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Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel

gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca

9 People and communities

Contents

9 People and communities

9.1 Occupancy and resource use

9.1.1 Commercial fishing

9.1.2 Forestry

9.1.3 Trapping, hunting, and recreational fishing

9.1.4 Regional land use and marine planning

9.1.5 Use of designated recreation areas, protected areas, and non-consumptive areas

9.1.6 Aggregate, mineral, and oil and gas resource activities

9.1.7 Land rights and acquisition

9.1.8 Navigation and navigation safety

9.1.9 Agriculture and private land use activities

9.1.10 Visual and aesthetic resources

9.1.11 Marine parks, protected areas, and recreation areas

9.2 Heritage resources

9.3 Infrastructure and services

9.3.1 Housing, accommodations, and work camps

9.3.2 Utilities and infrastructure

9.3.3 Recreational and leisure facilities

9.4 Social and cultural wellbeing

9.4.1 Changes to delivery of social services

9.4.2 Changes to health conditions and delivery of services

9.4.3 Changes to educational opportunities

9.5 Employment and economy

9.5.1 Total economic effects

9.5.2 Direct economic effects during construction

9.5.3 Direct economic effects from operations

9.5.4 Analysis of project costs and benefits

9.5.5 Evidence of Coastal First Nations and the Haisla Nation

9.5.6 Concerns raised by intervenors and the public

9.5.7 Equity participation by Aboriginal groups

9.6 Traditional land and resource use

9.6.1 Northern Gateway's Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) program

9.6.2 Northern Gateway's assessment of potential effects on traditional land and marine use

9.6.3 Traditional land and marine use information provided to the Panel by Aboriginal groups

9.6.4 Concerns raised about Northern Gateway's approach to assessing effects on traditional land use

9.6.5 Aboriginal fisheries and harvesting

9.7 Human health

9 People and communities

The Panel has considered the potential effects of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project on people and communities along the right-of-way and in coastal areas. The Panel heard from concerned citizens, Aboriginal groups, governments, and organizations throughout Alberta and British Columbia regarding both the potential benefits and adverse effects the project may have on their communities. The Panel listened to their concerns and sought to understand how they felt the project could affect them. This chapter discusses evidence related to the socio-economic elements of Northern Gateway's application and the Panel's views related to these topics.

9.1 Occupancy and resource use

Northern Gateway said that project development would occur in an area subject to numerous land uses, including commercial fishing, forestry, resource extraction, hunting and trapping, and recreational pursuits. It said that the project has the potential to affect local communities, Aboriginal groups, and other stakeholders engaging in these types of activities.

9.1.1 Commercial fishing

Northern Gateway filed detailed baseline data on commercial fisheries, including landed weight, dollar value, gear type, and fishing efforts within the marine Project Development Area and the Confined Channel Assessment Area over a 10-year period (1998-2008). Northern Gateway noted the economic and employment importance of the commercial fishery to British Columbia's coastal communities. It also said that the potential effects of terminal construction, operations, and project-related marine transportation on commercial fisheries could include restriction of access to fishing grounds, loss of or damage to fishing gear, changes to distribution and abundance of harvested species, and aesthetic, visual, and noise disturbances.

Many intervenors were concerned with the effects that fishery closures due to construction, operations, or a spill might have on their employment or income gained from commercial fishing. The United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union said that there are over 2,000 shore-workers and fisherman along the central and north British Columbia coasts. It indicated that the fishing industry is the largest private sector employer on the North Coast and that, in 2010, the landed value of the commercial fishery along the central and north coasts was $330 million. It also said that the north and central coast commercial fishery accounts for approximately 50-75 per cent of British Columbia's total commercial fisheries revenue. The salmon fishery alone totaled over $41 million in 2010. The Union said that its specific concerns regarding the project's shipping operations include the inability to eat shellfish from areas where vessels tie up, vessel wakes destroying shorelines, interference with shoreline harvesting, and the introduction of invasive species from hull fouling. It was also concerned about increased vessel traffic in fishing and diving areas that would endanger fishermen and their boats, and the effects that marine loading and transport operations, including spills, leakage, and bilge pumping of vessels would have on members' access to marine foods.

Aboriginal intervenors from the coast said that commercial fisheries and seafood processing represent the largest proportion of Aboriginal employment and are key components of their local communities. Aboriginal groups, such as the Gitga'at First Nation, Council of the Haida Nation, and Coastal First Nations, said that, if commercial catches drop due to routine project activities, there would likely be significant losses in Aboriginal employment, vessel ownership, and income. They said that an accidental spill scenario resulting in a commercial fisheries closure would also have a significant effect on their livelihood.

Northern Gateway said that, where individuals or businesses can demonstrate a quantifiable loss as a result of restrictions imposed on marine or foreshore access or activities as a result of a spill, it would provide compensation to offset these losses. The company said this could include compensation for loss of revenue, damage to boats or equipment, or any costs for having to travel to alternate sites to pursue commercial fishing.

Northern Gateway committed to establish a Fisheries Liaison Committee (FLC) to facilitate effective communication among all types of marine fisheries, along with regulators and other interested parties, in a forum to address specific fisheries issues and develop mutually acceptable solutions. Northern Gateway said that the FLC could play a role in reducing any potential economic losses due to reduced fishing opportunities as a result of construction and operations.

Northern Gateway said that the FLC members themselves would determine the committee's full mandate and structure, and that the proposed committee framework anticipates using a consensus-based model. As a result, the company said that the full spectrum of activities that the committee would engage in would be determined by the committee itself, once it is formed, but could include:

  • scheduling vessel movements to avoid peak fishing activity during some commercial fishery openings (e.g., the salmon and herring fisheries);
  • implementing measures to reduce conflicts with other fishing activities, including recreational and Food, Social, and Ceremonial (FSC) fisheries;
  • initiatives to improve fishing in other areas outside the marine Project Development Area;
  • developing protocols for reporting loss of or damage to fishing gear due to shipping operations;
  • determining appropriate compensation for loss of or damage to fishing gear due to shipping operations;
  • developing methods to communicate construction and tanker traffic schedules to marine users;
  • developing protocols for the whale spotting vessel to alert pilots and vessel captains of specific fishing activity locations, as well as means to notify or alert fishers of approaching vessels;
  • developing methods to communicate fishing openings and locations to pilots and vessel captains; and
  • discussing monitoring programs, including catch monitoring programs, for commercial-recreational, recreational, and FSC fisheries.

Northern Gateway anticipated that the first FLC meeting would be scheduled 6 months prior to commencing in-water construction of the marine terminal and it expects the FLC to remain an integral part of the project throughout its lifespan.

Several intervenors expressed concerns about the FLC's long-term funding and viability, how it would address compensation for damaged fishing equipment, how it would resolve conflicts between fishers and the project, as well as its mandate and structure.

Northern Gateway committed to funding the FLC's initial operating costs and ongoing administrative costs for the life of the project. Although committee membership has yet to be identified, Northern Gateway said that it should reflect individuals and groups in the best position to identify potential conflicts and that have the most at stake to see conflicts successfully resolved. The FLC would have an independent chairperson and administrative support. Northern Gateway said that it envisioned that there would be one or two representatives from each affected sector or interested party and that the committee may include, but not necessarily be limited to, participation by:

  • Northern Gateway;
  • representatives from each fishery (commercial, commercial-recreational, FSC, and recreational), including associations and unions;
  • representatives from each coastal Aboriginal group in proximity to the Confined Channel Assessment Area and Open Water Area;
  • government agencies (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard);
  • other affected parties; and
  • any other shippers and vessel operators in the area that are interested.

Northern Gateway said that, while not all fishers have committed to participating, it would go ahead with establishing the FLC and seek to include groups such as the British Columbia Coast Pilots, the British Columbia Chamber of Shipping, and the Government of Canada. It would also encourage other large operators to participate, with the hope that, ultimately, other stakeholders, including commercial fishers, would join the committee. If fishers choose not to participate, Northern Gateway said that it would retain consultants to provide technical advice on sighting methods, timing and locations of different fisheries, associated key life history phases of harvested fish, and vessel operations. Northern Gateway also indicated that it would look at ways to ensure that funding is not a barrier to participation, particularly for Aboriginal groups.

Responding to intervenor concerns, Northern Gateway referred to two successful liaison organizations being used in Atlantic Canada to assist the petroleum and fishing industries in identifying potential conflicts and arriving at mutually acceptable solutions. It said that the FLC would be distinct from the Atlantic programs in that its focus would be on transiting tankers, as opposed to offshore exploration. Lessons learned by these other organizations would help develop the FLC's objectives, priorities, and management structures and mechanisms. Regarding the FLC's feasibility, Northern Gateway said that nothing like the FLC currently exists on the North Coast and it believes that, if the various fishing industry sectors (commercial, FSC, and recreational) can sit down together with shippers, the effects of ship movements on these groups can be reduced.

9.1.2 Forestry

Northern Gateway said that, in Alberta, the pipeline right-of-way would intersect five forestry management areas. In British Columbia, it would intersect five major timber supply areas, 3 tree farm licenses, 3 community forest licences, and 12 woodlots.

Northern Gateway said that, during construction, key potential effects on forestry activities could include a reduced forestry land base, merchantable timber loss, contributing to the spread of mountain pine beetle, intersecting high-priority forestry plots, and forestry access disruption or improvement.

Northern Gateway indicated that timber clearing for the pipeline right-of-way, roads, power line easements, pump stations, other infrastructure, and the Kitimat Terminal would represent a loss of harvestable forestry land base for the duration of the project, plus at least 1 harvest-regeneration cycle for forest recovery (60 to 100 years). Northern Gateway estimated that the total land base loss in Alberta and British Columbia would be 7,253.3 hectares, leading to an estimated loss of approximately 1 million cubic metres of timber. This represents 0.04 per cent of forestry stakeholders' land base and 0.06 per cent of their net productive forestry land base.

Northern Gateway's planned mitigation for reducing the forestry land base includes:

  • compensating each affected timber tenure holder, where necessary, and in accordance with provincial standards;
  • providing maps and early notification of the pipeline right-of-way and other physical work to potentially-affected regional forestry stakeholders;
  • coordinating and integrating advanced harvesting of Project Development Area timber into forestry stakeholders cut plans, where possible; and
  • considering, where requested by the forestry stakeholders, localized right-of-way re-routing to avoid and eliminate the loss of long-term research plots and silviculture sites.

Natural Resources Canada said that the risk of the project contributing to the spread of mountain pine beetle through clearing and transporting infested logs could be efficiently mitigated by adhering to provincial forest management practices. Northern Gateway committed to abide by all provincial requirements.

Aboriginal intervenors with forest licences, such as the Kitselas First Nation, expressed concerns about the loss of merchantable timber along the right-of-way and how timber would be salvaged. Northern Gateway said that it would work with stakeholders to integrate forest clearing for the project into their harvest plans. Northern Gateway also committed to working with timber tenure holders and Aboriginal communities to develop a Timber Salvage Plan that would include opportunities for Aboriginal groups to harvest timber. This plan's purpose would be to have local industry use as much Project Development Area timber as feasible.

Northern Gateway said that it would follow Enbridge's tree-for-tree and hectare-for-hectare program where, for every merchantable tree that is cut down, another tree would be planted. Tree planting would occur initially on temporary work space areas disturbed by construction. Northern Gateway said that it would then work with appropriate resource agencies to identify areas where replanting would provide the most benefit, either to communities or wildlife. For its hectare-for-hectare program, the company said that it would work with appropriate agencies and stakeholders to focus on the best locations for conservation in western Canada. Northern Gateway said that it would work to restore ecosystems similar to those the project would potentially be disturbing. It also said that the hectare-for-hectare program would focus on legacy disturbances, such as roads or other linear features that are found on Crown land.

9.1.3 Trapping, hunting, and recreational fishing

In its application, Northern Gateway indicated that the right-of-way would intersect 38 registered trapping areas in Alberta and 52 trapping management units in British Columbia. Northern Gateway said that hunting and recreational fishing are important activities and sources of food for local residents and tourists along the proposed right-of-way as well as near the Kitimat Terminal and within the Confined Channel Assessment Area.

Northern Gateway said that, during construction, noise and the presence of people, equipment, and materials could cause a temporary thinning-out of furbearers and game species near the right-of-way, and that project activities might encroach on, or obstruct access to, trappers' trail systems, staging areas, trapping sites, and cabins. The company said that project activities might also temporarily obstruct access to prime recreational fishing locations and sites during construction. Northern Gateway said that it does not expect any interruption to trapping, hunting, and fishing along the right-of-way during operations, as wildlife would return to the area when construction ends.

Aboriginal intervenors and other land users expressed concerns about access disruption, effects on furbearing animals, and the potential loss of income. For example, Driftpile First Nation said that the project would permanently affect the traplines and fur management areas that it intersects as construction noise and activities would likely drive animals away from the area. Northern Gateway said that it has planned a variety of measures to mitigate trapping, hunting, and recreational fishing disruptions, including, but not limited to:

  • during construction, avoiding, where possible, furbearing species' prime denning and breeding habitats;
  • notifying trappers, guide-outfitters, and the Alberta and British Columbia fish and wildlife branches of schedules and locations, with maps, well before clearing and construction begins, as well as including updates within the Environmental Protection Management Plan for construction as to how the notification process is proceeding; and
  • compensating affected trappers according to established industry and provincial protocols when reduced fur harvest and lost revenue are established, as well as for any disturbance to trails, staging areas, and parking sites.

9.1.4 Regional land use and marine planning

Northern Gateway said that the proposed pipeline route would cross nine land use planning areas: two in Alberta and seven in British Columbia. The company said that, from east to west, the route would cross the White Area and Green Area in Alberta, and the Dawson Creek, Prince George, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Lakes, Morice, and Kalum South Land and Resource Management Plan areas in British Columbia. Northern Gateway provided a list of all land use and ecosystem management plans that would apply to the project. It said that these plans specify resource management and land use objectives, and provide general mitigation strategies. Northern Gateway said that it used these in its project effects assessment, in selecting valued ecosystem components, and in establishing related specific parameters and thresholds.

The following Aboriginal groups submitted land and marine use planning documents during the proceeding:

  • Council of the Haida Nation;
  • Daiya-Mattess Keyoh;
  • Gitga'at First Nation;
  • Gitxaala Nation;
  • Heiltsuk Tribal Council; and
  • Kitasoo/Xaixais Integrated Resource Authority.

In their plans, Aboriginal groups described how these provide integrated approaches to land and marine planning. The Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation said that its marine use plan sets out to balance culture, the economy, and ecosystems to ensure a future for the younger generation. It also said that its marine use plan supports other plans, such as the Klemtu Tourism Strategic Plan, that describes mechanisms to increase revenues in industries such as marine tourism, wildlife viewing, and aquaculture, all of which are important employers in the community. The Council of the Haida Nation said that its integrated marine use planning efforts help support existing economic activities such as commercial and recreational fisheries, seafood processing, marine tourism, marine transportation, and research, monitoring, and enforcement activities.

In its oral evidence, the Kitselas First Nation shared information regarding its Land and Resource Stewardship Policy, which describes community objectives and sets out both general principles and more specific policies for land and water resource development and use. It said that the policy informs economic activity within their traditional territory, including the Kitselas forestry harvesting business that has harvested 400 cubic metres of timber over the last 5 years. The Daiya-Mattess Keyoh said that its forestry management plan took its values into consideration with the goal of protecting culturally-significant areas and wildlife.

Coastal Aboriginal groups said that these plans are based on co-management principles developed with provincial and federal government bodies to revitalize the marine-based economy. Their concerns are that the project could derail these plans. Aboriginal groups also expressed concerns about how Northern Gateway had taken existing marine use plans into consideration in its application. They questioned Northern Gateway's awareness of the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) initiative, including how this initiative's atlases and data incorporate indigenous customs and practices.

Aboriginal groups said that they are participating in the PNCIMA initiative. They described the initiative as a new mechanism to improve decision-making and as a collaborative approach to integrated management planning in an effort to minimize conflicts among ocean users. They said that the goal of PNCIMA is to provide an opportunity for federal, provincial, First Nations, and local governments, as well as stakeholders, to address environmental, social, cultural, and economic issues in an integrated manner.

Northern Gateway said that it is also participating in the PNCIMA initiative, uses the same maps provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and has identified the same biologically important areas in its project assessment. Northern Gateway said that it respects that Aboriginal groups feel a responsibility to protect the coastal areas and waters.

9.1.5 Use of designated recreation areas, protected areas, and non-consumptive areas

Northern Gateway said that it identified 11 formally-designated protected and recreation areas within the Project Development Area. In its project assessment, Northern Gateway said that it considered outdoor recreation stakeholders and their activities in these areas, including:

  • ecotourism businesses;
  • snowmobiling;
  • skiing;
  • mountaineering and hiking;
  • mountain biking; and
  • conservation, naturalists, canoeing, and rafting groups.

The company said one such area is the proposed Burnie River Protected Area in British Columbia that was planned by provincial authorities in consultation with, and in consideration of, the project, making allowance for the right-of-way to pass through it. The company said this area falls under the Morice Land and Resource Management Plan that is aimed at promoting wilderness recreation and protecting ecological values, while restricting motorized access.

Northern Gateway said that visual and noise disturbances could disrupt outdoor recreational ecotourism activities or valued wildlife (e.g., grizzly bear, caribou, and mountain goat). As mitigation, Northern Gateway said that it would include sensory and noise management measures within its Environmental Protection Management Plan for construction. It said that it would also consult with stakeholders to limit and control motor vehicle access for valued wildlife in the proposed Burnie River Protected Area, and consider provincial landscape design guidelines.

Many individuals submitted their concerns related to project effects on recreational and protected areas through oral statements, oral evidence and letters of comment. Individuals described the many recreational activities that are available to users along the right-of-way, including hiking, boating, fishing, snowmobiling, biking, and camping. They expressed their concerns about interruption to these activities during construction as well as the effect potential spills may have on their ability to enjoy these recreational areas. The District of Fort St. James said that community members are strongly devoted to living in Fort St. James largely for the quality of life they enjoy as a result of access to clean water and vibrant wilderness.

Individuals said that they had specifically moved to northwestern British Columbia because of the natural amenities it has to offer, as they were looking for experiences that only the mountains, the rivers, and the ocean could provide. Douglas Channel Watch described how local citizens use the recreational trails and waters in and around Douglas Channel and the Kitimat River valley. It said that it was important to protect the environmental integrity of Douglas Channel for the present and future generations. Aboriginal groups, local citizens, and people who had visited the project areas described the deep connection they felt to the land and the coast. They talked about Northern British Columbia's unique ecosystem, stating that it is a natural resource like no other and that the Great Bear Rainforest, extending from north of Vancouver Island to southeastern Alaska, are irreplaceable. One letter noted that it is more than a place – it is spirit, soul and pristine in the most literal sense. People described how they travelled to the North Coast to experience life in an area largely untouched by human activity, to connect with nature. They described the diversity and abundance of wildlife along the route, which they felt could change with increased industrial activity. One individual noted that she finds peace and power in the wilderness, while another spoke of the awe and admiration he had for the beauty and the natural richness of the land.

Aboriginal groups described the spiritual connection they have with the land and the waters. The Kelly Lake Cree Nation said that many of the rivers, lakes and mountains that the pipeline would travel through are sacred and spiritual areas. The Office of the Wet'suwet'en described how they look after their traditional territories because as a people they are a part of the land. The Council of the Haida Nation said that the foundation of Haida culture is based in the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical relationship with the lands and waters, that this spiritual connection relies on continuity, and that it is passed on from generation to generation. Gitxaala First Nation said that coastal waters are their place in the world and expressed the importance of the spiritual nature of their relationships with the environment that surrounds them. Haisla Nation said that family and community livelihood depends on natural resources and it said that it was concerned that a spill would destroy the relationship between the land, families, and the community. Both the Gitga'at First Nation and the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation noted that the Kermode bear, which is only found within the Great Bear Rainforest, is of great cultural and spiritual importance to them. They also noted that this area is a central part of future ecotourism plans and that the protection of the rainforest is part of their stewardship responsibilities.

