Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Project Summary

Key Facts

  • Twinning existing Edmonton–Burnaby pipeline
  • 89 percent of new construction along existing rights-of-way
  • $6.8-billion capital investment
  • 15,000 new jobs during construction
  • Strategic access to new global markets unlocks the true value of Canada’s natural resources
  • Project fits with Canada’s climate plan to 2030
  • Projected greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are within Alberta’s 100 megatonne cap
  • More than $300 million committed to Indigenous groups by proponent under mutual benefit and capacity agreements
  • $64.7 million to fund an Indigenous pipeline environment committee to ensure ongoing monitoring of the project
  • Oceans Protection Plan is most significant investment ever to protect our oceans and coastlines
  • Targeted action plan to promote the recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whale population
Map of proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Configuration.

Map of proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Configuration.

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This animated map shows the existing line 1 and proposed twinning of line 2 of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project areas of interest and geographic features within British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

Our Government has approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, subject to 157 binding conditions that will be enforced by the National Energy Board (NEB) before construction can begin, during construction and during operation. The conditions cover everything from project engineering and safety, to emergency preparedness, to air emissions and greenhouse gases. The Government has directed the NEB to issue a certificate for the project.

The project will involve building a new pipeline along the existing Trans Mountain pipeline route between Edmonton, Alberta, and Burnaby, British Columbia, which will increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 barrels to 890,000 barrels per day. The project will also expand the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby to permit it to increase the number of tankers per month it can receive from five to 34. The pipeline project will follow existing rights-of-way for 89 percent of its 1,147 kilometre length and add two berths to the existing marine terminal.

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Economic Benefits

  • 15,000 new jobs during construction.
  • 440 permanent jobs per year during operation.
  • $4.5 billion in federal and provincial government revenues to re-invest in priorities like hospitals, roads and clean energy initiatives.
  • Support to thousands of jobs in Canada’s crude oil production sector and supply chain.
  • Strategic access to new global markets unlocks the true value of Canada’s natural resources.

The $6.8-billion project will have significant economic benefits as it is expected to provide $4.5 billion in government revenues. It will create 15,000 new jobs in Alberta and B.C. during construction, beginning in 2017. Indigenous groups will also benefit from jobs and business opportunities as a result of over $300 million in mutual benefit agreements they have signed with the proponent.

The project will diversify Canada’s export market access for oil to markets in Washington State and northeast Asia (Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan) and to secondary markets in the United States such as California, Hawaii and Alaska. It will also help address an emerging bottleneck in Canada’s pipeline network, which might otherwise drive producers to greater reliance on transportation by rail.

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Environmental Protections

  • Targeted action to promote an effective recovery plan for the Southern Resident Killer Whale population.
  • Caribou habitat protection measures.
  • Project fits with Canada’s climate plan to 2030.
  • Projected GHG emissions are within Alberta’s 100 megatonne cap. World-leading marine and pipeline spill prevention and response.

Before any shipping from the project begins, the Government will immediately develop a strong set of actions to implement the Recovery Plan for the Southern Resident Killer Whale designed to more than mitigate the effects of the project. Substantive new actions will be developed and implemented to address all three main stressors impeding the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale population to:

  • reduce the impact of noise from marine vessels on killer whales;
  • ensure there is sufficient food availability for the whales; and reduce the pressure on the whale population from persistent contaminants.

The national Oceans Protection Plan is designed to achieve a world-leading marine safety system for our country's unique context that will increase our government’s capacity to prevent and improve response to marine spills.

The NEB has imposed conditions to limit adverse environmental effects from construction during caribou mating and migration seasons, and from vessel-related GHG emissions.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has assessed the GHG emissions associated with the upstream activities related to the project and was not able to conclude definitively on whether emissions will increase as a result of the project. 

The NEB considered the GHGs associated with increased marine shipping. All project-related vessels are required to follow international and federal regulations and apply best practices during operations. Tankers would carry an International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate and be required to have a volatile organic compound management plan.

To offset construction-related emissions, the NEB requires Trans Mountain to develop an offset plan to achieve zero net emissions.

Through its Climate Leadership Plan, the Government of Alberta is committing to cap oil sands emissions at 100 megatonnes of CO2 per year. This will limit future potential upstream GHG emissions.

With all these factors, the Government believes that the project does not impact the emissions projections that underpin the plan to meet or exceed Canada’s 2030 target of at least 30 percent reduction below 2005 levels of emissions.

