbia First Nations and environmental groups launched a fundraising campaign for the coming legal battle against the Northern Gateway pipeline.

September 5, 2014: The president of the Northern Gateway pipeline said the possibility of a 2018 start-up date is “quickly evaporating.”

September 27, 2014: Federal Court of Appeal gives green light for Northern Gateway legal challenge.


February 18, 2015: First Nations leaders in northern British Columbia threatened to block all attempts to move oil through the province by rail as they explore alternatives.

March 26, 2015: Watchdog group accuses CSIS of spying on Northern Gateway protests.

September 2, 2015: Janet Holder, the woman who spearheaded the Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, has died following a long battle with leukemia. She was 58.

October 1, 2015: Eight aboriginal bands, four environmental groups and a labour union attended the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver, trying to overturn the government’s approval of the plan to build the pipeline.

– With files from Justin McElroy and The Canadian Press