9.1.6 Aggregate, mineral, and oil and gas resource activities

Within the Project Development Area in Alberta, Northern Gateway said that there are 2 coal lease applications, 444 oil and gas sector pipeline agreements, 63 mineral surface leases, 15 pipeline installation leases for infrastructure such as pump stations or metering facilities, and 8 right-of-entry agreements granted to pipeline operators by the Surface Rights Board.

In British Columbia, the company said that the Project Development Area bisects one mineral claim, but does not cross any active mines. It also said that there is 1 private aggregate pit within the Project Development Area – the Canfor 737 kilometre pit situated 10 metres from the proposed pipeline centreline.

Northern Gateway said that project activities might conflict with planned activities by mineral, oil, and gas tenure holders, including the Canfor 737 kilometre pit in the Project Development Area. To reduce any conflicts, Northern Gateway said that its proposed mitigation included notifying all tenure holders to coordinate planned activities and secure any necessary agreements, negotiating with existing pipeline right-of-way holders to route the project parallel to, or partially on, those rights-of-ways to limit disturbance, and consulting with the holder of the Canfor 737 kilometre pit.

9.1.7 Land rights and acquisition

In its application, Northern Gateway said that, in order to construct, operate, and maintain the pipelines, facilities, and project infrastructure, it must acquire land rights from the Crown and private landowners in both Alberta and British Columbia. It identified a 1-kilometre-wide corridor for the proposed 1,178-kilometre-long pipeline route. Northern Gateway said that it was seeking approval to locate the project within this 1-kilometre-wide corridor to allow a certain amount of flexibility as it addressed technical issues and landowner and other stakeholder concerns. The permanent pipeline right-of-way would be 25 metres wide in most locations within the corridor and occupy 2,921 hectares. Northern Gateway said that the exact location of the pipelines' shared 25-metre-wide right-of-way would be determined after detailed engineering, if the project were to be approved. The company indicated that, during construction, an additional 25 metres of temporary workspace would be required along the entire length, representing a total of approximately 2,886 hectares.

Northern Gateway said that extra temporary workspace would be required at specific locations for construction activities such as watercourse, road, and utility crossings, and timber storage. Northern Gateway said that these locations would be identified during detailed engineering design, and construction planning. Each location's width would depend on site-specific needs, but might range from 5 to 20 metres on either side of the construction work area. Northern Gateway estimated that the cumulative total of extra temporary workspace would be approximately 10 per cent of the total right-of-way required during construction.

Northern Gateway said that 254 hectares would be required for land at pump stations and land within the Kitimat Terminal fence line. Infrastructure such as access roads, construction camps, stockpile sites, excess cut disposal areas, and power line easements would require 1,634 hectares. The company indicated that developing the Kitimat Terminal and the Clore and Hoult tunnels would require a combination of blast and haul techniques, generating a large volume of waste soil and rock. This waste would be transported to already-identified excess cut disposal areas. For the tunnels, each disposal area would require 20 hectares.

Northern Gateway estimated the total land area required for the project to be 8,276 hectares. It said that approximately 516 kilometres of the right-of-way is in Alberta, with about half on Crown land and half on private land. The company said that, in British Columbia, more than 90 per cent of the 656-kilometre-long right-of-way is on Crown land.

As described in Chapter 3, Northern Gateway has commenced consultation with landowners and occupants within the applied-for 1-kilometre-wide pipeline corridor, as well as those within 1.5 kilometres of a pump station location. As of March 2013, Northern Gateway said that there were 1,438 landowners and occupants within these areas. Northern Gateway indicated that it would seek all necessary land rights and approvals by negotiating for easement of statutory right-of-way agreements, temporary workspace agreements, access agreements, and fee simple purchase agreements. Northern Gateway said that it would not commence the land acquisition process until it received approval for the project, and that all land acquisition would comply with the provisions of the National Energy Board Act. Northern Gateway indicated that compensation for land would be paid in accordance with industry standards and applicable legislation, and would be dealt with on a one-on-one basis with each landowner along the route.

Northern Gateway said that, as part of its consultation process, it met directly with 99 per cent of identified landowners and occupants and mailed information to the remaining 1 per cent. The company said that it has discussed issues and received feedback from these stakeholders and would compile all commitments made to landowners and occupants within the construction line list, to be provided to the relevant construction team for routine tracking and reporting. It said that all of these records would be maintained for review purposes. Northern Gateway said that stakeholder input would be considered and incorporated, as appropriate, into the final Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan before the document is finalized.

Throughout the hearing process, Northern Gateway filed updated information relating to ongoing consultation including tables noting issues of concerns and examples of information sent to landowners. Northern Gateway said that the general concerns of landowners and occupants focused on detailed routing of the pipeline, compensation for land rights, potential environmental effects, safety of pipelines, and effects on industrial development.

Two landowners raised concerns during the hearing regarding routing on their lands. One landowner requested that Northern Gateway consider rerouting the proposed project to avoid his land. He also questioned the timeliness of response to his request for alternative routing. In response, Northern Gateway indicated that it evaluated both northern and southern route alternatives, and concluded that the proposed route across his lands was preferred because it significantly minimizes grading and associated disturbances, provides favourable watercourse crossings, and would cost less to construct and maintain. Northern Gateway agreed to develop and provide a geotechnical investigation work proposal to the landowner for review and approval, including investigation of a horizontal directional drill.

A second landowner expressed concerns in her oral presentation to the Panel that the proposed routing of the pipelines would intersect, or be near to, cultivated berry fields and orchards, fenced pastures and corrals, a water well, and the house and farm buildings located on her property. In response, Northern Gateway said that its route refinements filed with the Panel in December 2012 would relocate the proposed pipelines approximately 230 metres from her residence.

Northern Gateway also responded to requests from Aboriginal groups regarding routing on reserve land. It relocated the pipelines onto Alexander Indian Reserve Nos. 134 and 134A as a result of negotiations with Alexander First Nation, relocated the Whitecourt pump station onto the Alexis Indian Reserve No. 232 as requested by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, and moved the Bear Lake pump station and pipelines off the Sas Mighe Indian Reserve No. 32 as requested by the McLeod Lake Indian Band.

When the application was initially filed, Northern Gateway labelled the applied-for route "Route R." Three route updates were subsequently filed: "Route T" in December 2010, "Route U" in August 2012, and "Route V" in December 2012. Some intervenors said that the route revisions made it difficult to remain fully informed and respond to these updates. Northern Gateway said that some of the route revisions have been as a direct result of the input of landowners and that the pipeline route could be subject to further adjustments to respond to landowner input. Northern Gateway said that it is attempting to be proactive, to meet with landowners, Aboriginal groups, and other stakeholders along the route, to identify opportunities to modify and change the route to address some the concerns that these groups have. It said that the route planning is ongoing as a result of continued dialogue, consultation, engagement, and the receipt of additional technical information.

9.1.8 Navigation and navigation safety

Prior to 3 July 2013, Transport Canada was the 'appropriate authority' to approve National Energy Board-regulated pipeline crossings of navigable waters under the National Energy Board Act. The Panel notes that National Energy Board Act amendments, which came into force on that date, now require the National Energy Board, when making its recommendation report, to take into account the effects that the issuance of a certificate in respect of a pipeline that passes in, on, over, under, through, or across navigable waters, might have on navigation, including safety of navigation. Jurisdiction over shipping safety remains with Transport Canada.

As a result of these changes, the Panel has considered the potential of the pipeline crossings, marine terminal, and ancillary works related to the project to adversely affect navigation and navigation safety at navigable waters.

Northern Gateway said that nearly 1,000 defined waterbodies would be crossed with either trenched or trenchless crossing methods. Vehicle and equipment crossings of waterbodies would be required along the right-of-way, power lines would be constructed to supply electrical power for the pump stations, and a marine terminal would be constructed at Kitimat. Northern Gateway also said that all proposed waterbody crossing methods are preliminary and it would finalize the crossing methods during detailed engineering.

Prior to the transition of responsibilities for navigation and navigation safety, Transport Canada requested information from Northern Gateway on waterbodies proposed to be crossed by the pipeline and ancillary works, as well as information on contingency plans for proposed horizontal directional drill crossings of navigable waters. Transport Canada also requested information on the proposed specific location, timing, and methodology of marine terminal construction. Northern Gateway said that information on waterbodies at pipeline and ancillary work crossings would be available after detailed engineering, which would inform detailed routing. Northern Gateway also said that it provided drawings of the proposed Kitimat Terminal and marine terminal facilities as part of the TERMPOL studies, that preliminary contingency plans for alternate crossings were provided in the project application, and that it did not anticipate any project effects on navigation arising from power line crossings.

Transport Canada also asked Northern Gateway whether it had discussed, with any potentially-affected Aboriginal groups, specific concerns related to project components to be built in, on, under, over, through, or across any navigable waters. Northern Gateway said that it had not yet discussed the particulars of project effects on navigable waters with Aboriginal groups, as particulars of navigable waters could not be ascertained before detailed routing. Northern Gateway said that few, if any, concerns had been raised on waterbody navigation. Northern Gateway also said that, during detailed route selection, it would provide an opportunity for participating Aboriginal groups to review the specific routing and exact crossing locations. Northern Gateway said that, if issues are raised regarding effects on navigation, they would be addressed.

Northern Gateway committed to make all reasonable efforts to limit impediments to navigation prior to, and during, project construction. Northern Gateway committed to inform user groups on a regular basis, and to clearly and safely mark hazards to navigation.

9.1.9 Agriculture and private land use activities

Northern Gateway's application indicated that the right-of-way crosses agricultural lands in both Alberta and British Columbia. The company said that the lands in Alberta intersect the White Area and fall within lands that are zoned primarily for industrial use. In British Columbia, the company said that the Project Development Area includes an area of Agricultural Land Reserve near Fort St. James. As part of the land acquisition process for these lands, Northern Gateway said that it would apply for reclassification of the agricultural lands in British Columbia. Northern Gateway committed to provide advance notification of the reclassification proposal to owners of this land, as well as notify other agricultural stakeholders in both provinces of the construction schedule.

Northern Gateway said that less than 1 per cent of the White Area in Alberta and less than 1 per cent of the total Agricultural Land Reserve in British Columbia would be used during construction activities. It said that this temporary disturbance would last only during the construction period, after which the lands would be reclaimed to their original state before construction. The company also said that permanent operational infrastructure during the life of the project would require 1.9 hectares of White Area land in Alberta and 30.4 hectares of the re-classified Agricultural Land Reserve lands in British Columbia.

Northern Gateway also said that it considered the effects on the movement of livestock and farm machinery on private agricultural property along the pipeline route, noting that project activities might restrict movement of livestock and farm equipment across the Project Development Area or cause unwanted livestock movement. To mitigate these effects, Northern Gateway committed to, among other measures, notify livestock owners of the construction schedule well in advance of construction activities, provide temporary fencing along the right-of-way, require vehicle operators to close gates properly, and compensate for disturbance activities if necessary.

9.1.10 Visual and aesthetic resources

Northern Gateway's application indicated that the pipeline right-of-way crosses 17 high visual sensitivity areas, as defined by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, for a combined distance of 29.1 kilometres. In order to determine the effects to visual and aesthetic resources as a result of the construction and operation of the Kitimat Terminal, Northern Gateway selected various viewpoints within the 6-kilometre radius of the Project Effects Assessment Area, which included both land and water areas. Using 3D modelling, Northern Gateway concluded that views from three trails with recreation sites might be affected by the project. The company said that marine users and Kitamaat Village residents would also have a partial view of the Kitimat Terminal. In response to questioning from the Douglas Channel Watch, Northern Gateway noted that it was aware of visual concerns and that the implementation of certain mitigation would minimize visual effects.

To lessen the visual disturbance along both the right-of-way and in the vicinity of the terminal, Northern Gateway committed to revegetate disturbed land after construction, consider provincial landscape design guidelines, and continue to consult with relevant stakeholders to inform them about project activities and schedules. Northern Gateway committed to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts and adapt them as appropriate.

9.1.11 Marine parks, protected areas, and recreation areas

Northern Gateway said that there are no marine parks or protected areas within the Project Effects Assessment Area and that there would be no project-related effects on such areas. Northern Gateway said that, within the Confined Channel Assessment Area, the movement of tankers to and from the marine terminal may result in a low-level restriction of marine access to parks, protected areas and recreation areas, including those within the region described as the Great Bear Rainforest. The company said that the potential for this interference is considered to be extremely low, as the tankers would be sailing within the centre of the channel whenever possible. Northern Gateway said that any disruption of access would be site-specific, short-term, and reversible within the timeframe of minutes to less than an hour after the tanker passes the locations.

Views of the Panel

The Panel heard about the many ways in which people live on, use, and enjoy the land and waters within the project area. The appreciation of natural areas and the value that people and communities place on these was evident during oral statements and oral evidence. The Panel recognizes that the project would pass through areas of great significance to Aboriginal groups, landowners, community members, tourists, and recreational users, among others. The information and views provided to the Panel were thoughtfully crafted and the Panel thanks all participants for providing their many well-articulated, heartfelt viewpoints.

One of Northern Gateway's proposed mitigation measures is the Fisheries Liaison Committee. The applicant said that this committee could facilitate effective communication between the project and all marine fisheries. As proposed, the FLC would also work, along with industry and other interested parties, to address specific issues related to interactions with marine fishing and to work to develop mutually acceptable solutions. The Panel finds that the FLC has the potential to be successful, as it is intended to be inclusive, collaborative, solution-oriented, and based on programs that have been successful in other parts of Canada. The Panel sees the FLC as a visionary program, as it is proposed to be a broadly-based forum that is intended to offer benefits beyond the project.

The Panel recognizes there may be a number of challenges to establishing and successfully maintaining the FLC. The program is still at the conceptual stage and has not been fully committed to by potential participants. The Panel acknowledges that some Aboriginal groups and commercial fishers expressed skepticism about the program and were concerned about both the financial burden and time commitments required to participate. While some concerns were expressed by parties, the Panel commends Northern Gateway for proposing this program and supports its proposed vision and outcomes. The Panel notes that the program's potential to successfully achieve its intended outcomes is demonstrated by Northern Gateway's commitments to fund start-up costs and to proceed with the various activities as set out in its evidence.

The Panel encourages all interested parties to participate in the FLC. The Panel is of the view that the FLC, as proposed, would be of value to the shipping and fishing industries in coastal British Columbia, to Aboriginal communities, as well as to other industries and stakeholders that share the use of coastal waters.

The land along the right-of-way, in both Alberta and British Columbia, is used for many purposes, including forestry, mining, farming, fishing, trapping and hunting, and various recreational uses. The Panel notes that Northern Gateway's Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan (EPMP) includes measures that would be implemented to mitigate potential adverse effects on these uses. The Panel notes that, in order to mitigate potential adverse effects on existing land users, Northern Gateway has committed to notify and consult with current land users and landowners. Northern Gateway indicated that all land acquisition would comply with the provisions of the National Energy Board Act and would not begin until after project approval. The Panel has reviewed Northern Gateway's anticipated requirements for permanent and temporary land rights and finds these to be appropriate. The Panel also finds that Northern Gateway's process for the acquisition of land rights is appropriate.

In the case of forestry, the Panel finds that, with the implementation of the mitigation measures proposed by Northern Gateway, the use of standard construction practices, and the adherence to provincial requirements, the potential loss of timber resources as a result of the project would be effectively reduced. The Panel also finds that the contribution of the project to the spread of the mountain pine beetle would be effectively mitigated. The Panel requires Northern Gateway to file an updated Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan reflecting details of Northern Gateway's Timber Salvage Plan and measures to limit the spread of the mountain pine beetle.

The Panel acknowledges the concerns that groups and individuals along the right-of-way have regarding the potential interruption, due to project activities, of their land uses. In the case of the Kitimat Terminal, the Panel notes that, although the terminal area may no longer be available for other land uses during construction and operation, land use restrictions would be well-marked and Northern Gateway has committed to consider landscape design guidelines to limit the disturbance of public viewscapes. Northern Gateway also committed to provide advance notice to trappers, guide outfitters, and the relevant provincial authorities prior to construction and to compensate affected trappers if lost revenue is proven to be directly attributable to project activities. Prior to construction, Northern Gateway would notify all affected oil and gas and mineral tenure holders to coordinate planned activities, and would work with agricultural and private landowners to minimize interference with their operations. The company also committed to consult with recreational land users in order to mitigate potential disruptions to outdoor recreation and ecotourism activities.

The Panel finds that access along the right-of-way may be interrupted or restricted during construction and routine operations. The Panel also finds that, with the exception of the Kitimat Terminal, where land use restrictions may be in place for the operational life of the project, restrictions or interruptions to land use along the proposed pipeline route would be limited and temporary. The Panel finds that, with Northern Gateway's proposed mitigation measures and the Panel's conditions, there would be no significant adverse effects to forestry, mining, agriculture, commercial and recreational fishing, trapping and hunting, and other recreational uses as a result of the project during construction and routine operations.

Without the application of appropriate mitigation measures, physical project components such as pipeline and power line crossings of watercourses, ancillary work placement and crossings of watercourses, and construction of the marine terminal could affect navigation and navigation safety. The Panel notes that Northern Gateway must abide by non-negotiable design criteria for power line crossings of waterways under the Canadian Standards Association standards for overhead systems (CSA C22.3). The Panel acknowledges Northern Gateway's commitment to make reasonable efforts to limit project impediments to navigation, to inform user groups on a regular basis, and to mark hazards to navigation.

The Panel requires Northern Gateway to submit to the National Energy Board for approval, prior to construction, a listing of navigable waterways proposed to be crossed by the pipeline or affected by any ancillary components proposed to support the pipeline project. Northern Gateway is also required to provide an assessment of project effects on navigation and navigation safety (outside of marine shipping) and proposed mitigation measures. This would include a listing of any issues raised by waterway users and Aboriginal groups regarding navigation use, how issues have been addressed, and proposed mitigation measures to address project effects on navigation and navigation safety for each navigable waterway.

The Panel finds that, with the implementation of standard mitigation, the project is not likely to result in significant adverse effects on navigation and navigation safety resulting from placement of project components in, on, under, over, through, or across navigable waters.

The Panel recognizes that some land users and landowners struggled to understand the many route changes proposed since the project was announced. While these route changes may have been confusing for the public, the Panel notes that a number of these were the result of input from Aboriginal groups, landowners, and communities along the right-of-way, as well as government stakeholders. The Panel encourages Northern Gateway to continue discussions with interested parties, and to continue to be responsive to their concerns regarding the pipeline route.

During oral evidence, the Panel heard about the multigenerational stewardship that Aboriginal groups have over the lands and waters in which they practice their traditional activities. The Panel recognizes the responsibility that Aboriginal groups feel for the lands and waters in the project area. The Panel heard how this stewardship is being incorporated into newly developed land and marine use planning documents. The Panel acknowledges the goals expressed by Aboriginal groups for developing a sustainable balance between environmental protection, social and cultural wellbeing, and current and future economic development. The Panel finds merit in the collaborative approach of management programs such as Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area initiative. The Panel supports the aims of programs that foster and build cooperation among different interests in the project area, and reiterates its encouragement to all parties to participate in collaborative programs such as the Fisheries Liaison Committee.