The Pipeline Safety Act, which came into force in June 2016, strengthens Canada’s pipeline safety system by enshrining the “polluter pays” principle into law. Companies will be held liable regardless of fault — $1 billion for operators of major oil pipelines — and required to have the financial resources to respond to potential incidents. The Act and its supporting regulations will ensure Canada leads the world in safety standards for federally regulated pipelines.

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Indigenous Involvement

  • Extensive consultations with participant funding.
  • More than $300 million committed to Indigenous groups by proponent under mutual benefit and capacity agreements.
  • $64.7 million for Indigenous advisory and monitoring committee.
  • Economic Pathways Partnership to leverage economic and business opportunities.

Our government is committed to renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. We are committed to reconciliation and will work in partnership to address issues of importance to Indigenous communities.

Government officials consulted with 117 potentially affected Indigenous groups, and the outcomes of these consultations are publicly available in the Crown Consultation and Accommodation Report. The objective of these consultations was to discuss the extent to which the NEB’s recommended conditions for the project respond to concerns from Indigenous groups and identify any outstanding issues and potential accommodation measures to mitigate impacts on their rights.

The Government offered $2 million in participant funding to potentially impacted Indigenous groups in addition to the $2.3 million provided as part of the NEB review process.

To respond to what we heard during these consultations, the Government will provide up to $64.7 million in funding for an Indigenous advisory and monitoring committee that will work with federal regulators and the proponent to oversee environmental aspects throughout the project life cycle.

The Government also announced that it will establish an Economic Pathways Partnership, which will make it easier for Indigenous groups to access existing federal programs that will help support job training and business opportunities.

Furthermore, more than $300 million has been committed to Indigenous groups by the proponent under mutual benefit agreements which may include provisions for Indigenous employment, training and procurement opportunities.

In addition, the Government of Canada listened to and worked with Indigenous communities and these discussions informed the Government of Canada’s national Oceans Protection Plan, which includes measures built on Canadian science, technology and traditional knowledge to protect Canada’s marine environment.

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Community Consultations

  • 44 public meetings in 11 communities on pipeline route.
  • More than 35,000 questionnaire submissions.
  • More than 20,000 email submissions.
  • 1,600 participants in NEB review process.

In May 2016, Minister Carr named a three-member Ministerial Panel for the proposed project. The objective of the Ministerial Panel was to hear from Canadians and local communities and Indigenous groups along the proposed pipeline and shipping route to hear views that may not have been considered as part of the NEB review.

The panel held 44 public meetings in 11 Alberta and British Columbia communities along the proposed pipeline and marine shipping route. More than 650 Canadians spoke or made presentations to the panel at these public meetings, which were attended by 2,400 people. In addition, the panel received more than 20,000 email submissions.

To complement the panel’s activities, a web portal was also set up (in both official languages) to receive comments. In total, 35,258 people completed an online questionnaire about the project, which is publicly available.

These consultations complemented the NEB review process, where over 1,600 participants had the opportunity to provide evidence. Participants included Indigenous peoples, businesses, communities, landowners, individuals and non-government and government organizations.

Decision Principles

In making its decision, the Government followed the five principles it established for project reviews, which were designed to restore trust in the environmental assessment process.  

  1. No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line.
  2. Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence.
    • The Government considered the NEB’s report and the 157 conditions it imposed.
    • Experts from Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada provided scientific and technical advice throughout the NEB’s review.
    • Indigenous peoples brought forward traditional knowledge including observations about potential impacts on the marine environment.
  1. The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered.
    • Ministerial Panel held 44 public meetings.
    • More than 35,000 questionnaire responses.
  1. Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated.
    • Added four months to consultations.
    • Provided funding for participants.
    • Indigenous peoples will be involved in the projects through monitoring committees and economic partnerships.
  1. Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.
    • Direct GHG emissions not significant.
    • Upstream GHG emissions must operate within the cap in Alberta’s Oil Sands Emissions Limit Act.

The outcomes of all consultation and assessment processes are available to Canadians.

Related Project Information

Ministerial Panel Report

Visit the projects engagement website to view the summary of NRCan’s public consultations on this project.

Online Questionnaire Report

Read the summary of NRCan’s online consultations on this project.

National Energy Board Report

Read the NEB’s decision and recommendations.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Assessment

Review of Related Upstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimates

Crown Consultations and Accommodation Report

Read the summary of the Government’s consultations with Indigenous groups.


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