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Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel


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Newsletter March 2012 - Volume 4

Newsletter March 2012 [PDF 1513 KB]

Community Hearing Update

Community Hearings for Oral Evidence

Community Hearing for Oral Evidence, Kitamaat Village, BCThe community hearings for the Panel to receive oral evidence began in Kitamaat Village, BC on 10 January 2012. The Panel has since travelled to many locations in the area of the Project. At these hearings, intervenors had the opportunity to give evidence orally. Oral evidence is information that cannot be communicated in writing; this would include for example, oral traditional knowledge such as that given by Aboriginal peoples.

The community hearings for oral evidence will continue until April 2012. You can find the schedule for the hearings on the Panel’s website at and by clicking on “Upcoming Hearings”. On this page you can also find the links to live online broadcasts of the hearings as well as the written transcripts of what was said each day. All community hearings are open to everyone.

Community Hearings for Oral Statements

The Panel will start hearing oral statements at the community hearings in late March 2012. An oral statement is an opportunity for registered participants to provide their personal knowledge, views and concerns regarding the proposed Project to the Panel in their own words. Oral statements are brief and limited to a maximum of 10 minutes. Over 4,000 participants have registered to make an oral statement.

On 28 February 2012, the Panel issued Procedural Direction #5, which provides important information for participants registered to make an oral statement. Procedural Direction #5 can be found on the Panel’s website at under the “Procedural Direction” link.

Below are responses to some of the most frequently asked questions about oral statements.

Question: Who can provide an oral statement?

Individuals who registered by the 6 October 2011 deadline and who are not Intervenors are able to make an oral statement. The Panel will not permit “walk-in” registrations at the community hearings.

If you did not register by the deadline but would still like to share your personal knowledge, views or concerns with the Panel, you can submit a letter of comment by 31 August 2012. Please see Procedural Direction #5 for further information.

Question: How will I know when and where I am scheduled to present my oral statement?

The detailed schedule with the dates and venues for each location will be announced as soon as they are known and may be released in stages.

An online scheduling tool is being used to schedule the oral statement presentations in some locations. Detailed directions on the scheduling process were provided to registered participants in an email dated 9 March 2012. If you did not provide an email address in your registration, you will be contacted by telephone or mail.

Question: How can I find out more about the community hearings for oral statements?

If you have registered to provide an oral statement and would like to know more about these community hearings, the Process Advisory Team will be holding on-line information sessions. The information sessions will focus on explaining the public hearing process, what to expect at the community hearings, and tips for effective oral statements. The dates of these sessions are below:

21 March 2012 15 May 2012
10:00-11:00 a.m. PT
(11:00-12:00 p.m. MT)
10:00-11:00 a.m  PT
(11:00-12:00 p.m. MT)
and and
7:00-8:00 p.m. PT
(8:00-9:00 p.m. MT)
7:00-8:00 p.m. PT
(8:00-9:00 p.m. MT)

Details on how to access these sessions will be emailed to all participants who registered to provide an oral statement and provided an email address in their registration. If you would like to attend but did not provide an email address on your oral statement registration form, please contact the Process Advisory Team by email at, or by toll-free telephone at 1-866-582-1884.

Members of the Panel Secretariat will be available to answer any questions you may have about your oral statement and about the joint review process at each of the community hearings.

Community Hearings for Oral Statements

Hartley Bay Below is a list of the locations where the Panel will hear oral statements. Dates and venues will be announced as they are confirmed. For more information, check the Panel’s website under “Upcoming Hearings”.

Bella Bella, BC

Bella Coola, BC

Burns Lake, BC

Calgary, AB

Comox, BC

Edmonton, AB

Fort St. James, BC

Grande Prairie, AB

Hartley Bay, BC

Hazelton, BC

Kelowna, BC

Kitimat,, BC

Kitkatla, BC

Klemtu, BC

Old Massett, BC

Port Hardy, BC

Prince George, BC

Prince Rupert, BC

Skidegate, BC

Smithers, BC

Terrace, BC

Vancouver, BC

Victoria, BC

Process Update

On 27 January 2012, the Panel issued revisions to the Hearing Order and the schedule for the joint review process. Some of the key dates that have been revised are listed below:

  • 11 May 2012 - deadline for information requests to intervenors and government participants on their oral and written evidence
  • 6 July 2012 - deadline for responses to information requests to intervenors and government participants
  • 20 July 2012 - deadline for Northern Gateway’s reply evidence
  • 31 August 2012 - deadline to submit a letter of comment
  • 4 September 2012 - start of the questioning phase of the final hearings
  • April 2013 (estimated) - start of the argument phase of the final hearings

You can find the complete list of revisions to the Hearing Order on the public registry on the Panel’s website at

Kitamaat Village

The graphic below illustrates the key steps in the process. Steps listed above the line are applicable to registered Intervenors and Government Participants, and those below the line are applicable to the public and Aboriginal groups.

Key Steps in Hearing Process

Graphic Description

6 MAY/11 Hearing Order issued
AUG-OCT/11 Information Requestss to Applicant Round 1
6 OCT/11 Oral Statement Registration deadline
NOV-DEC/11 IRs to Applicant Round 2
JAN-APRIL/12 * Community Hearings - oral evidence
MARCH-JULY/12 Community Hearings - oral statements
MAY-JULY/12 Information Requests to Intervenors
20 JULY/12 Reply Evidence from Applicant due
31 AUG/12 Letter of Comment deadline
4 SEPT/12 Final Hearings - Questioning phase begins
NOV/12 - MARCH/13 Community Hearings resume - oral statements (estimated)
APRIL/13 Final Hearings - Final Argument phase begins (estimated)
End of 2013 Final Panel Decision (estimated)
* Currently ongoing

Looking Ahead

What happens after the final hearings?

After Parties have presented their final argument at the final hearings, the Panel will consider all the evidence before it. The Panel must meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act, when making its decisions. The decision process includes the following separate steps.

  1. The Panel releases an Environmental Assessment Report which includes:
    • the Panel’s conclusions regarding the significance of any environmental and socio-economic effects;
    • the Panel’s recommendations regarding mitigation measures and follow-up and monitoring programs that may be required; and
    • a summary of any comments received from the public and Aboriginal peoples.
    The Government of Canada will provide the Panel with a response to the Environmental Assessment Report. The Government Response will be made public. The Government Response will outline whether the Government of Canada agrees or disagrees with the conclusions and recommendations made by the Panel regarding the environmental and socio-economic effects of the Project.

  2. The Panel then considers all aspects of the Project and releases its Reasons for Decision which includes:
    • the decision on whether the Project is in the Canadian public interest; and
    • the decision as to whether to deny or approve the Project. If the Panel approves the Project it will identify conditions that Northern Gateway Pipelines Inc. must meet before, during and after the construction of the Project.

If the Panel decides that the Project is denied and cannot proceed, the review is complete. If the Panel decides that the Project can proceed, the decision must be approved by the Governor-in-Council who can either accept or reject the decision, but cannot modify it.

Questions About the Joint Review Process?

The Process Advisory Team is available to answer questions about the joint review process and how to participate. You can contact the Process Advisory Team at:

Toll-Free: 1-866-582-1884

You can also sign up for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Project Mailing List to receive periodic email updates on key steps in the joint review process. Just send your name and email address to


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