9.2 Heritage resources

Northern Gateway said that heritage resources include historical, archaeological and palaeontological sites. The company said that in Alberta, heritage resources are administered under the Alberta Historical Resources Act, and that palaeontological resources are recognized as a heritage resource in Alberta. The company also said that in British Columbia, archaeological sites predating AD 1846 are administered under the British Columbia Heritage Conservation Act. Northern Gateway said that the potential effects to heritage resources from project activities include the degradation, contamination, and/or physical loss of:

  • identified archaeological and historical material, interpretive context, or both;
  • historic Aboriginal structures, remnant features, and culturally modified trees; and
  • physical loss of burial sites.

The company said that oversight for the protection of heritage resources falls under provincial legislation and that site-specific mitigation measures would be required by the provincial regulatory agencies based upon their review of the applicant's Heritage Resources Impact Assessment and Archaeological Impact Assessment documents. Northern Gateway committed to meeting the requirements of provincial legislation and noted that mitigation would have to be completed before clearance or site alteration permits are issued.

At the time of the application, Northern Gateway said that it had identified a total of 89 heritage sites that might be affected by the project, including 57 in Alberta and 32 in British Columbia. It also said that 55 trails have been identified along the route. Northern Gateway said that additional sites might still be identified during detailed engineering studies, further route refinements, and any site specific information brought forward by Aboriginal groups.

Northern Gateway said that it identified 51 areas along the pipeline route with known or high probability of palaeontological sites. The company said that its primary mitigation would be to avoid known sites whenever possible and committed to construction monitoring by a professional palaeontologist in areas of high palaeontological potential. It also committed to provide a palaeontological education program to teach workers what to do in the event of site discovery during construction, and to enforce a ban on fossil collecting by project personnel.

Aboriginal groups in Alberta shared information about the sacred area at Lac Ste. Anne. Samson Cree Nation described the pilgrimage every July to pick medicinal plants and berries, as well as the sun dance ceremony that takes place nearby. It spoke of Lac Ste. Anne's healing waters and the trading and prayers that take place between different Aboriginal groups on-site. Enoch Cree Nation described how children, parents, and grandparents make the annual pilgrimage and that Lac Ste. Anne is an important site where traditional knowledge is passed on to the younger generation. The Dene Nation also said that thousands of Dene people travel to Lac Ste. Anne for traditional gatherings along with other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from across Canada. The Métis Nation of Alberta provided information on the history of the healing powers of Lac Ste. Anne, saying that the annual pilgrimage dates back to 1899, and approximately 50,000 people visit during a 1-week period each July.

The Métis Nation of British Columbia said that it has concerns about the project's effects on the historic pack trail between Fort St. James and Fort Fraser. It said that, while it welcomes the proposed mitigation measures, Northern Gateway's lack of specificity does not clearly address their desire for the protection of the trail.

The Haisla Nation submitted evidence relating to the large number of Culturally Modified Trees (CMTs) near the proposed terminal site. The Haisla Nation said that the CMTs near the Terminal site are of great cultural importance to the Nation and it is concerned about the extent to which these resources would be placed at risk by the project. The presence of CMTs reflect traditional Aboriginal use and occupancy, and are in effect "living monuments to Aboriginal history and presence." It was noted that the presence of these trees show Aboriginal occupancy.

Northern Gateway said that, in British Columbia, post-1846 CMTs are not protected under the British Columbia Heritage Conservation Act. Northern Gateway provided a summary of all the post-1846 CMT sites recorded along the proposed pipeline route, including those which are within the terminal boundaries.

Northern Gateway committed to conduct additional field studies to further establish the heritage value of known sites at the Kitimat Terminal, including shovel testing and dating of CMTs. Mitigation would include avoidance, and Northern Gateway said that every effort would be made to undertake this work in cooperation with the Haisla Nation. For other areas along the route, Northern Gateway said that it would work with each Aboriginal community where there are CMTs to develop protocols for how site dispensation would be approached should avoidance not be possible.

Aboriginal groups along the coast raised concerns regarding other coastal heritage sites. Metlakatla First Nation said that known features in Metlakatla Pass include house depressions, old village sites, shell middens, petroglyphs, canoe runs, and historic cemeteries. It said that the number of archaeological resources in the Pass resulted in it being designated a National Historic Site in 1972.

The Gitga'at First Nation said that much of the recorded archaeological data along the coast is of poor quality and insufficient to allow for proper management. It also said that undocumented archaeological sites are located along or very close to the shoreline, that data gathering should be completed prior to project approval, and that this would require several months of inventory work. Both Gitxaala Nation and Coastal First Nations expressed concerns regarding how Northern Gateway would include heritage and archaeological information in coastal sensitivity maps.

Northern Gateway said that it would undertake to verify and refine existing maps which would then be subject to ground-truthing in coordination with local communities. It said that information from Aboriginal groups regarding heritage resources and archeological site locations would be included in the geographic response planning process.

Views of the Panel

Participants shared with the Panel information about historical, archaeological, and palaeontological sites that are of significance and value to them. The Panel acknowledges the value of heritage resource preservation to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The Panel carefully considered the concerns raised about potential effects to archaeological and heritage sites along the pipeline right-of-way and in coastal areas, as well as the company's commitments to mitigate potential effects of the project on these heritage resources.

The Panel notes that the management of archaeological and heritage resources is the responsibility of provincial governments in the project area. Before construction can begin, Northern Gateway must obtain clearances from the relevant provincial agencies with respect to archaeological and heritage resources. Any permits issued by the provinces may identify any conditions of approval or mitigation measures that Northern Gateway would be required to meet. The Panel requires Northern Gateway to file copies of correspondence from the relevant provincial ministries confirming that all archaeological and heritage resource permits and clearances have been obtained.

The Panel finds that the work that Northern Gateway has already completed, including the identification of potential sites of concern and its commitment to avoid all sites whenever possible, is sufficient at this point in the process. Northern Gateway indicated that additional heritage resources could be identified during centreline surveys and coastal sensitivity mapping. The company has committed to work with Aboriginal groups to record these sites and to avoid the resources where possible. Northern Gateway has also committed to continued consultation with Aboriginal groups to confirm that appropriate and acceptable mitigation studies and conservation actions are undertaken.

The Panel notes that CMs are of great value and concern to Aboriginal groups. The Panel also notes that post-1846 CMTs are not protected under British Columbia's Heritage Conservation Act, and that Northern Gateway has committed to develop protocols with Aboriginal groups to identify the location of and measures to protect post-1846 CMTs. Given the importance of these resources to Aboriginal communities as demonstrations of their historical and continuing use, occupation, and cultural affinity with the land, the Panel requires Northern Gateway to file, with the National Energy Board, a plan to protect and manage post-1846 CMTs. The company is required to demonstrate in its plan how it consulted with Aboriginal groups about the management and protection of these resources and how mitigation measures have been incorporated into its Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan for the project.

The Panel notes the concerns raised by Aboriginal groups about the current availability of data regarding known and previously unrecorded archaeological sites along the coast. Northern Gateway has committed to further refine and verify the data that are available as part of its Geographic Response Plans and has committed to include information from Aboriginal groups regarding coastal heritage resources and archeological site locations in the geographic response planning process. The Panel understands that Aboriginal groups will have knowledge and information that is relevant to this process, and that their participation would help to ensure that the geographic response planning process is as comprehensive as possible. The Panel therefore encourages Aboriginal groups to consider participating in the geographic response planning process in order to help identify those sites and values of interest and concern.

The Panel finds that, with the company's obligation to meet provincial requirements, its commitments, and the Panel's conditions, there would be no significant adverse effects to heritage resources, including any heritage resources of significance to Aboriginal groups during construction and routine operations.

9.3 Infrastructure and services

Northern Gateway said that, during public consultation, very few people raised specific concerns about project effects on community services and infrastructure. The company said that there were general questions about what demands would be placed on communities and the potential costs faced by municipal governments to address these demands. These concerns were also raised by individual intervenors including Mr. Vulcano and Ms. Brown, as well as the Fort St. James Sustainability Group.

Northern Gateway said that, during construction, all non-local workers would be housed in self-contained camps, thereby reducing potential effects on housing, infrastructure, utilities, and recreation and leisure facilities. Northern Gateway said that it expects, once the project is operational, that regional residents would make up the majority of the project workforce, and any ongoing project effects on population, housing, utilities, infrastructure, and recreational and leisure facilities are expected to be minimal.

9.3.1 Housing, accommodations, and work camps

Northern Gateway said that, during construction, all non-local workers would be housed in self-contained camps for 11 of the 12 construction spreads as well as for the construction of the Kitimat Terminal. The company said that there would be no construction camp for Spread 1 in the Edmonton area as the majority of the workers would be regional residents who live within commuting distance, and the remainder would use available commercial accommodation. In Kitimat, Northern Gateway said that it expects that there may be some additional housing requirements for the peak non-local construction workforce. Northern Gateway committed to work with the local government in Kitimat to find the best way for accommodating these workers given other possible competing demands for housing from tourism and other construction projects that may be underway at the same time.

Northern Gateway also said that it would develop policies for construction camps to limit adverse interactions between project workers and local communities, especially related to time-off activities of project construction workers. The company said that these policies would be developed during detailed engineering and construction planning and would be finalized 6 months prior to construction. Northern Gateway committed to consult with organized labour associations and unions, Aboriginal communities, municipal authorities, local business communities, police, emergency responders, and health care authorities so that all camp requirements, related strategies, and camp management policies can be finalized.

Swan River First Nation expressed concerns about the potential for a work camp being built in an undisturbed area near Whitecourt, Alberta. In response, Northern Gateway said that it was consulting with Swan River First Nation as well as other Aboriginal groups and communities in developing detailed execution plans for campsites and other infrastructure. Northern Gateway also said that it would make every effort to use pre-disturbed areas and previously existing facilities for work camps.

9.3.2 Utilities and infrastructure

Northern Gateway said that its construction camps would result in increased demands for liquid and solid waste disposal and water supply services in various areas, but that all communities along the right-of-way, with the potential exception of Kitimat, have sufficient infrastructure capacity to support these demands. In the case of Kitimat, Northern Gateway said that there is some uncertainty about the adequacy of the wastewater treatment system during spring runoff.

Intervenors, including the Province of British Columbia and the Fort St. James Sustainability Group, raised concerns related to project-related transportation effects. Northern Gateway said that it has assessed current and future project-related traffic volumes, and concluded that existing highways have the capacity to handle additional traffic. The company said increased project-related traffic would have minimal effects.

Northern Gateway's proposed mitigation measures include both a detailed traffic management plan and waste management strategy which would be included in the Construction Environmental Protection Management Plan for the project. As part of its housing strategy for Kitimat, Northern Gateway committed to developing a plan to ensure that waste materials generated by project construction and operations do not exceed the capacity of the regional waste and wastewater treatment facilities. It also committed to make alternative arrangements if required for waste disposal or other services.

9.3.3 Recreational and leisure facilities

Northern Gateway said that workers would require access to recreation and leisure facilities for stress relief and exercise between work shifts. The company said that its construction camps might address some of these requirements, but that project workers could still potentially place additional demands on recreational and leisure facilities within local communities.

As part of its assessment, Northern Gateway said that it reviewed all recreational facilities in the major communities along the proposed pipeline route to determine the range of recreation facilities available, and their existing capacity. Northern Gateway said that the construction workforce would result in a small increase in demand on existing facilities. Northern Gateway said this would be addressed through its policies for construction camps to limit adverse interactions between project workers and local communities. In developing the policies, Northern Gateway said that the company and its contractors have committed to work with the community administrations to find ways to accommodate the recreational demands of the workforce without adversely affecting use by local residents.

Views of the Panel

The Panel heard from individuals and parties living along the right-of-way who were concerned about the potential effects of the project on their communities, including an increased burden on existing infrastructure and services. The Panel notes that, with the exception of Kitimat, construction workers for the project would be housed in closed camps, and that Northern Gateway has committed to developing and enforcing policies restricting interactions between project workers and local communities. The Panel notes that Northern Gateway is still in discussion with local authorities in Kitimat and other industrial users in the region to develop an appropriate housing strategy for workers that would be housed in that community during construction. The Panel finds Northern Gateway's commitments to use closed construction camps and to develop and enforce camp policies to be effective measures for minimizing the potential effects of the project on the infrastructure and services of local communities.

The Panel holds Northern Gateway accountable for the conduct of its workforce. The Panel notes Northern Gateway's commitment to liaise with local and regional social services, police, and local governments, to identify and address issues related to the potential negative effects of the project on housing, utilities, and the delivery of social services in local communities within the project area. In addition to the company's commitments, the Panel requires Northern Gateway to file plans and reports for monitoring and addressing the potential negative socio-economic effects related to interactions between the project's workforce and adjacent communities.

The Panel finds that, with Northern Gateway's commitments and the Panel's conditions, the project's potential effects on the infrastructure and services of communities in proximity to the project can be effectively addressed.

9.4 Social and cultural wellbeing

During its public consultation activities, Northern Gateway said that it heard from communities along the right-of-way and near the terminal about their views and concerns relating to potential project-related effects on individual, family, and community wellness. It said that these concerns included whether working long hours and earning higher wages would contribute to increased alcohol consumption, drug abuse, gambling, stress, and divorce. The company said that it had heard from individuals that potential project effects, emerging on top of existing issues, could cause problems in some communities.

Intervenors raised concerns about community cohesion and continuity. Several groups were concerned that the project itself was proving to be a source of anxiety and creating division in communities. They also said that the effects of a potential spill could lead to a break up of communities and disenfranchisement of workers due to lack of economic opportunities. The United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union filed a report that included survey results from its members. The survey indicated that almost two-thirds of respondents said that the project was a source of stress to them and their family and that, as a result of the project, they were uncertain about their family's future and were feeling depressed at the thought of the project. The Union also noted concerns relating to an influx of outside workers contributing to increased crime, alcohol use, and other undesirable social dynamics throughout north coast communities. Ms. Brown expressed concerns about the potential for social problems in the Kitimat area as a result of the cumulative effect of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project with other major projects, and about monitoring of potential effects.

Prince Rupert City Council raised concerns about how potential effects of the project on the marine environment could jeopardize the desired quality of life for the city of Prince Rupert. The Council provided an excerpt from its Quality of Life Official Community Plan, which emphasizes that a healthy community is one that not only has a healthy physical environment but also has quality employment opportunities, appropriate services, and a supportive social network.

Aboriginal groups also provided evidence relating to social disruption and community stress. The Gitga'at First Nation filed a social impact assessment of the project that described community concerns about an increase in interpersonal conflicts between those who choose to work for the applicant or other businesses associated with the project, as well as concerns about increase in drug and alcohol use to deal with depression, stress, helplessness, and anger in the event of a spill. Within this report, a survey noted that almost one-quarter of respondents would move from Hartley Bay if the project were to be approved, leading to concerns about the vitality of the community, the diminishing of the village's social and human capital, as well support networks.

During oral evidence, the Gitga'at First Nation expressed concerns about the stress its community experienced in the aftermath of the sinking of the Queen of the North ferry. It spoke about the distress that the Gitga'at had to live through in regard to the harvesting of their traditional food as a result of the sinking of the ferry off of Gil Island, which it states is still leaking diesel fuel. It also indicated that a World War II US Navy Ship – the Zalinksy – which sank over 50 years ago is still leaking contaminants into its territory. The Nation noted its concerns about food contamination and effects of oil on burial sites, and the fact that certain harvesting areas are still closed. It also talked about the responsibility its members felt to respond to the sinking and the fact that economic development plans that had been proposed came to a halt once the Queen of the North sank.

Other coastal Aboriginal groups expressed similar views. Groups said that their communities have experienced many hardships over the years but they have survived because of the resilience and integrity of their territories, cultures, and traditions. The Heiltsuk Tribal Council said that, over the last 35 years, there has been significant growth and development in its community. It said that this increase in capacity building has led to a social development office, a health building, and an Elders building, all of which are reflective of the Heiltsuk as a progressive, independent, and proud nation. The Metlakatla First Nation spoke of its community's vision statement, which permeates everything it does, that the Metlakatla is a progressive community recognized as a leader in improving the lives of members while strengthening Tsimshian identity and culture. The Metlakatla First Nation said that it is celebrated for being proactive in meeting community needs, for making decisions that lead to a healthy sustainable future and for having a positive relationship with others.

In response to concerns related to the potential effect of spills on communities, Northern Gateway filed information related to the recovery of the biophysical and human environments from oil spills. This included an assessment of the potential effect on traditional and cultural activities. Northern Gateway said that, in previous spills, there were short-term negative effects related to the availability of resources to share within communities. Northern Gateway also said that, over the long term, cultural transmission between Elders and youth continued, as did food sharing patterns, and ultimately the basic fabric of society remained unchanged.

Northern Gateway said that there is no single measure of wellbeing, either for individuals, families, or communities. Instead, Northern Gateway said that it attempted to assess changes in social and cultural wellbeing using a variety of indicators that describe project effects in terms of changes in the incidence of selected social characteristics. Although some positive indicators of wellness are used, including income and increased educational training, many of the indicators used in the company's assessment describe undesirable social conditions.

Northern Gateway said that its assessment of project effects on social and cultural wellbeing examined three specific effects:

  • changes to wellbeing and delivery of social services;
  • changes to health conditions and delivery of health care services; and
  • changes to educational opportunities.

9.4.1 Changes to delivery of social services

Northern Gateway said that as most of the construction workers for the project would be housed in closed camps, interaction with local communities and the use of social services would be limited. In order to limit any potential adverse interactions with local communities, which could result in increased workloads for police and social workers, Northern Gateway said that it would implement various construction camp policies and workforce management measures. The company said that these policies would prohibit alcohol and substance abuse and provide clear guidance for firing problem workers who do not adhere to Northern Gateway's Code of Conduct. Northern Gateway said that it would file a copy of its Code of Conduct with the National Energy Board 6 months before construction begins. It said that the work camps would provide a full range of recreational amenities, high quality meals, telephone and internet access, social and recreational programs, and access to counsellors. Northern Gateway committed to work with police, social service providers, and local government to establish criteria for monitoring workers so that any demands on social services are reduced and corrective actions are taken so that project-related effects are limited.

Northern Gateway indicated that several large construction projects have been identified for the Kitimat area and said that, depending on whether the construction schedules overlap, there is the potential for this project to act in a cumulative fashion with other projects. It also said that management of potential social problems in the Kitimat area would require Northern Gateway and all other companies proposing major developments to work with the regional government and service agencies so that opportunities for effects management are identified, implemented early, and are modified as required.

9.4.2 Changes to health conditions and delivery of services

Northern Gateway said that it expects most of the anticipated project effects on health conditions and health care facilities to be related to accidents, injuries, and infections. To limit any adverse interaction between the workforce and local communities, Northern Gateway said that it plans to provide health care facilities in construction camps, to develop health care protocols and procedures with regional health care authorities so that workers who cannot be treated at the construction camps would be taken to the appropriate health care facilities, and to promote accident prevention measures related to driving, personal hygiene, and workplace safety. Northern Gateway also said that it would monitor the use of regional health care facilities by project workers so additional resources could be made available in order to avoid overburdening local facilities.

9.4.3 Changes to educational opportunities

Northern Gateway said that construction could have both positive and negative effects on the education of regional residents. The company said that negative effects could occur if the opportunity to work on project construction and earn a high wage encouraged young people to leave school before graduating. Conversely, it said that the project might have a beneficial effect if actions are taken to encourage young people to stay in school. Northern Gateway committed to posting education requirements before construction starts and liaising with educational institutions and authorities so that appropriate training and education programs are offered. It said that it believes this would limit potential negative project effects and would potentially result in a positive effect as the educational attainment of regional residents would be improved.

Northern Gateway said that it has heard concerns from communities along the route who are not supportive of the project, but that it is still very interested in being a part of those communities. The company committed to investing in the community infrastructure of these areas through its Education, Training, and Employment Strategy and as well as its Community Investment Fund. Northern Gateway said that it sees an opportunity to work together to enhance the health and welfare of the communities where it operates, by being innovative, responsive, and responsible.

As part of its commitment to enhance the regional and local benefits of the project, Northern Gateway has implemented an Education, Training, and Employment Strategy, which it views as a mechanism to help local community members develop the essential and transferable skills necessary to work in the growing pipeline and construction sectors. The Strategy also includes an Education and Training fund, which, as of December 2012, had a budget of over $3 million.

The Fort St. James Sustainability Group raised a number of questions about Northern Gateway's skills training programs. Northern Gateway provided examples of the programs it is supporting, including:

  • Training to Employment Projects – Northern Gateway is participating as a partner and is in the planning stages of seven community-based projects including essential skills, introduction to trades, heavy equipment operator, entry level surveyor, safety watch, and construction craft and labourer training.
  • "Leading Spirits" Youth Achievement Award – a pilot initiative to support and celebrate youth from grades 7–12 who are working towards grade 12 completion.
  • Sponsorship of Women Building Futures – which works with women pursuing careers in the construction, mining, and oil and gas industries to help them achieve economic independence through training, employment, and mentorship.
  • Alberta Chamber of Resources Aboriginal Workforce Development Pilot Project – Northern Gateway is assisting with the delivery of the pilot project designed to link work-ready and trades-exposed Aboriginal youth to job opportunities with ACR member companies.
  • Career Fairs – Northern Gateway has participated in a variety of career fairs to provide information on opportunities with Enbridge and within the pipeline and construction sector in general. There are plans for fairs in the future that would partner with contractors and union organizations to deliver career and job fairs in local communities.
  • Guiding Circles Facilitator Training – an Aboriginal-focused career development tool designed to assist professionals working with Aboriginal job seekers in managing obstacles to employment.

Northern Gateway said that linking the training with immediate employment is key to its overall strategy. It said that it has been working closely with trade unions, contractors associations, and community colleges along the route to make them aware of its plans in an effort to match specific skills to potential jobs. Northern Gateway said that, since mid-2011, over 500 people have been affected by skills and training activities. Northern Gateway explained that it is not a trainer, only a funder, and recognizes that, should individuals be trained as part of their various programs, there is no guarantee that they would ultimately work on the project.

Northern Gateway said that it is using the "community as expert" model, which means that the community is to be the leader in the training process, as it knows what the demands are, where the interest lies, and who the partners could be. For Aboriginal groups in particular, Northern Gateway said that this means focusing on essential skills and engaging with youth programs. The company also said that it is working with four craft unions and in partnership with the Pipeline Contractors Association of Canada on a Training Advisory Committee initiative to collaborate on training opportunities and develop employment strategies in construction for Aboriginal communities.

The company said that its discussions with Aboriginal groups along the coast are not as advanced as some of those along the route, but that it looks forward to engaging more coastal communities in discussions. It said that it has heard from them, through the joint review process and in community meetings, that they have a real interest in getting back on the water, working in jobs that are related to marine services. As a result, Northern Gateway committed to a marine services and benefits portfolio which it anticipates would facilitate the involvement of coastal First Nations in employment and progressive business ownership in relation to marine services activities and joint ventures between coastal First Nations and well-established marine service providers.

Northern Gateway said that its commitment to its Community Investment Fund is another way to support the wellbeing of the communities along the route and in coastal areas. The company said that the fund would become operational upon completion of construction and extend over the lifetime of the project. It said that it would be funded on an annual basis with 1 per cent of pre-tax profit, which the company anticipates to be approximately $3 million. Northern Gateway said that proceeds from the fund would be distributed toward programs deemed to be of benefit to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups. As the program is still under development, Northern Gateway said that it would work with communities to determine how exactly the funds would be allocated, and expects that to depend on the needs of the communities and what is most valuable to them.

Views of the Panel

The Panel heard concerns from potentially-affected communities about the project's potential effects on the strength and cohesion of their community and the wellbeing of individuals. The Panel particularly acknowledges the concerns raised by Aboriginal groups regarding the effects the project may have on their ability to maintain healthy and vibrant cultures and communities. The Panel recognizes the historical context from which Aboriginal groups are speaking and acknowledges their desire to preserve and strengthen their cultures. The Panel notes the evidence on the recovery of Aboriginal and other communities in historic and modern contexts along the pipeline route and in the coastal areas.

The Panel heard evidence with respect to the stress that increased industrial activities can have on individuals and communities. In particular, coastal Aboriginal groups shared their concerns with respect to potential stress placed on their communities by the marine aspects of this project. The project would result in increased industrial activity, including additional vessel traffic off the west coast of Canada. The Panel notes that there is already vessel traffic in this area including commercial fishing, cargo movements, cruise ships, and ferries. The Panel was presented with evidence that Aboriginal groups continue to use the land and waters in this area for traditional purposes. The Panel finds this evidence demonstrates that there is a current compatibility for multiple uses in this area.

The Panel heard about the stress that some groups feel at the prospect of the project. The Panel also heard from Aboriginal groups that a potential spill would have significant effects on the social and cultural viability of their communities. The Panel acknowledges the path that coastal Aboriginal communities are on in relation to economic development and cultural vitalization, and their fear that a spill could affect this path. The Panel also heard evidence from Northern Gateway about the recovery of marine areas and their resources following a spill and how communities continued to function. Taking all of this into consideration, the Panel is of the view that the project would not have significant adverse effects, during construction and routine operation, on the socio-cultural fabric of these communities. A large spill would cause significant effects, and is discussed in Chapter 7.

The Panel notes that a number of Northern Gateway's commitments and programs extend beyond the direct effects of the project. Northern Gateway's education and training strategy has already begun and many of its commitments are aimed at enhancing the development and vibrancy of the communities in the project area. The strategy includes measures that are aimed at helping individuals acquire the basic skills that would enable them to qualify for jobs in various industries throughout Alberta and British Columbia. The programs and funds available could assist groups to achieve their aspirations for education and economic development if they choose to take advantage. Northern Gateway's education and training programs as proposed are not limited to participation in the project and the Panel notes that these could assist individuals and communities acquire new skills and contribute to individual success, as well as to the success of their community. The Panel finds that Northern Gateway's commitments to education, training, and employment, and its commitments to make these available to interested individuals and communities, could create new education and business opportunities throughout Alberta and particularly in northern British Columbia.

Notwithstanding Northern Gateway's commitments to education and training, the Panel believes that the success of these programs requires the ability to effectively gauge their ongoing success as they are designed and implemented. The Panel therefore requires Northern Gateway to track the success of its training and education strategy, and has included conditions addressing the implementation and outcomes of Aboriginal, local, and regional education measures and opportunities for the project.

The Panel finds that, with Northern Gateway's commitments and the Panel's conditions, the project's potential effects on the socio-cultural wellbeing of communities can be effectively addressed.

9.5 Employment and economy

Northern Gateway said that project construction and operations could directly or indirectly affect people living in cities, towns, villages, rural areas, and Aboriginal reserves adjacent to the project area. The company said that it estimated the potential economic effects of directly constructing and operating the project, including the economic effects resulting from total employment, procurement and contracting requirements, and the potential for these requirements to be met by local, regional, and Aboriginal populations. The company prepared an Economic Impact Analysis for the project, which provided information relating to the macroeconomic effects on Canadians such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), incomes and jobs, and their distribution over time and geographically. The company also prepared a social Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), which provided an assessment of the net economic benefits stemming from the project. The company said that its CBA measured the "efficiency of deploying economic resources such as labour and capital in order to earn a series of benefits," and considered other effects which may not be considered by a private investor, such as certain benefits (reduction of unemployment or oil price uplifts for producers) and the cost expectations that may occur from environmental effects.

9.5.1 Total economic effects

Northern Gateway said that its estimate of the total economic effects of the project included the positive economic effects on Canadian and regional investment, labour income, GDP, employment, and government revenues. Northern Gateway said that its estimates of direct, indirect, and induced effects were derived using Statistics Canada's 2008 Interprovincial Input-Output Model, and represent:

  • effects arising from the construction expenditures associated with the pipelines and related facilities;
  • effects arising from the annual revenues and operating expenditures associated with the operation of the pipelines and related facilities over a 30-year period;
  • an adjustment to account for anticipated losses from other pipelines moving oil out of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). The additional cost associated with lost revenues on other pipelines was estimated at $857 million;
  • effects arising from the expected increase in revenues to oil producers associated with gains in the netback prices on Western Canadian oil production, after deducting all increases in transportation costs and after deducting the increased feedstock costs for Canadian refineries as a result of the higher oil prices; and
  • effects arising from reinvestment of a portion of the incremental oil revenues in the energy sector (based on historical patterns) and from the associated gains in production.

Northern Gateway said that construction costs associated with the project used in the analysis were estimated to be $6.393 billion. It said that about 90 per cent of these expenditures would take place in the first 3 years of construction. It said that estimated annual operations and maintenance expenditures for the pipelines and related facilities average $341 million per year (including property taxes but excluding other taxes).

The company said that the oil price uplift attributable to the project was estimated to be an incremental revenue gain of $114.8 billion over 30 years, or an annual average of $3.8 billion, after deducting the higher costs imposed on Canadian refineries. Northern Gateway said that, based on historical reinvestment patterns, it expects that a significant portion of the net cash flow derived from these incremental revenues would be reinvested in some combination of energy projects across the country. The company said that this was assumed to generate further increases in national income, employment, and government revenues.

The company said that the total economic effects expected from the construction and operating expenditures associated with the project facilities include:

  • a gain of almost $312 billion in Canadian GDP, or an average annual gain of $9.2 billion;
  • an increase of $70 billion in Canadian labour income, or an average annual increase of $2.1 billion;
  • a gain of $98 billion in government revenues, or an average annual increase of $2.9 billion. Of this amount, roughly $44 billion would accrue to the federal government and $54 billion would accrue to provincial or territorial governments; and
  • an increase of 907,000 person-years of employment, or an average annual increase of over 27,000 person-years of employment.

Northern Gateway said that, to put these numbers into perspective, "$312 billion in GDP is equivalent to about 2 months of output of the entire Canadian economy at current levels or the annual effect is equivalent to an increase of 0.5 percentage points in the growth rate for Canadian GDP at current levels. The average annual increase in employment as a result of Northern Gateway is equal to approximately 6 per cent of the average annual increase in total Canadian employment over the years 2005 to 2008, a period of strong growth. And, the $98 billion in government revenue would be equivalent on an annual basis to more than half of 1 per cent increase in total annual federal plus provincial government revenues."

The company said that the estimated effects would be widely distributed across the country as a result of the extensive linkages associated with the project, including the purchases of goods and services, the distribution of gains in resource revenues, government taxes, and gains arising from the reinvestment activities of the energy sector. The values and distributions of the total estimated economic effects of the project are summarized in Table 9.1.

Table 9.1 Total estimated economic effects of project Construction and Operations over 30 years (in millions of dollars)

Total Effects British Columbia Alberta Ontario Quebec Sask. Other Canada
Investment/
revenues
52,841 208,047     30,006 10,483 301,376
Labour income 18,302 36,394 6,778 1,904 4,697 1,872 69,948
Gross domestic product 55,163 207,501 10,774 3,063 24,544 10,468 311,514
Federal government revenue 6,627 30,962 2,016 404 3,277 1,027 44,314
Provincial government revenue 8,623 36,884 1,302 557 5,179 1,459 54,005
Total government revenue 15,251 67,846 3,319 960 8,457 2,486 98,319
Employment in person years 263,037 401,147 104,069 34,099 72,320 32,395 907,067

9.5.2 Direct economic effects during construction

Northern Gateway provided detailed estimates of the direct economic effects that would result from project construction. Northern Gateway said that it estimated the effects of construction in each of six regions across the project area, including:

  • direct employment through the hiring of engineers and other specialists to complete final design and manage the project construction;
  • direct on-site employment of construction workers who would be on-site to build the pipelines and facilities;
  • direct employment resulting from purchases of contracted supplies and labour; and
  • estimated values of contracted goods and services.

Northern Gateway said that it estimated the potential effects of project construction for Aboriginal people, including person-years of employment for Aboriginal residents and contractors and companies in each region, and the types of procurement opportunities that would potentially be available to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures. Northern Gateway committed to a target of 15 per cent Aboriginal employment for construction labour. The company said that it expects to reach its 15 per cent target in the first year of construction, and that it would strive to get the highest possible level of Aboriginal employment for the construction of the project. It also said that the 15 per cent target was its minimum objective and that previous pipeline projects in northern Alberta and along the prairies had reached 22 per cent Aboriginal employment.

The company said that its estimation of the direct on-site employment of regional residents to directly construct and operate the project involved taking the total employment requirements for each aspect of the project and applying assumptions about the percentage of labour requirements that could be filled by the local and Aboriginal populations within each region. The company said that, for project construction, these percentages were based on its previous experience with similar past pipeline projects as well as the commitments that Northern Gateway has made regarding training and hiring of regional residents. For project operations, the company said that it assumed that all jobs in each region would be filled by local residents.

The company said that additional direct employment effects were estimated through predicting the purchases of construction goods and services from local and Aboriginal businesses in each of the six regions. These effects were estimated by:

  • determining the total value of spending to construct the pipelines and facilities in each region;
  • adjusting these amounts to reflect the source of purchase (purchases for construction in one region may occur in larger communities in an adjacent region); and
  • estimating the percentages of these goods and services that can be supplied by local and regional businesses.

Northern Gateway said that the potential direct employment generated by this spending, and indirect and induced employment effects, were then estimated using input–output models for both Alberta (Alberta Finance – Statistics 2009) and British Columbia (BC Stats 2008). It said that both provinces have input–output models that reflect interactions among industries in 2004 (the base year for the British Columbia model) or 2005 (the base year for the Alberta model).

The company said that project construction is expected to require 10,335 person-years of employment in British Columbia, while 3,535 person-years of employment would be required to construct the Alberta portion of the project. It said that direct employment, including on-site employment and jobs created through expenditures on project engineering and management and contracted goods and services, is estimated to provide about 9,225 person-years of employment. The company said that this represents 66 per cent of project construction requirements. Aboriginal residents, contractors, and companies (including joint ventures) are expected to provide 37 per cent of regional labour requirements.

Northern Gateway said that the largest regional employment benefits will occur in central and coastal British Columbia, where extensive construction activities are required. It also said that activities in these 2 regions are scheduled to last over at least 2 years.

Northern Gateway said that between 500 and 940 direct construction workers would be required for each of the 12 pipeline spreads across the project, with an average of 230 workers for the Kitimat Terminal.

Northern Gateway said that it would spend nearly $1.1 billion on various contracted goods and services during pipeline construction, and that these expenditures would generate additional direct employment opportunities for regional residents. It said that this spending includes $791 million in contracted goods and services for the pipelines and $274 million for the pump stations, the tank terminal, and the marine terminal.

Northern Gateway said that it would enhance the regional and local benefits arising from the project through a number of measures, including:

  • identifying and communicating details about project employment, contract, and procurement requirements to regional and Aboriginal residents and businesses in a timely way;
  • communicating opportunities early, so regional residents can upgrade their education, training, and skills to respond to opportunities;
  • assessing and inventorying the availability of regional skills and labour resources, and the ability of businesses to supply the required goods and services;
  • working with contractors to give first consideration for employment opportunities to qualified regional and Aboriginal residents, with appropriate skills and training, and to qualified regional suppliers of goods and services, where possible;
  • applying Northern Gateway's regional employment and procurement policies to its contractors;
  • identifying barriers to regional employment (e.g., education, training, work experience) and procurement, and participating with others (e.g., communities, government departments, educational institutions) in capacity-building initiatives (e.g., training programs, scholarships, on-the-job training) designed to overcome these barriers;
  • dividing contracts into manageable sizes for smaller regional firms and incorporating sufficient lead time to permit local assembly of resources, where possible;
  • applying a tendering and bid system (of prequalification, evaluation, selection, and award) that treats regional and Aboriginal contractors equitably;
  • participating in initiatives to build the capacities of regional businesses (e.g., supporting regional and Aboriginal business development, establishing alliances);
  • committing to hiring qualified regional workers with appropriate skills and training; and
  • developing strategies to enhance opportunities for regional Aboriginal populations.

9.5.3 Direct economic effects from operations

Northern Gateway said that the number of permanent jobs during operations would total 268. This includes permanent workforce requirements in Edmonton, Fox Creek, Whitecourt, Grande Prairie, Tumbler Ridge, Prince George, Burns Lake, and Kitimat. It said that this also includes people expected to be employed in Kitimat to supply services associated with operations of the Kitimat Terminal, including tug operators, pilots, emergency response staff, and various other service providers.

The company said that annual spending on project operations is expected to total about $192 million. The company said that this includes $94.8 million in British Columbia, $77.6 million in Alberta, and $19.5 million in federal corporate income taxes.

The company said that jobs related to operations are expected to provide opportunities for residents and offer long-term sustainable employment benefit to the provinces.

9.5.4 Analysis of project costs and benefits

Northern Gateway said that a number of intervenors suggested a social Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of the project should be undertaken, and the company responded to that request in its reply evidence.

The company said that CBA is a well-established approach commonly used to systematically attempt to quantify all direct, incremental benefits and costs to determine whether there is a net benefit to a project or policy, and whether it enhances wealth or wellbeing. A social CBA, the company said, is used when it is important to take a 'long' view (where repercussions extend well into the future) and a 'wide' view (where social costs and benefits rather than just private costs and benefits) must be considered.

The company said that the objective of its social CBA was to determine whether the project is in the national interest as measured by the net benefits to the collective within Canada's national borders. It said that the focus was on an evaluation of the economic merits of the proposed project for Canada.

The company said that its approach used forecast dollar flows or expected values and probability as a means of measuring costs and benefits. These were calculated on an annual basis and discounted by 4 selected rates (0, 5, 8, and 10 per cent) to generate an overall net benefit result based on the following components:

  • direct cash flows from the project;
  • adjustment for reducing unemployment;
  • costs from excess capacity on main oil pipelines to the United States;
  • Enbridge Northern Gateway Project "needed" or not, before a certain year;
  • Canadian oil price uplift;
  • environmental effects (including greenhouse gases); and
  • costs resulting from oil and condensate spills (onshore, offshore, and at the marine terminal).

Northern Gateway said that the assumptions used in its CBA include:

  • it is widely accepted that an appropriate social discount rate in Canada is in the range of 5 to 8 per cent;
  • incremental effects are assessed against a benchmark forecast of factors (Canadian inflation rate, the foreign exchange rate, Canadian oil production, oil exports, and Canadian and international oil prices);
  • that oil exported through the project would otherwise be exported to the United States. The benefits to the oil producers (and governments) are solely a result of the oil price uplift;
  • that 5 per cent of the labour input in project construction and operations would otherwise be unemployed;
  • oil price uplift is assumed to be $2 to $3 per barrel on an oil price of about $100 per barrel;
  • two varieties of environmental externalities are included: (i) cost expectations associated with loss of ecosystem goods and services (EGS) from direct project activities; and, (ii) cost expectations related to the cleanup and remediation of possible oil spill risks from incidents associated with offshore, the marine terminal, and the onshore pipeline operations;
  • any direct loss of ecosystem goods and services are included as a project cost expectation.

The company said that its CBA presented a base case and five sensitivity cases:

  1. without an oil price uplift;
  2. oil price uplift reduced by 50 per cent and only continues for 5 years;
  3. oil price uplift reduced by 50 per cent and only continues for 5 years, all other cost component costs are doubled and other benefit components are halved;
  4. oil price uplift reduced by 50 per cent and only continues for 5 years, all other cost component costs are doubled and other benefit components are halved, and the project is not needed until 2024; and
  5. oil spill costs are set high enough to offset all other benefits in the base case.

Northern Gateway concluded that the economics of the project from a national Canadian perspective are very favourable in the base case: the estimated net benefits are expected to be both large and highly likely. It said that the base case shows an overall net benefit of $23.5 billion in constant 2012 dollars, with the oil price uplift being the major contributor to net benefits. Moreover, the company said that the project remains robust when tested against sensitivity cases of higher social discount rates, lower oil price uplift and greater possible ecological or oil spill damages than in the base case. It said that the second and third sensitivity cases indicate overall net benefits are positive, at $3.65 billion and $2.58 billion respectively. Northern Gateway said that cost expectations from oil spills would have to be increased by 289 times over the base case for the net social benefit to become equal to zero.

Without the oil price uplift, Northern Gateway said that the overall net benefit is negative $209 million at a discount rate of 8 percent. The company said that this extreme sensitivity case demonstrates the long time period it would take for a social rate of return to be achieved. It also said a rate of return of 5 per cent is achieved after 13 years of operations. The company said that the amount and the duration of the oil price uplift are critical factors underpinning the robustness of the estimated social net benefits.

9.5.5 Evidence of Coastal First Nations and the Haisla Nation

Coastal First Nations submitted a benefit cost assessment (BCA) of the project as part of its written evidence. Coastal First Nations said that the objective of a BCA is to identify all the positive and negative effects of a project and to aggregate these effects to determine whether a project creates a net gain or loss in society's overall wellbeing.

Coastal First Nations said that the BCA examined only the costs and benefits to the Canadian oil industry. Eleven different scenarios were tested and under all scenarios the project was forecast to result in a net cost to Canada. The BCA included an employment benefits scenario which assumed 6.7 per cent of the workers construction workforce would otherwise be unemployed.

Coastal First Nations concluded that the net costs ranged from $100 million to nearly $2.4 billion. Under the base case assumptions, Coastal First Nations estimated the project generates a net cost to Canada of over $1.9 billion. It said that the base cases are considered conservative estimates because the surplus capacity assumptions are conservative and suggest there is a propensity for actual capital costs to exceed forecast costs for large projects. It also said that the BCA indicates the net cost is reduced by the presence of an Asia price premium. Coastal First Nations said that the Asia price premium, if it exists, needs to be reduced by the proportion of the price benefit accruing to non-Canadians.

Coastal First Nations said that these estimates do not include any social or environmental costs. If environmental costs such as the cost of oil spills, greenhouse gas emissions, social conflict, and other environmental effects are included, Coastal First Nations concluded that the net cost to Canada rises significantly.

Coastal First Nations said that while the BCA did not incorporate environmental costs, a discussion of certain environmental costs was provided to indicate the general order of magnitude of their effects on the project's contribution to the public interest. These included:

  • the risk of oil spills;
  • an indication of the magnitude of what people are willing to pay to prevent a major oil spill. Based on methods to estimate such values following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the estimate ranges from $11.6 to $17.2 billion, which represent only passive non-use values;
  • potential damage costs to direct users and cleanup costs. Coastal First Nations estimated the costs of a major oil spill equivalent to the Exxon Valdez in the PNCIMA at between $5.2 and $22.7 billion;
  • greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • socio-economic costs of conflict, such as legal actions, other activities to oppose the project and psychological stress associated with conflict.

Coastal First Nations also questioned the oil price uplift predicted by Northern Gateway. In response to direct questioning by Northern Gateway, Coastal First Nations said that, with no change in overall global supply or demand predicted in the evidence provided by Northern Gateway, there would not be a change in oil price because the market would move to minimize price differences. Coastal First Nations questioned the confidence the company can have in a forecasted price increase of $1.50 or $2.00 per barrel when there is no change in supply or demand over 20 to 30 years.

Coastal First Nations acknowledged that the values of ecological services are very difficult to estimate. It said that the estimated values it provided were intended to give a general order of magnitude to answer the question: Are ecological service values important? Coastal First Nations said that it did not suggest that these values should be used for decision-making for any particular project such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. Coastal First Nations said that more detailed disaggregated analysis is needed to fully understand particular costs of ecological services.

The Haisla Nation provided evidence estimating the monetary value to ecosystem services affected by the proposed project. Five main types of effects associated with the proposed project were evaluated:

  1. construction effects, which estimated the value of land that would be disrupted as a result of the project and related activities. This included cost estimates for a range of services (climate regulation, flood control, pollination, water supply and filtration, habitat for salmon and tourism) used to calculate the costs associated with the loss of a quantified area of each ecosystem type;
  2. operational effects, which was limited to CO2 emissions from tankers visiting the marine terminal;
  3. oil sands extraction and upgrading, which estimated CO2 emissions based on extraction of oil sands to meet pipeline capacity over the lifetime of the project and the upgrading of crude oil and end use of petroleum products;
  4. use of end products shipped through the pipeline, which estimated CO2 emissions associated with end use of products based on statistics from Asian markets, and the social costs of carbon; and
  5. oil spills along the pipeline route and in the Kitimat Terminal, based on costs associated with seven hypothetical oil spill scenarios developed by Northern Gateway.

The Haisla Nation said that the combined estimates for total costs from damage to ecosystem services over the lifetime of the project (30 years) range from $3.1billion to $212 billion based on choice of discount rate and cost estimates of ecosystem services. The Haisla Nation said that including even a low-range estimate of ecological and social effects would significantly increase project costs. The Haisla Nation said that the average estimate of total ecological costs of the activities considered in the analysis ($26 billion) would more than triple Northern Gateway's cost estimate. It said that the high range of the estimates would increase project costs by a factor of nearly 50.

The Haisla Nation said that Northern Gateway has made several commitments to ensure that the revenue of the project is shared with Aboriginal people. These commitments include a 10 per cent share in the project (estimated at $280 million), ensuring 15 per cent of the workforce would be comprised of Aboriginal people (totalling $400 million in employment benefits, procurement, and joint venture), $200 million in future business opportunities as a result of training and education, and offering Aboriginal people 1 per cent of pre-tax income from the project (estimated at $100 million). The Haisla Nation said that these commitments total around $980 million, but also said that the estimates of social and ecological costs presented by the Haisla Nation are 3 to over 200 times as great as the commitments pledged by Northern Gateway.

In response to evidence of the Haisla Nation, Northern Gateway filed an evaluation of "natural capital and ecological goods and services at risk" associated with the project as part of the company's reply evidence.

The company acknowledged that, while the Haisla Nation's assessment of ecological costs was based on reasonably accurate data and peer-reviewed scientific literature, it contained a number of shortcomings. The company said that its own assessment of ecological goods and services at risk are for the Project Development Area only, and that the Haisla Nation's estimates of ecological and social costs are inflated because:

  • effects were estimated based on the Project Effects Assessment Area and, therefore, calculated an effect 10 times larger than the Project Development Area proposed by Northern Gateway;
  • carbon sequestration loss estimates should be based on actual carbon sequestration capacity (current and future potential) of the timber and other vegetation of the area affected during construction and following restoration or remediation of the Project Development Area. The Haisla Nation's estimates are based on the Project Effects Assessment Area and are roughly 13 times larger than Northern Gateway's estimates based on Net Biome Productivity (NBP) in the Project Development Area; and
  • estimates of environmental goods and services (EGS) losses of $2,082 million are 117 times greater than Northern Gateway's estimates, due to both higher EGS loss estimates per hectare (particularly for water regulatory service and effects on forest land), and the use of the much larger Project Effects Assessment Area.

9.5.6 Concerns raised by intervenors and the public

Through written evidence, information requests and direct questions, a number of intervenors questioned the potential economic effects of the project. The United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union–CAW (UFAUW–CAW) said that the fishing industry is the largest private sector employer on the North Coast.

The Union presented results of a survey administered to a sample of 163 members, based on prior research on oil spill disasters, including work on the social effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. UFAWU-CAW said that respondents were generally skeptical about the economic opportunities and benefits purported to be associated with the project. In particular, the survey indicated:

  • most UFAWU-CAW respondents believe that the project would affect their access to seafood and traditional foods;
  • 73 per cent of survey respondents do not believe that the commercial fishing industry and the routine operations of the project can successfully coexist;
  • 71 per cent indicated that they 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed" with the statement, "The Enbridge Project will have many positive benefits for my community"
  • only about 12 per cent of respondents reported that they are looking forward to new jobs and other economic benefits of the project; and
  • 95 per cent believe that a spill on the North Coast would affect their employment in the commercial fishing industry.

The Union also presented the results of qualitative focus group sessions where participants discussed their views on the potential effects of the project. It said that no attempt was made in the report to quantify potential effects of the project. The report noted:

  • little discussion around the potential benefits of the project;
  • how the loss of the commercial fishery would affect coastal communities in the event of an oil spill; and
  • how the effects would extend far beyond the loss of employment and income.

The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) said that the project is not in the public interest for a number of reasons, including:

  • it would result in the loss of tens of thousands of potential jobs in upgrading, refining and petro-chemical production;
  • by reducing the price differential between bitumen and conventional oil, it would remove Canadian refiners' competitive advantage of access to relatively cheap feedstock;
  • it would overheat Alberta's economy and drive up development costs, thereby reducing royalty revenue that could be used for savings or to finance public services;
  • it would distort the labour market in western Canada in ways that are harmful to the long-term best interests of Canadian workers;
  • it would serve to permanently reduce Canada's GDP, increase unemployment, cause personal incomes to fall and decrease government revenues.

AFL and others said that the project would be competing with a number of other developments planned in the Alberta oilsands, and that competition for labour and supplies, notably steel, would result in higher project input costs.

AFL raised particular concerns about the effects of exporting bitumen compared to potential effects that might result from onshore refining. AFL said that the estimated 26 direct permanent jobs the project would create in Alberta "is a paltry, insignificant and unacceptable number compared to the thousands of jobs that would be created in Canada if nearly $13 billion worth of bitumen were upgraded here." AFL said that any narrowing of the price differential between bitumen and crude oil would undermine the economic viability of increased value-added petrochemical production.

AFL questioned the potential use of temporary foreign workers on the project. It said that the temporary foreign worker program in Alberta is being used in a way that deliberately distorts the provincial labour market. AFL said that the program exerts downward pressure on wages at a time when economic conditions suggest that wages should rise, and that high-paying jobs in areas like construction and manufacturing are being taken by temporary foreign workers when they could be filled by Canadians if development were to proceed at a more reasonable pace. AFL set out number of other concerns regarding the use of temporary foreign workers, including:

  • potential exploitation of temporary foreign workers;
  • wage inequality;
  • working conditions; and
  • rights enforcement.

With regard to Northern Gateway's economic analysis of the project, AFL criticized the company's use of input-output modelling to estimate the project's potential effects. By using an input-output model, AFL said Northern Gateway used a misrepresentative methodology in its economic case for the project, and has exaggerated the project's economic outcomes. AFL said that the estimated oil price lift and its reinvestment cannot be regarded as a reliable indication of what might happen. AFL also said that the only component of the project that might effectively be explored using an input-output framework is project construction.

AFL said that, when both price gains and price losses are considered in a Canadian context, net new investment and person-years of employment do not materialize and, in fact, permanent losses result. Rather than a wealth-generating opportunity, AFL said that the project would result in an inflationary oil price shock, leading to "higher interest rates, a permanent and long-term decline in GDP, a loss of existing jobs, decline in labour income and standard of living for many Canadians, as well as a deterioration of government revenues." AFL concluded the only way to see the full effect of higher oil prices on the Canadian economy as represented by GDP, employment, labour income, and government revenue is to model the project's potential effects within a dynamic general equilibrium framework.

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) questioned the project's contribution to increasing the relative volumes of bitumen exports. CEP said that this would mean that "the considerable economic and employment benefits of adding value to Canadian resources will not accrue to Canada or Canadians." CEP said that the foregone economic and employment benefits that may be the consequence of exporting bitumen by the project would include the 'loss' of 26,000 jobs that would otherwise be created in the Canadian economy if the bitumen was upgraded in Canada.

The City of Prince Rupert said that maintaining a clean marine environment is critical to sustaining the tourism and marine resource extraction industries in and around Prince Rupert, and that this has allowed Prince Rupert to generate billions of dollars in economic activity. The City noted its concern that an oil spill would put much of this economic activity in jeopardy.

The Gitga'at First Nation provided an assessment of the potential effects of the project on the economic interests of the Gitga'at from marine tanker traffic associated with the project. The Gitga'at First Nation said that the assessment used 'total economic value' as an analytical framework, to identify and evaluate key effects of the project on economic interests of the Gitga'at and evaluate the likely effectiveness of key mitigation measures.

The Gitga'at First Nation concluded that the project is inconsistent with Gitga'at economic interests, and that the project has a high probability, even without a spill, of significantly undermining the Gitga'at's ability to develop and execute economic development consistent with their values and culture. In particular, it said that:

  • There is a high probability that tanker traffic associated with the project would have a significant effect on commercial fishers; catch reductions of only 5 per cent are likely to put fishers out of business.
  • There is a high probability that routine vessel traffic would result in large losses in nature-based tourism activity, translating into losses in revenues and associated employment.
  • The project will impede the Gitga'at's ability to attract investment in conservation financing and ecosystem service projects and to gain funding for other conservation-related and sustainable economic initiatives.
  • Given the heavy reliance on traditional harvests for food, social, and cultural practices, and the importance of traditional foods for health of the Gitga'at, even minor reductions in traditional food harvests could be significant.
  • There is a high probability that a major spill would result in closure of commercial fisheries for multiple species, lasting between one-half and two seasons. The estimated losses in value of the commercial fishery are conservatively estimated at $6.9 million, with related adverse spin-off effects on the regional economy.
  • There is a high probability that a major spill would decrease the demand for nature-based tourism in the region, significantly reducing the income and employment derived from this sector.
  • A major spill would significantly reduce the value of ecosystem services that the Gitga'at Territory provides as well as the revenues and investments created by these services. If a major oil spill were to occur, the Gitga'at First Nation would also potentially be liable for compensating existing ecosystem service investors.
  • In the event of a spill there is a high probability that traditional harvests would be reduced for a decade or more, with associated highly significant effects to the traditional economy. The replacement costs of reduced traditional harvests – which cover only a portion of the anticipated effects – are estimated to be between $0.4 and $13 million.
  • A major accidental oil spill affecting the Gitga'at Territory is estimated to cause significant losses in non-use values of at least $10 million– $168 million dollars per year;
  • The two primary mitigation measures proposed– a Fisheries Liaison Committee and monetary payments of compensation – are poorly described and little confidence can be placed in either of these two measures to effectively mitigate the identified economic effects of the project.

Northern Gateway questioned a number of the conclusions proposed by the Gitga'at First Nation. Specifically, Northern Gateway questioned the methodology used by the Gitga'at First Nation to calculate the likelihood of a spill during operations, the exact amount of economic activity in the tourism and commercial fishing industries that are of interest to the Gitga'at First Nation that could potentially be affected by the project, and the extent of other economic sectors of interest to the Gitga'at First Nation that could be affected by the project such as carbon offsets.

Letters of comment submitted in the process noted the potential economic benefits of the project, while others questioned its relative benefits and costs. Letters were received from individuals, municipalities, elected officials, trade organizations, and chambers of commerce expressing views on the potential economic effects of the project.

The Northern Alberta Mayors' and Reeves' Caucus said that it represents 58 Alberta municipalities with a combined 2011 population of 1.59 million people and a 2011 GDP of over $123 billion. It expressed "resounding endorsement" for the project. The Mayor of Edmonton, Chair of the Caucus, noted the Caucus unanimously provided the following messages:

  • "that the project is imperative to provide access to global markets and competitive prices for our resources; and
  • that the project will provide long lasting economic benefits to the communities and workforces of Canada, including continually exploring value-added projects and local refining opportunities."

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which said that it is Canada's largest business association, noted a number of the potential benefits of the project in its letter. The Chamber said that it is comprised of a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. The Chamber's President and CEO said that "with the potential to generate thousands of construction jobs and a $270 billion increase to Canada's Gross Domestic Product over 30 years the benefits from Northern Gateway can benefit all Canadians." The Chamber particularly noted the potential benefits for communities in British Columbia, saying that British Columbia "seeks to benefit from about 3,000 jobs during construction and about 560 long-term jobs. Projected British Columbia tax revenue from the project is $1.2 billion." The Chamber also said that the project "proposes significant benefits for Aboriginal Canadians along the right-of-way, with a 10 per cent equity ownership in the venture, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement and jobs."

The British Columbia Chamber of Commerce noted its "strong support" for the project. The Chamber said that the project represents a substantial increase in the movement of oil across British Columbia and through British Columbia's waters, and that projects must be assessed to determine a balance between potential environmental damage and the need for economic and social progress. The Chamber, which said that it represents over 32,000 businesses over every size, sector and regions of the province, said that, with the potential to generate thousands of construction jobs and a $270 billion increase to Canada's Gross Domestic Product over 30 years, the benefits from the project can benefit all Canadians. The Chamber said that in particular that northern British Columbia is "in desperate need of new investments and new opportunities for its residents to earn a living," and that the project "will help bring economic security and hope to the region."

The City of Edmonton said that it is the largest city along the proposed pipeline corridor, and that many of the economic benefits of this project would accrue to its citizens. The City said that the project "has the potential to generate continuing long-term economic growth that will benefit the economies of the Edmonton region, the Province, and Canada as a whole" and that "energy infrastructure, such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, must be developed to ensure access to competitive global markets for Alberta's energy resources."

The Spruce Grove and District Chamber of Commerce, which said that it represents 600 member businesses and 12,000 employees, noted that "the Northern Gateway pipeline project is critical to our country and will greatly benefit our region." The District Chamber said that, in May 2012, it voted in favour of supporting the Northern Gateway project "due to the long-term benefits that will flow to our province and our country."

The Town of Bruderheim said that the majority of the Town's Council is supportive of the project. The Town also said that the project would contribute to job creation, training and capital investment, and urged the Panel to consider the long-term effects of exporting raw bitumen on Alberta and national economies.

Letters noting the potential economic benefits of the project, including positive effects relating to employment, tax revenue, associated business expansion or benefits, and trade diversification were also received from municipalities and organizations in the project area, including:

  • The Greater Edmonton Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • World Trade Centre Edmonton
  • Flagstaff County, Alberta
  • County of Grande Prairie No. 1
  • Beaver County, Alberta
  • Lac St. Anne County, Alberta
  • Lamont County, Alberta
  • Sturgeon County, Alberta
  • Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce
  • Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce
  • Town of Redwater, Alberta
  • Town of Morinville, Alberta
  • Town of Mayerthorpe, Alberta
  • Town of Gibbons, Alberta
  • Town of Bon Accord, Alberta
  • Town of Beaumont, Alberta

The Panel also reviewed letters from municipalities outside the project area expressing views on the potential economic benefits of the project.

Letters were also submitted from individuals, municipalities, elected officials and organizations questioning the predicted economic benefits of the project, or raising concerns about its potential economic costs.

Friends of Clayoquot Sound said that Tofino is one of the top tourist destinations in British Columbia, with almost a million visitors a year, and that "an oil spill washing ashore would obviously severely harm the region's tourist and seafood economy and cause layoffs and job losses."

The Tofino-Longbeach Chamber of Commerce said that its Board of Directors and membership of over 330 businesses "feel the threat of an oil spill such as the one that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico last year and on our own coast in 1989 poses too great a risk."

The City of Terrace submitted a letter noting its opposition to the project.

The British Columbia New Democrat Official Opposition said that a major oil spill could put more than 7,000 jobs in British Columbia's fishing, tourism and marine sectors at risk, and that, after careful consideration, it has concluded that "the environmental, economic, and social risks associated with [the project] simply outweigh the benefits."

A number of individuals noted general concerns about the potential economic effects of the project in their letters to the Panel, including:

  • the low number of permanent jobs that would be created;
  • the short-term nature of economic effects resulting from construction;
  • the potential use of temporary foreign workers on the project; and
  • potential benefits flowing to non-Canadian companies.

In response to the criticisms and concerns raised by AFL, Northern Gateway said that AFL's assumption that the project would dominate the macro economy and create a resource boom to the extent that it could significantly increase the rate of inflation or interest rates is erroneous. Northern Gateway said that:

  • The effect of the project on oil prices in Canada is relatively small, representing an uplift of $2 to $3 per barrel and well within observable weekly crude oil price swings.
  • The project cannot affect the world price of oil and, therefore, cannot affect the prices paid for crude oil by Eastern refiners. In the case of Western Canadian refineries, the effect of Northern Gateway would, at most, be a one-time increase of about 1.5 cents per litre in the price of gasoline.
  • An increase of between 0 and 1.5 cents per litre in the price of gasoline is well within the range of regular short-term price movements.
  • The extent that a one-time price increase in gasoline affects the Consumer Price Index is negligible and short-term and does not cause higher rates of inflation in every year thereafter.
  • The key measure used by the Bank of Canada with respect to monetary policy is core inflation, which excludes energy prices.

In reply to the AFL's critique of Northern Gateway's use of input-output modelling, the company said that:

  • input-output is the only widely accepted model for measuring project effects, particularly when the project is small relative to the total economy and it is necessary to capture interregional and inter-industry effects.
  • While there are numerous computable general equilibrium models used by researchers, they are typically not validated and are generally small and, as such, lack the detail required to assess complex projects such as Northern Gateway. At the macro level, they are typically used to assess policy shifts that have relatively large implications for the macro-economy.
  • Detailed and large general equilibrium models that have been used have not been demonstrated to more accurately capture overall effects for a project than a carefully applied and qualified input-output model.

9.5.7 Equity participation by Aboriginal groups

Northern Gateway said that it introduced an Aboriginal Economic Benefits Package to eligible Aboriginal groups. The company said that a package might include:

  • an equity participation offer in the form of an Aboriginal Ownership Agreement (AOA);
  • procurement, employment, and training initiatives through the use of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other similar arrangement;
  • access to a community investment fund; and
  • access to corporate-branded programs.

In respect to equity participation, Northern Gateway said that Aboriginal groups having similar characteristics in relation to the project were assessed for eligibility in a similar manner, while acknowledging that certain differences exist between Alberta and British Columbia Aboriginal groups.

Northern Gateway said that it assessed eligibility in the following ways:

  1. For Alberta and British Columbia, groups with communities located within the project engagement area who had expressed an interest in economic opportunities arising from the project and to whom Northern Gateway had committed to offer economic opportunities related to the project were assessed as eligible.
  2. For Alberta, certain other Aboriginal groups with communities located outside the project engagement area but whose traditional territory would be traversed by the pipeline corridor and who had expressed an interest in opportunities arising from the project and to whom Northern Gateway had committed to offer economic opportunities related to the project, were assessed as eligible.
  3. For British Columbia, in addition to communities fulfilling the criteria noted under number 1 above, groups having a reserve land base within 80 kilometres to either side of the pipeline right-of-way or marine tanker route were assessed as eligible to receive offers of economic participation (including equity), whether or not the record of engagement showed an interest in economic opportunities arising from the project and, whether or not, prior to June 2011, Northern Gateway had committed to offer economic opportunities once same were developed.

To accept the equity offering, the company said that each Aboriginal group must enter into an Aboriginal Ownership Agreement and the Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership Agreement.

Northern Gateway said that it set a deadline of 31 May 2012 for Aboriginal groups along the proposed route of the pipelines to indicate their acceptance of the offer of up to 10 per cent of the equity in the project. As of that deadline, Northern Gateway said that it had a majority of the groups eligible to participate as equity owners execute an Aboriginal Ownership Agreement with Northern Gateway. The company said that almost 60 per cent of eligible Aboriginal communities along the proposed right-of-way (representing 60 per cent of the First Nations population and 80 per cent of the combined First Nations and Métis population) have agreed to be part owners of the proposed pipelines. The company said that half of the equity units taken up went to groups in British Columbia, and the other half to groups in Alberta, as follows:

  • 15 out of 18 Alberta Aboriginal groups accepted; and
  • 11 out of 22 British Columbia inland Aboriginal Groups accepted.

The company said that its Aboriginal Economic Benefits Package was not presented in this same manner to coastal Aboriginal groups, and that its equity offering has not been finalized for the coastal First Nations.

The company said that, in presenting the equity offer, "Northern Gateway made reasonable efforts to ensure that Aboriginal groups made an informed decision to accept or reject. This involved a range of activities varying from group to group, including community information sessions, meetings with community leadership and meetings with Aboriginal groups and their legal counsel." The company also said that the equity offer was not designed as a form of compensation. Rather, it was intended as a business agreement, but one which sought to align the interests of Northern Gateway over the long term with the interests of Aboriginal communities that accepted the equity offer.

Northern Gateway said that Aboriginal groups who accepted the equity offer were not restricted from participating in the regulatory hearing process to provide input or express concerns regarding the project with respect to (i) their use of land for traditional purposes, (ii) the socio-economic circumstances of their members, (iii) the environment, and (iv) their Aboriginal and treaty rights or title (or both), including their right to suggest measures to be taken to mitigate the potential effects of the project. Northern Gateway stated its desire to be respectful of its Aboriginal equity partners' Aboriginal and treaty rights and their concerns about the project. The company said that it would work together with its Aboriginal equity partners to ensure that issues and concerns are addressed or mitigated (or both), and the project economic benefits targeted for Aboriginal communities are realized.

The company said that, while the equity offering is significant, it represents less than one-third of the total potential Aboriginal benefits Northern Gateway is proposing, which also include:

  • a procurement, employment, and training strategy;
  • access to a Community Investment Fund;
  • stewardship programs; and
  • a Marine Services and Benefits Portfolio.

Northern Gateway said that "these commitments break new ground by providing an unprecedented level of long-term economic, environmental and social benefits to Aboriginal groups."

Michel First Nation raised concerns about not being offered an equity participation component of the Aboriginal Benefits Package. In response, Northern Gateway said that Michel First Nation did not meet the criteria set by the company, namely that Michel First Nation did not have a formally recognized and settled land base within the project corridor, had not expressed an interest in economic opportunities, and had not received an offer from the company.

Through information requests, the Enoch Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe, Montana First Nation, Samson Cree Nation, and Whitefish Lake First Nation raised a number of questions about Northern Gateway's Aboriginal Benefits Package, among them:

  • how Aboriginal groups were identified, including the rationale for offering different opportunities and benefits to groups in similar circumstances relative to the project and its likely effects;
  • the extent to which project effects were considered in offering benefits; and
  • how Aboriginal capacity issues would be addressed.

In response, Northern Gateway said that:

  • the primary focus was with Aboriginal groups who met the eligibility criteria for the Aboriginal Economic Benefits Package. Northern Gateway would also look for opportunities to extend, (for example, training, employment, and contracting opportunities) to those groups who do not meet these criteria but who expressed an interest, and these would occur closer to the start of construction;
  • the purpose of the Aboriginal Economic Benefits Package is to create economic opportunity for, and long-term alignment of interests with, those communities who are in proximity to the proposed project. Northern Gateway has not designed the benefits package as a compensatory mechanism; and
  • its approach to training and early dialogue is intended to position Aboriginal groups so they can take advantage of potential project contracting opportunities on a regional basis

Views of the Panel

The Panel finds that there are significant potential benefits to local, regional, and national economies associated with the project. Construction and routine operation of the project would likely result in positive economic effects on employment, income, GDP, and revenues to all levels of government. The Panel finds that the overall economic effects that could result from the construction and operation of the project, as estimated by Northern Gateway, could be substantial, including more than $300 billion in potential gain to Canadian GDP, approximately $70 billion in additional Canadian labor income, a gain of $90 billion in government revenues, and more than 900,000 person-years of employment.

The Panel accepts much of the evidence provided by Northern Gateway regarding its estimates of the potential economic effect of the project. The Panel notes, however, that these represent broad estimates, and that the actual economic effects of the project would only be determined once the project was constructed and placed into operation. The Panel also notes that not all parties agreed with Northern Gateway's estimates of the overall potential economic effects of the project.

The Panel acknowledges the evidence provided by intervenors, including the evidence provided by Coastal First Nations, the Haisla Nation, the Gitga'at First Nation and the Alberta Federation of Labour [AFL]. The Panel accepts the view of Coastal First Nations that the relative values of ecological goods and services are difficult to estimate and are therefore limited in their capacity to be used in decision-making. The Panel is of the view that the valuation of ecological goods and services remains a developing approach, and that not all parties acknowledged what would be agreed-upon, or objective, standards for evaluating such costs. The Panel finds that more work would be needed to fully understand these potential costs.

The Panel notes the criticisms raised by intervenors, including those by the AFL, about the methodology used by Northern Gateway to calculate the potential economic effects of the project. The Panel finds that the methods used by Northern Gateway in its Economic Impact Analysis were acceptable for the purposes of estimating the macro-economic effects of the project. The Panel does not agree with AFL's view that the project would result in negative long-term effects on the Canadian economy.

The Panel also acknowledges the evidence presented by the Gitga'at First Nation regarding the potential effects of the project, including the potential effects of a large spill, on Gitga'at economic interests. The Panel's views on the likelihood of a large spill are found in Chapter 7.

Regarding the potential effects Northern Gateway predicted would result from an oil price uplift, the Panel is of the view that the potential market effects of constructing new pipelines to connect producing regions and consuming regions cannot be easily predicted. It is therefore difficult to determine, with certainty, the effect the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project may have on broader market prices once it is placed in service, or how revenues may be invested. The Panel is satisfied that the project would assist producers to realize full market value for their production, and would provide revenues to governments and industry to make investments, which in the Panel's view benefits all Canadians.

The Panel recognizes that there may be adverse socio-economic effects associated with this project and that these are likely to primarily affect local communities along the pipeline route, and coastal communities. The Panel also acknowledges that the potential opportunities and benefits that can be realized from the project would not be distributed evenly. On balance, the Panel finds that the potential economic effects of the project on local, regional, and national economics would be positive, and would likely be significant.

Some communities and individuals raised concerns about the potential negative effects of the project, and in particular the effects that a malfunction or accident could have on the economies or livelihoods of individuals and communities. The Panel also heard from a number of municipalities, chambers of commerce, and elected officials about the potential economic benefits that the project would have on their communities, citizens, businesses, and governments. In order to effectively attain the potential benefits of the project, Northern Gateway committed to a number of measures that would support the participation of local, regional, and Aboriginal businesses and communities in the project. The Panel notes the measures committed to by Northern Gateway to encourage and support the participation of interested Aboriginal groups and businesses in the project, and to assist local and Aboriginal business and individuals to qualify for the opportunities that would be available.

The Panel concurs with Northern Gateway's view on the potential economic and social benefits of the project for Aboriginal groups, and is of the view that the company's commitments break new ground by providing an unprecedented level of long-term economic, environmental, and social benefits to Aboriginal groups. The Panel acknowledges Northern Gateway's commitment to provide equity participation to eligible Aboriginal groups, its commitment to meet or exceed 15 per cent Aboriginal employment for construction and operation of the project, and its proposed programs to support education and training for interested Aboriginal individuals and businesses.

The Panel sees the participation of local people and businesses in the project as a vital component of the project proceeding, and as a key measure of its ultimate success. The Panel is of the view that it is appropriate for the benefits of the project to flow to local individuals, communities and businesses. The Panel requires Northern Gateway to submit its plans for implementing training, employment, and educational opportunities for Aboriginal and local people, and its programs to track and measure the success of these.

The Panel is of the view that, with Northern Gateway's commitments, and with the Panel's conditions, the project is likely to have positive net economic benefits to local, regional, and national economies, and can provide positive benefits and opportunities to those local, regional, and Aboriginal individuals, communities, and businesses that choose to participate in the project.

9.6 Traditional land and resource use

As part of its review, the Panel considered information on how the project could potentially affect Aboriginal traditional land and marine use in the project area. The Panel evaluated information related to how Aboriginal groups currently use the lands, waters, and resources for traditional purposes, and how the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project could affect that use.

Throughout the process, Aboriginal groups provided information related to their use of lands, waters, and resources along the pipeline and shipping routes. The Panel heard about specific locations where Aboriginal groups have exercised or currently exercise their traditional activities. The Panel was also provided with oral and written evidence from Aboriginal groups about their general use of lands, waters, and resources in the project area, including harvesting land and marine resources (such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering), as well as the importance of these practices to the culture of Aboriginal communities. Northern Gateway also provided information to the Panel about the use of lands, waters, and resources by Aboriginal groups. This included information provided to the company through its engagement activities with Aboriginal groups, analysis of the potential effects of the project conducted through the environmental and socio-economic assessment (ESA) for the project, as well as summaries of issues raised by Aboriginal groups in their Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge community reports.

9.6.1 Northern Gateway's Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) program

Northern Gateway said that its Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) program was an important component of the overall Aboriginal engagement activities undertaken for the project. The company said that its objective for the program was to "gain an understanding of, and document, traditional activities, anticipated project effects on traditional lands and activities, and possible mitigation strategies."

Northern Gateway said that the focus of its ATK program was on Aboriginal groups with communities within 80 kilometres either side of the proposed right-of-way, as well as coastal Aboriginal groups with interests in the area of the Kitimat Terminal and the Confined Channel Assessment Area. The company said that Aboriginal groups had the option of either working collaboratively with Northern Gateway to complete a report, or working on an independent report for the project. Northern Gateway said that it provided funding for communities that chose to do an independent report. According to the company, the ATK community reports:

  • provide the Aboriginal group's perspective of potential effects of the project on traditional lands and activities (including cultural, social, and economic effects);
  • provide relevant ATK information about the potential effects of the project, including biophysical, cultural, and socio-economic information, that may not otherwise be available through technical scientific methods;
  • provide mitigation recommendations for potential effects on traditional uses;
  • provide information to aid in project planning and design and reduce potential conflict between an Aboriginal community's goals, use and wellbeing, and development plans for the project;
  • support long-term relationship building between Northern Gateway and Aboriginal communities potentially affected by the project; and
  • contribute to building ATK program capacity within Aboriginal communities.

Northern Gateway said that the collection and use of ATK for the project was guided by the following principles:

  • ATK is the property of the Aboriginal community and ATK participants;
  • the rights of distribution of ATK are maintained by the Aboriginal community and ATK participants;
  • designated community representatives determine the most appropriate providers of ATK;
  • use of ATK in the environmental and socio-economic assessment is established only through consent of the Aboriginal community;
  • description of baseline conditions, assessment of potential effects of the project on traditional lands and activities, and recommendations for mitigation measures are made by ATK participants;
  • in the case of collaborative ATK community reports, the draft community report is reviewed and approved by ATK participants and designated community representatives before being released to Northern Gateway; and
  • all original materials generated from an ATK community report are returned to the Aboriginal group coordinator once regulatory processes are complete.

Northern Gateway described in detail the processes followed for its ATK program. For collaborative ATK community reports, the company said that discussions were focused on potential project effects on traditional use and resources. The company said that participants were encouraged to discuss topics of most concern to them and were asked to identify use areas with the potential to be affected by the project, including travel routes, harvesting locales, habitation areas, and spiritual sites. It also said that important areas for wildlife, fish, and plant species (e.g., locations of plants, fish spawning sites, calving grounds, mineral licks), and locations of archaeological and palaeontological sites important to the community were also identified. The company said that baseline conditions were also discussed, and that information regarding observed changes in environmental aspects such as air and water quality, water quantity, plant and wildlife health, climate conditions, community wellbeing, and socioeconomic conditions were recorded. The company said that ATK participants were asked to identify potential effects that the project might have on any of the elements discussed, and, where possible, to provide recommendations for mitigation measures to lessen these potential effects.

For independent ATK community reports, Northern Gateway said that each Aboriginal group determined the format and content of the report, and controlled the ATK information provided.

The company said that two basic types of ATK were generally collected: traditional use (TU) and traditional environmental knowledge (TEK)information. The company said that traditional use focused on activities and sites or areas of cultural significance within traditional lands and territories. The company said that, for the ATK community reports, the types of activities, sites, or areas identified included broad categories such as:

  • travel (e.g., trail systems, waterways, and landmarks);
  • harvesting (e.g., registered traplines, resource use and harvesting areas, special-use sites such as fish camps, berry-picking areas, and medicinal plant collection areas);
  • habitation areas (e.g., occupation areas, meeting areas, gathering places, cabins, and campsites); and
  • spiritual sites and sacred landscapes (e.g., burial sites, sacred sites, spiritual sites, and sacred geography).

Northern Gateway said that traditional environmental knowledge was also collected, and that it refers to the wisdom and understanding by Aboriginal groups or individuals of a particular natural environment that has accumulated over countless generations. The company noted that traditional environmental knowledge can provide additional context to baseline descriptions and the analysis of potential project effects.

The company said that, once an ATK community report was made available, summary tables that included all potential project effects as identified by the ATK participants were generated. It said that these were organized according to discipline and project phase, and outlined mitigation recommendations proposed by the community for each of these anticipated project effects.

Northern Gateway said that, as of February 2013a total of 35 ATK studies had been completed (20 in Alberta and 15 in British Columbia), while a number of studies were also continuing at that time. It said that it spent a total of $5 million ($2.5 million in Alberta and $2.5 million in British Columbia) to fund ATK studies. Northern Gateway said that funding for ATK studies remained ongoing. The company said that 100 per cent of the length of the proposed right-of-way for the pipelines was covered by completed ATK studies.

The company said that there is substantial overlap in traditional lands and use areas along the right-of-way. The fact that one Aboriginal group had completed a report addressing a certain portion of the route does not mean that all Aboriginal groups who could potentially be affected by the project have completed reports for the same portion of the right-of-way. The company said that not all communities shared common uses, knowledge, or understanding of these areas. It said that, as additional ATK information for those areas is received, it would be considered in follow-up mitigation programs and during detailed route surveys.

9.6.2 Northern Gateway's assessment of potential effects on traditional land and marine use

In its evidence, Northern Gateway filed detailed summaries of the information provided to the company through the ATK program, including the potential effects that the project might have on traditional use and resources, and recommendations for mitigation measures. The company said that the anticipated project effects identified in the available ATK community reports included:

  • disturbance to specific traditional use sites and areas along the right-of-way, including harvesting areas for food, ceremonies, and traditional activities;
  • potential effects of spills on the environment and on traditional use areas;
  • access management (providing continued access to Aboriginal community members while preventing increased access to recreational users);
  • potential effects on key ecological features, such as wetlands, lakes, and streams, and the associated effects on wildlife, fish, and fish habitat; and
  • potential effects on vegetation (disturbance of medicinal plants, right-of-way clearing, maintenance and use of herbicides, and reclamation practices).

Northern Gateway provided detailed summaries of its understanding of the issues and concerns raised by Aboriginal groups in ATK studies, and the measures proposed to address them. In response to information requests from the Panel, Northern Gateway noted information for each Aboriginal group participating in the ATK program, including:

  • specific issues or concerns raised;
  • mitigation measures proposed by Aboriginal groups;
  • standard or generally accepted mitigation measures that Northern Gateway can, or would, implement to address the issue or concern raised by Aboriginal groups; and
  • Northern Gateway's response to mitigation measures proposed by Aboriginal groups.

The company said that the potential for spills, accidents or malfunctions was the single greatest environmental concern expressed in the available ATK community reports. It said that Aboriginal groups questioned the reliability of engineered fail-safes and preventative measures, and that groups involved in ATK community reports for the project predict that any spills, accidents, or malfunctions would have systemic effects on the food chain and watersheds, and ultimately, on the ability to exercise Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The company said that access management was a concern shared by Aboriginal groups for the project, as it has implications for the use and enjoyment of traditional territories and the availability of traditional resources. The company said that many ATK participants also noted potential project effects on key habitats or ecological features, such as mineral licks, medicinal plants sites, spawning areas, and grizzly habitat, as examples.

Northern Gateway said that, overall, potential effects on harvesting, access, ecological features and wildlife, or vegetation, in addition to the potential for environmental contamination, were raised repeatedly and consistently by Aboriginal participants and indicates deep concerns by Aboriginal groups about potential effects on traditional use.

The company said that, where Aboriginal groups completed ATK studies for the project prior to filing its application, information was incorporated in the environmental and socio-economic assessment for the project. As discussed in Chapter 4, the company said that it assessed potential project effects on resources commonly understood to be of importance for Aboriginal people, or that support the land base and habitat conditions essential to the sustainability of these resources. It said that it took into account species, species groups, or indicators that are, or represent, resources commonly understood to be of importance for Aboriginal people, as well as issues raised by Aboriginal people, information on traditional land use and ecological knowledge, and recommendations provided by Aboriginal groups on project design changes and mitigation.

Northern Gateway said that in its environmental and socio-economic assessment for the project it has detailed a full suite of mitigation measures and follow-up programs, including the Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan. The company said that mitigation measures and monitoring recommendations contained in the Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan would be used to limit the magnitude, geographic extent, and duration of potential environmental effects as a result of the project. The company said that mitigation measures for affected sites, areas, and locales may include avoidance, buffering, further studies, monitoring, or co-management programs, restoration, or conservation measures, or compensatory action.

Northern Gateway committed to reducing the effects of the project on the use of lands and waters for traditional purposes, and said that this is primarily accomplished through sound engineering and environmental design, as described throughout its application. The company said that results of the ATK studies would be considered in project planning and execution, with a particular emphasis on identification of site-specific resources or features that need to be considered in detailed routing and during construction. The company also said that input received from participating Aboriginal groups has been assessed and incorporated where appropriate into the preliminary Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan, and that input from Aboriginal groups would continue to be collected and would be incorporated into the final Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan and revised, whenever possible.

Northern Gateway said that effects associated with routine project activities during construction, operation, and decommissioning are not likely to cause significant adverse effects on terrestrial or marine environments and, therefore, the project would not have a significant adverse effect on those who depend on the land and water for sustenance, including Aboriginal groups.

9.6.3 Traditional land and marine use information provided to the Panel by Aboriginal groups

In addition to the evidence provided by Northern Gateway, the Panel received information about traditional land and marine use directly from Aboriginal groups via oral evidence, individual affidavits, and through various studies that were filed on the record.

The information provided by Aboriginal groups regarding their traditional land and marine use generally focused on how communities and individuals use the lands, waters, and their respective resources to exercise their potential or established Aboriginal and treaty rights. This included information about traditional harvesting activities (such as fishing, hunting, gathering, processing, and other activities), and cultural and spiritual practices and systems. The information provided also included specific annual and seasonal harvesting locations and species used by Aboriginal groups for the activities described, how the needs of that community continued to be met by these activities, as well as specific sites that are of cultural or spiritual importance to potentially affected Aboriginal groups.

For Aboriginal groups along the proposed right-of-way, the Panel heard about food harvesting activities (i.e. hunting, trapping, fishing, medicinal herbs, and plant and berry gathering) as well as the cultural importance of this type of traditional land use. Groups said that it is during these activities that Elders pass along their knowledge to younger community members, allowing for reconnection with ancestral teachings. Groups said that food and medicines gathered on their traditional land are also shared amongst community members and traded with other Aboriginal groups. Groups shared information relating to important archaeological sites, burial sites, and sacred sites where important spiritual ceremonies take place. During oral evidence, Métis groups explained how the Métis people were some of the first settlers at the fur-trade outposts and their family names mark important historical landmarks all along the pipeline route.

In addition to providing information on the past and present traditional land use activities, groups said that access to these lands has diminished due to increased industrial activity. Groups said that they were concerned that clearing activities, construction of the pipelines, and new access created by the project would affect their ability to continue to use their lands for traditional purposes.

Whereas, in the past, some of these resources were right on their "doorstop," groups said that they now have to travel further for their traditional harvesting activities. Groups said that travelling greater distances makes it more difficult for Elders to participate and pass on traditional knowledge to younger generations. They also said that lands further away do not contain the traditional food they are used to, or that sometimes this food has been tainted due to industrial activity. Groups also said that declining access to land can affect the use of language, as understanding of place names is dependent on continued use of the language.

Coastal Aboriginal groups shared information on food harvesting activities (primarily relating to fishing, but also hunting, trapping, medicinal herbs, and plant and berry gathering), as well as the cultural importance of these activities. As these communities were largely concerned with the effects of shipping and potential marine spills, the information they provided focused mostly on traditional marine use. Aboriginal groups described the traditional methods of fishing, the important role the harvesting sites and camps play in passing traditional knowledge on to future generations, how food is prepared, stored, and described the sharing, trading, and feasting that comes after foods are harvested. They also described how their cultural systems, practices, and stewardship are inextricably connected to the traditional use of the lands and the waters.

Coastal groups shared information regarding sacred sites and burial grounds, and how it is difficult to map some of these traditional sites and important coastal areas due to both privacy concerns and difficulty of access. They said that these sites were named after important events that happened or resources that are harvested there, and that, with a loss of traditional knowledge and resources, the place names could be lost as well. Coastal communities also described the challenges they face in continuing traditional harvesting activities. These challenges primarily relate to increased distance from, and access to, harvesting sites due to:

  • closures and loss of access to fishing areas as a result of previous and existing industrial activities;
  • competition from commercial, recreational, and sport fishing; and
  • pollution from increased industrial activity.

9.6.4 Concerns raised about Northern Gateway's approach to assessing effects on traditional land use

Aboriginal groups raised a number of general concerns about Northern Gateway's approach to assessing potential effects to traditional land use. These included:

  • limitation in the scope of fieldwork and surveys;
  • flaws in the study methodology ;
  • amount of funding offered by Northern Gateway;
  • level of detail regarding site-specific mitigation for traditional use sites;
  • incorporation of information from traditional use studies into the project application or updates ; and
  • Northern Gateway's determination that there would be no significant adverse environmental effects and, therefore, no significant effects to how Aboriginal groups use lands, waters or resources.

For example, the Driftpile First Nation said that, while its Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge study had been completed, its geographical scope was restricted to easily accessible areas due to budget constraints, and the study's informational value was, therefore, severely limited. Other groups said that the scope of the studies was limited due to the level of funding from Northern Gateway. Michel First Nation said that limited funding did not allow for field visits, so sites or areas that are potentially affected by the project had not been accurately documented.

In response to questions from Aboriginal groups regarding how Northern Gateway determined whether an ATK study is needed and what the level of funding would be, Northern Gateway said that it considered information provided by an Aboriginal group and the Aboriginal group's level of interest in the project to determine whether a study should be undertaken and, if so, the appropriate scope for the study. The company said that funding was based on the scope and size of the study that was mutually agreed upon between Northern Gateway and the Aboriginal group. The company said that factors considered in the scope of work for ATK studies varied from group to group, but included the group's internal capacity to complete the study, site-specific interests that were identified, level and degree of interest, and number of participants that would be involved in the study. Northern Gateway said that the manner in which the ATK studies were conducted required thorough discussion at the outset and that both parties sign an ATK information sharing agreement which addresses issues of ownership and confidentiality of the knowledge.

Enoch Cree Nation expressed concerns about the quality of its ATK report, saying that the consultant "may have only included interviews with six or seven members of the Nation, who were mostly elderly and, as a consequence, the ATK report reads as though the Nation may have had some limited traditional use in the project area, and that the Nation, more or less, does not use the project area anymore." Enoch Cree Nation said that this does not accurately reflect its use of the project area. It said that it raised these concerns with Northern Gateway and did not receive a response.

Kelly Lake Cree Nation raised concerns regarding consultation with Northern Gateway about the results of its ATK study. It said that there are still a number of outstanding concerns and issues arising from its ATK report regarding specific mitigation measures and accommodation. Whitefish (Goodfish Lake) First Nation said that Northern Gateway had not followed up with the Nation on any specific mitigation measures arising from the issues and concerns identified in the community's ATK report.

A number of groups said that there was a lack of integration of traditional land use into the project application. For example, Michel First Nation said that "without the integration of traditional land use information into the design and execution of the environmental assessment and into the determination of effects, a project-specific traditional land use study is limited in its application after the completion of assessment report has occurred, except to highlight information that should have been collected and used during the assessment process." Michel First Nation also said that, while an ATK study can be used to identify Aboriginal use and general concerns, it must also be integrated into an environmental assessment along with a robust consultation program in order to identify effects.

Gitxaala Nation expressed a similar view, saying that Northern Gateway seemed to perceive traditional use studies as a parallel, stand-alone environmental assessment. Gitxaala Nation said in its view "Aboriginal traditional knowledge information that is collected must be incorporated into, and reflected in, all other biophysical and socio-economic studies conducted specifically to this application to determine what the extent of the effects are, including to Aboriginal and treaty rights." Gitxaala Nation said that Northern Gateway did not specify how the traditional use information provided by the Gitxaala was used in designing the proposed mitigation measures. Gitxaala Nation also said that it had "serious concerns about Northern Gateway's failure to incorporate the information contained in the use study generally and with respect to assessing the potential effects of the project on Gitxaala's Aboriginal rights and interests, including potential socio-cultural impacts."

In response to questioning from the Gitxaala Nationregarding how the Nation's traditional use study was used, Northern Gateway said that it was received after the application had been filed. Northern Gateway also said that, after reviewing the information in the Gitxaala study and others, it "did not see a need to change our environmental assessment predictions or the methodology … however that information and more information hopefully that we can receive from this community and others will be incorporated into our detailed design going forward."

Some Aboriginal groups said that they were not satisfied with Northern Gateway's statement that traditional use information received after the application had been filed would be incorporated into future project planning and design. Coastal First Nations said that the lack of baseline information means that the potential effects and risks cannot be known and quantified, nor predictions made, to evaluate the effects of the project or a potential spill on traditional marine use. The Council of the Haida Nation questioned Northern Gateway's understanding of the knowledge that Elders shared during the oral evidence portion of the hearing and how their concerns were incorporated into the application.

In response, Northern Gateway said that, as this information was gathered post-application, it would be included in future programs to be implemented should the project be approved. Northern Gateway said that the concerns voiced during oral evidence were consistent with the information that it already had and that it understood their concerns and looked at ways to address them and mitigate them. Northern Gateway also said that this type of information would be incorporated into coastal sensitivity mapping going forward and that it would provide integral information for future spill response planning. The company said that this type of information would be used as part of the marine environmental effects monitoring program which would gather baseline information regarding traditional food quality and food harvests in areas that would be selected based on consultation with the Council of the Haida Nation.

In response to questioning from Enoch Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, and Samson Cree Nation, Northern Gateway said that, along the proposed right-of-way, information regarding traditional land use has been incorporated into project planning in a variety of ways. It said that the information was used for developing the route, including alterations to the route to accommodate information that has come in through the ATK process and through consultation with Aboriginal groups. The company also said that the ATK study process is ongoing and that, as Northern Gateway receives mitigation information from Aboriginal groups, it would be incorporated into the Environmental Protection and Management Plan. The company said that the measures in this plan may also be modified where practical based on any additional information received through oral evidence and the oral portion of the hearing.

In response to questioning from the Daiya-Mattess Keyoh, Northern Gateway said that the Environmental Protection and Management Plan as originally filed in the proceeding is very general and that Northern Gateway would collect site-specific information through various measures, including with the assistance of Aboriginal groups to add to the plan. The company also said that Northern Gateway made two commitments to Aboriginal groups regarding understanding site-specific traditional land use. It said that the first would be a route-walk prior to setting the final centreline, to better understand traditional harvesting areas, cultural sites, and other traditional values. It said that, during this centreline survey, a team, which would typically consist of an Aboriginal member from the First Nation whose traditional territory is affected by that portion of the pipeline, an engineer, an archaeologist, a wildlife biologist, a botanist, and a fisheries biologist, would set the centreline together to find an optimal balance between all the different factors that are concerned, taking into account pipeline safety.

Many Aboriginal groups said that they were concerned that, despite the gathering of traditional land use information, Northern Gateway's focus was too narrow, as it only addressed biophysical elements and did not address concerns related to rights and interests. Gitxaala Nation said "the proponent's assessment of Gitxaala rights and interests, using an alternate biophysical valued component as a 'proxy', rather than directly assessing the specific practice or rights or use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, is inappropriate and has likely resulted in incorrect conclusions." The Gitga'at First Nation said that Northern Gateway did not assess social effects to potentially-affected communities, nor did it take into consideration the fundamental values of the Gitga'at, including their identity and worldview.

Driftpile First Nation said that its ATK study was deficient as it only documented Driftpile's land use and members' issues and concerns, but did not assess effects of the project on Aboriginal and treaty rights. East Prairie Métis Settlement and Horse Lake First Nation said that they did not feel Northern Gateway understood the difference between Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as what this means for the use of ATK.

Northern Gateway said that, within its assessment, it concluded that, as no significant adverse environmental effects are predicted for terrestrial or marine biota or the ecosystems on which they depend, the project is also not expected to result in any significant adverse effects on the abundance, distribution, or diversity of resources harvested by Aboriginal people or the land which supports these resources. It said that it did not consider it appropriate to comment on whether these changes would affect aesthetic, cultural, and spiritual aspects of harvesting and land use of importance to Aboriginal people. More information on Northern Gateway's approach to the assessment of potential project effects on Aboriginal rights and interests can be found in Chapter 4.

9.6.5 Aboriginal fisheries and harvesting

Northern Gateway said that the Food, Social, and Ceremonial (FSC) fishery is an important component of the traditional activities of Aboriginal groups who harvest fish for spiritual and cultural purposes, as well as a key food source. The company said that the FSC fishery targets species similar to those of commercial-recreational fisheries and is managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada based on species abundance and in consultation with participating Aboriginal groups. It said that it gathered most of its information on the FSC fishery from data provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and through interviews with Aboriginal residents in coastal communities. It said that further information would be collected from Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge reports and harvesting studies to be completed in the future. It said that Aboriginal harvesting concerns along the route were gathered through the consultation process and as part of completed and ongoing Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge studies.

Northern Gateway said that, similar to potential effects on commercial fisheries, potential effects to Aboriginal fisheries could include:

  • restriction of access to fishing grounds;
  • loss or damage to fishing gear;
  • change in distribution and abundance of harvested species; and
  • aesthetics, visual, and noise disturbances.

Northern Gateway said that potential effects to Aboriginal harvesting would be focused on access management issues and increased human activity along the right-of-way.

Aboriginal groups said that they were largely concerned how any fisheries closures or access restrictions, due to construction, operations, or a spill along the right-of-way would affect their ability to harvest. Groups were also concerned about the effects these could have on their ability to feed their community members, as well as the cultural practices and traditional knowledge transfer that are integral elements of these activities.

The Gitga'at First Nation said that marine foods critically important to the Gitga'at cultural practice of feasting would be adversely affected by oil spills. The Gitga'at First Nation said that travelling to harvest sites was an important part of the dissemination of cultural knowledge. The Nation also said that Elders pass on songs, knowledge about survival, traditional medicines and teach language while at the harvest sites. It also said that harvesting and distribution of traditional foods occur along lines of kinship and in accordance with relationships of respect and perceived need, and that, once the food is collected, the feast is a time when Gitga'at chiefs and their clans affirm their relationship to their territories. The Gitga'at First Nation said that the majority of Gitga'at households engage actively in traditional harvesting activities, and over 40 per cent of meals are traditionally sourced.

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council said that it is increasingly difficult to access fish for Food, Social, and Ceremonial purposes, and that community members have to go further, and stay out for longer periods, to feed their families. The Tribal Council said that the food fishery is a major element of Heiltsuk cultural continuity, enabling members to maintain close ties to different parts of their territory, and sustain their families and the social structure of the community. The Tribal Council said that harvesting is an important part of the ongoing activities of the Heiltsuk people, providing food, medicine, fuels, building materials, ceremonial and spiritual necessities, and other materials. The Heiltsuk Tribal Council said that the Supreme Court of Canada recognized their Aboriginal right to trade herring spawn on kelp on a commercial basis.

Gitxaala Nation said that over 90 per cent of their diet comes from traditionally harvested food, that this food is shared amongst community members, and that this sharing brings great pride to members. Over several days of oral evidence, Gitxaala Nation described the species it harvested, where fishing camps were located, how place names were given based on the harvesting that occurred there, and how various traditional methods of harvesting resources such as roe on kelp and seaweed are been passed on from Elders to the community's youth. The Nation shared stories related to naxnox, which is the spirit of the plants and animals that the Gitxaala harvest, and how it represents the relationship that the Nation has with these resources. The Gitxaala Nation said that if it does its part, and is respectful of its surroundings and the beings within its traditional territories, the naxnox will do its part and provide for the community.

Aboriginal groups along the right-of-way expressed concerns about project effects, due to pipeline construction and operation, on their ability to harvest medicinal plants and other country food sources, and how this could also potentially limit their cultural activities. The Kitsumkalum Indian Band shared information relating to the resources harvested from the Skeena River. It said that several fundamental parts of Kitsumkalum Tsimshian First Nation traditional culture are linked to all aspects of traditional marine foods, including harvesting, processing preparation, distributing, personal consumption, sharing, trading, and feasting.

In oral evidence, Samson Cree Nation said that traditional knowledge is passed on by Elders during ceremonies that take place during hunting and gathering. The Métis Nation of Alberta said that moose hunting and berry picking is becoming more difficult due to industrial activity as hunters have to go further afield to find game. It said that moose has cultural importance to the Métis as it is a primary food source, dried meat is used in ceremonies, and the hide is used for moccasins and other clothing. Swan River First Nation also said moose harvesting is declining in its area and described the effect this is having on its community members.

Both coastal and inland Aboriginal groups said that fishing and harvesting play an important role in their traditional economy and trade with other Aboriginal groups. The Office of the Wet'suwet'en said that the salmon fishery has always been a central focus of the Wet'suwet'en sustenance and trading economies, and that arrangements for management of the fishery are deeply interconnected and woven into the fabric of Wet'suwet'en culture. In oral evidence, the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation said that its harvest is linked with trade, and that "we do a lot of trading with our resources within our territory with other people in the mainland like Kitimat, Bella Coola, and people up the Nass Valley. They do not have the herring eggs or the seaweed and other resources, those people we trade with."

Groups also said that any disruption to their traditional harvesting and fishing would affect their ability to hold feasts and, therefore, affect their traditional governance. Gitxaala Nation said that changes to its harvest could result in cascading cultural changes, such as effects to the house group managing the area, or the transmission of knowledge regarding the areas important to the resources. It said that, without the capacity to harvest, Gitxaala Nation could not hold feasts, and without feasts it could not pass on names or traditional knowledge. The Office of the Wet'suwet'en said that its clan system is reliant on feasts. It said that feasting is the time when laws are determined, names are taken and responsibilities are passed on to future generations.

Access management was of concern to several groups. Aboriginal intervenors raised concerns about the potential opening up of lands that have been traditionally used for harvesting to non-Aboriginal land users, as well as potential restrictions to Aboriginal fishing and harvesting during construction and operation.

Northern Gateway committed to develop follow-up programs for monitoring the potential effects of the project on Aboriginal fishing. The company said that this includes funding studies for each of the coastal Aboriginal groups within the Confined Channel Assessment Area, in an effort to quantify the FSC fishery and to better understand the location of harvests, the type and amount of resources harvested, and the timing and quality of the harvest. Northern Gateway said that this information would also be used to evaluate and compensate any future losses that may be experienced by coastal First Nations.

Northern Gateway said that site-specific information on FSC fisheries would also be included in environmental sensitivity atlases as well as Geographic Response Plans. The company said that it expects that Aboriginal fishers would participate in the Fisheries Liaison Committee and be active participants in the catch monitoring programs which it has committed to start 3 years prior to operations. It said that protocols to address costs associated with loss or damage to FSC fisheries would be developed through the Fisheries Liaison Committee.

Coastal Aboriginal groups expressed concerns about the appropriateness of the Fisheries Liaison Committee and compensation as mitigation measures for potential effects to Aboriginal fisheries. The Gitga'at First Nation said that the committee as presented lacked concrete details and did not explain how it would resolve issues between fishers and the project. It questioned how Northern Gateway would calculate harm to traditional harvests, and that cultural dimensions of traditional harvesting such as knowledge transfer may be impossible to compensate.

Regarding the recovery of biophysical and human environments from oil spills, Northern Gateway said that, in previous spills, there were short-term negative effects related to the availability of resources to share within communities. It said that, over the long term, cultural transmission between Elders and youth continued, as did food sharing patterns, and ultimately the basic fabric of society remained unchanged. Northern Gateway said that important cultural concerns, such as issues related to traditional food, access to resources, and sharing would be included in spill response planning.

Northern Gateway committed to provide opportunities for participating Aboriginal groups along the right-of-way to harvest medicinal and food-source plants prior to clearing activities. The company said that, prior to construction, each Aboriginal group along the proposed right-of-way would have the opportunity to participate in a program designed to identify traditional use trappers, harvesters and yields. Northern Gateway also said that Aboriginal groups would be given the opportunity to review site-specific plans to address public access concerns before construction begins.

Northern Gateway said that it had determined within its assessment that there would not be significant adverse effects on fishing and harvesting of resources by Aboriginal groups. The company said that it did not attempt to make predictions about significance of effects on aesthetic, cultural or spiritual aspects of the potential uses of these resources.

Views of the Panel

The Panel learned and benefited from the evidence of Aboriginal groups and their members provided during the oral portion of the hearing and through their written submissions. The Panel recognizes that Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge is often unwritten and is shared through generations of experience and connection to the land. The Panel thanks each community for providing unique, personal, and often sacred knowledge.

The Panel carefully considered the evidence provided by Aboriginal groups and Northern Gateway about the nature and extent of the traditional land and marine use that is carried out by Aboriginal groups within the project area, and the potential effects of the project on these traditional activities. The Panel also considered all of the relevant information filed in the process regarding the potential effect of the project on the biophysical elements and the ecosystems that support these, including vegetation, wildlife, fish and fish habitat, marine species and marine habitat, and freshwater resources. The Panel considered the measures committed to by Northern Gateway to avoid or mitigate such effects. The Panel recognizes the importance that Aboriginal groups place on being able to continue their traditional activities and uses within the entire area of their traditional territories, including access to resources and cultural sites. The Panel has assessed the potential project effects and mitigation with that perspective in mind.

Many Aboriginal groups felt that their traditional land use information was not fully incorporated into the project application. They noted that the specific information they had provided in their ATK studies was not reflected in Northern Gateway's assessment or that the mitigation measures proposed by the company did not address their concerns.

Northern Gateway said that its approach to assessing potential project effects on traditional land and marine use took into account species or resources that are commonly understood to be of importance to Aboriginal people, as well as issues raised by Aboriginal people, information on traditional land use and ecological knowledge, and recommendations provided by Aboriginal groups on project design changes and mitigation. Northern Gateway has committed to reducing the effects of the project on the use of lands, waters, and resources for traditional purposes, and said that this would primarily be accomplished through sound engineering and environmental design, as well as in future routing decisions and emergency response planning. The company has also committed to including site-specific information on Food, Social, and Ceremonial fisheries in environmental sensitivity atlases and Geographic Response Plans and expects that FSC fishers would participate in the Fisheries Liaison Committee.

Aboriginal groups also told the Panel that they felt that Northern Gateway's approach to assessing ATK information was insufficient as it did not address the cultural importance of traditional land and marine use activities. The Panel acknowledges and recognizes the strongly-held views of Aboriginal groups about the cultural, biophysical, and spiritual connectedness between the lands, the waters, the peoples, and their societies. Aboriginal groups told the Panel that a negative effect on one of these may result in a negative effect on any or all of the others. The Panel respects and appreciates the importance of this view.

The Panel finds the company's approach for the assessment of project effects on traditional land and resource use acceptable. The Panel accepts Northern Gateway's assessment that, during construction and routine operations, there would not be significant adverse effects on the lands, waters, or resources in the project area, and so, there would not be significant adverse effects on the ability of Aboriginal people to utilize lands, waters, or resources in the project area for traditional purposes.

The Panel does not agree with the view of some Aboriginal groups that the effects associated with this project during construction and routine operations would eliminate the opportunity for Aboriginal groups to maintain their cultural and spiritual practices and the pursuit of their traditional uses and activities associated with the lands, waters, and their resources.

The Panel finds Northern Gateway's approach to ATK studies as a community-driven process was appropriate. The Panel recognizes the work done by both the Aboriginal groups and the company over a number of years, with the aim that studies were thorough and validated by the community before being released to Northern Gateway. The Panel acknowledges that collecting traditional use information takes time and that not all of the information was available prior to the filing of the application. The Panel notes that, despite the updates filed by the company during the process regarding its consideration of traditional use information, the company failed to commit to clear and effective communication with some Aboriginal groups that provided information and shared their knowledge about their uses and interests in the project area. In the Panel's view, the company could have done more to clearly communicate to some Aboriginal groups how it considered, and would continue to consider, information provided.

For those ATK studies not yet completed, the Panel encourages both Aboriginal groups and Northern Gateway to continue discussions so that appropriate information can be incorporated into the project design and follow-up programs. The Panel also encourages Aboriginal fishers to participate in the FLC, so as to reduce potential project conflicts with FSC fishing activities and to inform catch monitoring programs.

To address concerns regarding site-specific traditional land use information and the potentially outstanding concerns as noted by Northern Gateway in its application updates, the Panel requires Northern Gateway to continue to consult with Aboriginal groups and engage them on detailed route-walks and centreline surveys. As previously noted, the Panel encourages ongoing communication and further dialogue regarding the incorporation of traditional land and marine use information in project design, mitigation measures, and follow-up programs. The Panel requires Northern Gateway to report on any additional information, effects, and proposed mitigation measures to address the concerns of Aboriginal groups.

On balance, the Panel finds that, during construction and routine operations, there would not be a significant adverse effect on the ability of Aboriginal groups to continue to use lands, waters, or resources for traditional purposes within the project area.

The Panel finds that, in the unlikely event of a large oil spill, there would be significant adverse effects on lands, waters, or resources used by Aboriginal groups, and that the adverse effects would not be permanent or widespread.

The Panel recognizes that any disruptions to the ability of Aboriginal groups to practice their traditional activities may result from the interruption or reduction of access to lands, waters, or resources used by Aboriginal groups, including country foods. The Panel recognizes that such an event would place burdens and challenges on affected Aboriginal groups. The Panel finds that such interruptions would be temporary. The Panel recognizes that, during recovery from a spill, users of lands, waters, or resources may experience disruptions and possible changes in access or use. The Panel discusses the likelihood of malfunctions or accidents, and the potential associated environmental effects, in Chapters 5 and 7.

9.7 Human health

In its application, Northern Gateway undertook a variety of studies which directly or indirectly assessed potential effects to human health. The human health risk assessment (HHRA) and the ecological risk assessment (ERA) looked at construction and routine operations of the pipelines and the Kitimat Terminal. The company also completed a risk assessment of spills at the terminal, and a human health and ecological risk assessment of pipeline spills along the right-of-way. The company said that its HHRA considered air emissions from the marine terminal as the primary source of human health risks during operations. It said that people may be directly affected by emissions in the ambient air, or indirectly through contact with chemicals deposited in the soil and surface water or through consumption of country foods, including those consumed by Aboriginal people.

Northern Gateway said that the HHRA considered residents in Kitamaat Village and in the Town of Kitimat to be the most sensitive receptors. The company said that it used predictive air quality modelling to predict the concentration of chemicals of potential concern (COPCs) in the sediments, fish, seaweed, and shellfish in the marine waters and wild game and vegetation in the region.

The company said that it used values from Health Canada in its estimations of exposure through country food consumption. It also said that it used the lowest toxicological reference values (TRVs) available for the toxicity assessment of carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic chemicals. The company said these included, among others, values used by Health Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

Northern Gateway said that its assessments concluded that the effects of the project on human health from pipeline construction would not be significant, and there would be no long-term risks to human health from routine operation of the pipelines and the Kitimat Terminal, including effects from air emissions and consumption of country foods. The company also said that there are no predicted risks to human health from regular shipping operations.

Northern Gateway said that its modelling indicated that any exposures to carcinogens and non-carcinogens, resulting from a spill at the terminal, via consumption of foods such as mollusks, crabs, and shellfish, would be below acceptable thresholds as defined by Health Canada.

The company said that, for chronic health risks associated with a pipeline spill, its assessment concluded that risk reduction would occur as hydrocarbon concentrations are continually reduced either by natural processes or remedial activities.

The company said that in assessing the maximum potential exposure to COPCs, it assumed that 100 per cent of each receptor's daily intake of soil, water, traditional plant, berry, and animal tissue (i.e., moose, hare, muskrat, bear, duck, and fish) is from an affected area over their entire lifetime. The company said that this assumption is generally conservative because it may overestimate the exposure of an individual to the COPC. Northern Gateway said that risk management activities that target the protection of exposure pathways during remediation after a spill would be important in reducing risks. For example, the company said that removing as much hydrocarbon from the shoreline soils as possible would result in substantial risk reduction, and that restrictions placed on fishing after a spill could prevent the consumption of tainted fish and protect human health, if warranted based on the results of environmental monitoring undertaken following an actual event. The company said that, based on the assumptions used in its assessment, including its assumptions regarding exposures from country food consumption, risk estimates were below thresholds used by agencies such as Health Canada and the US EPA for chronic risks to human health.

Ms. Wier raised questions regarding how receptors were chosen for the HHRA, as well as the rigour of the assessment. The Haisla Nation also raised concerns regarding the indicators that Northern Gateway chose as inputs into its HHRA model. In response, Northern Gateway said that its assessment looked at the most sensitive toxicological endpoint. It said that the HHRA used the most current values available that were developed by Health Canada. Northern Gateway said that a risk assessment is done as conservatively as possible and, in this case, its assessment tried to overestimate the risks so that it has a margin of safety as a result. More information regarding the conclusions of the HHRA can be found in Chapter 7.

In the case of routine pipeline and terminal operations, intervenors were largely concerned with potential effects to air and water quality, and increased noise, and the effects these would have on human health. The Haisla Nation said that previous industrial activity in Kitimat has resulted in pollution of the Kitimat River, tainting their traditional fishery. Groups along the route, such as the McLeod Lake Indian Band, said that it was concerned that chemical sprays used to maintain clearings may contaminate nearby water sources and that construction activities would result in increased dust in the project area. The Driftpile Cree Nation and Swan River First Nation said that they were concerned about the effects of declining groundwater quality from industrial development, while the District of Kitimat noted potential contamination to drinking water supply. The Fort St. James Sustainability Group said that it was concerned about increased noise as a result of the construction and operation of the Fort St. James pump station.

Northern Gateway said that construction noise would be short-term and local, and would be restricted to daytime hours where possible. It said that, during operation, there would be no ambient noise from the pipeline and any noise coming from pump stations would meet Alberta's ERCB Directive 38, which determines acceptable noise levels for industrial operations. As a result, Northern Gateway said that no occupied dwelling near the Fort St. James pump station would be affected by ambient noise.

Northern Gateway committed to use appropriate transportation and dust control measures, during construction, to limit air pollution.

Northern Gateway said that it plans to use mechanical methods to maintain a clear right-of-way along the proposed route, so effects to human health from chemicals associated with this maintenance are not expected. It said that any chemicals required to address noxious weed problems on the right-of-way would be subject to Northern Gateway's Weed Management Plan which would include environmental considerations such as proximity to water sources, water bodies, food growing, riparian areas, and wildlife and fish habitat.

Northern Gateway committed to follow proven industry practices at the terminal to manage surface water runoff and has committed to setting up an air quality emissions management plan.

Aboriginal groups along the proposed route, and in coastal areas, expressed concerns about the project's effect on their health as a result of general pollution and changes to their traditional diet. Groups said that these changes could be the result of construction and routine operations, as access to country foods could be limited. Groups said that this could force community members to rely on store-bought foods that are unfamiliar to them. Coastal groups, such as the Metlakatla First Nation, said that increased tanker traffic would lead to increased pollution, which could affect the health of the fish they rely on for much of their diet.

Groups also said that these concerns would be amplified in the case of a spill. The Gitga'at First Nation said that the traditional diet accounts for 50 per cent of the total intake of energy for community members. It said this is equivalent to between 245 to 753 grams of fish and shellfish per day. It also said that health risks from the loss of this food, via fisheries closures or avoidance of certain areas due to perception of risk, could result in nutrient deficiency potentially causing anemia or compromised immune functions, and a potential increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

During oral evidence Aboriginal groups expressed concerns about the high rate of diabetes in their communities. They said that rates of diabetes in their communities increased as people began eating more processed foods and that it affects both the young and old. They said that a focus on country foods, in order to reduce the rate of diabetes and the associated high health costs, was a priority for them. Individuals described how a diet of country foods, such as seafood, seaweed, fresh berries, herbs, and freshwater fish, has altered the course of the disease and improved their health. They were concerned that potential effects of the project would impact their ability to access traditional foods.

In addition to effects to physical health, intervenors said that the project could also affect people's mental health and individual identity. Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation said that the pristine waters surrounding its community convey physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Both the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union and the Heiltsuk Tribal Council said that the project could result in the potential for increased individual and community stress, anxiety disorders, and depressive symptoms in communities along the shipping route.

Northern Gateway committed to both marine and terrestrial monitoring programs for a minimum of 3 years after the start of operations, to determine if any chemicals of potential concern have increased as a result of the project. Within these monitoring programs, Northern Gateway committed to collect information on the use of specific country foods (i.e., amount collected and consumed, time of harvest, time of use, etc.) by Aboriginal groups. The company said that Aboriginal groups and appropriate federal and provincial agencies would be invited to participate in the development of both the marine and pipeline environmental effects monitoring programs.

Northern Gateway said that it recognized the potential affect to mental health of individuals, and social wellbeing of affected communities, in the event of a spill. The company said that one way to address psychological stress caused by oil spills is to incorporate measures such as counseling and recovery efforts into an operational Oil Spill Response Plan.

Northern Gateway said that, in the event of a marine spill, human health is assumed to be protected through the publication of advisories regarding the consumption of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, followed by biological, taint, and chemical monitoring to confirm that baseline conditions are restored. The company said that areas would not be re-opened until conditions are safe. Northern Gateway said there would therefore be no adverse effects on human health. Northern Gateway also said that, as any fishing closures would be temporary, long-term changes in diet are not expected. Northern Gateway committed to working with the communities in advance by involving them in community-based response strategies to discuss acceptable food alternatives in the case of a closure. The company said that it would come to an agreement in advance of an event that would identify where replacement food would come from (i.e. country foods from other locations or foods purchased from a store). Northern Gateway said that food harvesting sites of importance to coastal Aboriginal groups would be included in the geographic response planning process, with the goal of managing the effects of the spill to ensure that harvesting would resume as soon as possible.

Views of the Panel

The Panel heard that communities, especially Aboriginal communities, are concerned about the potential effects the project could have on their health. The Panel accepts that many Aboriginal groups rely on, and have a preference for, eating traditional foods. The Panel heard that Aboriginal groups believe these traditional foods could be contaminated as a result of routine operations, and that access could be interrupted in the case of a large spill. The Panel also heard concerns about the change in air quality during construction and operation of the terminal.

The Panel acknowledges the stress that some communities, especially coastal Aboriginal groups, feel at the prospect of the project and the potential risks that come with shipping activities. The Panel received evidence that there is already vessel traffic and industrial activity along British Columbia's northern coast and that Aboriginal groups continue to use the land and waters in this area for traditional purposes.

The Panel received evidence from Aboriginal groups regarding the value and importance of country foods. The Panel accepts Northern Gateway's evidence that exposure to chemicals of potential concerns during routine operations, or in the event of a large spill, would not exceed Health Canada thresholds and guidelines. This would also apply to those consuming country foods, as any closures would be well-marked, would be short-term, and a return to traditional diets would be possible after cleanup. The Panel notes that Northern Gateway has committed to gather information related to country foods through ATK reports and harvest studies which would provide information on the species of importance for harvesting and human consumption, as well as baseline information on the quality of various plants, fish, birds, and mammals. The Panel notes Northern Gateway's commitment to enter into agreements prior to commencing project operations with potentially affected Aboriginal groups regarding replacement foods, including water. In the Panel's view, this is an example of a precautionary and proactive approach to address some of the interests and concerns of Aboriginal groups.

The Panel accepts Northern Gateway's plans to follow provincial guidelines for ambient noise for pump stations and to manage any chemicals required to address noxious weeds while clearing the right-of-way. The Panel also accepts Northern Gateway's commitments to manage surface water runoff at the terminal and to set up an air quality emissions management plan. The Panel requires the company to file information related to its air quality monitoring program at the terminal.

The Panel having considered all the evidence finds that, with Northern Gateway's commitments and the Panel's conditions, during construction and routine operation there would be no significant adverse effects on human health, including the health of Aboriginal people. In the case of a malfunction or accident, including a large spill, the Panel accepts the conclusions reached in Northern Gateway's assessments and finds that, with Northern Gateway's commitments and the Panel's conditions, there would be no significant adverse effects on human health, including the health of Aboriginal people and those who consume country foods.

Summary views of the Panel

In this chapter, the Panel reviewed the effect of routine project activities on people and communities along the pipeline right-of-way and in coastal areas. It considered the evidence and perspectives presented by those who participated in the process. The Panel examined how people use the land and waters for both current and traditional uses; the heritage resources contained in the project area; the project's interaction with community infrastructure and services; potential changes to individual and community health and wellbeing; and potential benefits to education, employment, and economic opportunities.

The Panel finds that, with Northern Gateway's commitments and the Panel requirements, the project's potential effects on lands, waters, and resource use can be effectively addressed. The Panel also finds that the project would not have a significant adverse effect on the ability of Aboriginal people to use the lands, waters, and resources in the project area for traditional purposes, including accessing country foods. The Panel does not believe that the routine operations of the project would have a negative effect on the social fabric of communities in the project area, nor would it affect the health and wellbeing of people and communities along the route or in coastal areas. The Panel finds that the net overall economic effects of the project would be positive, significant, and would provide potential benefits and opportunities to those individuals and businesses that choose to participate in the project.

The Panel notes that its recommendations are dependent on the full and successful implementation of Northern Gateway's commitments, and compliance with conditions required by the Panel. An important aspect of both the company's commitments and the Panel's conditions is continued consultation with local and Aboriginal communities in the project area. In order for multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Fisheries Liaison Committee and Community Advisory Boards, or follow-up plans such as harvesting studies, coastal sensitivity mapping, or education and training programs to be successful, the Panel encourages continued dialogue between Northern Gateway and the public, landowners, stakeholders, governments, and Aboriginal groups throughout the life of the project. The Panel would also require the monitoring and adaptive management of Northern Gateway's socio-economic programs. Accordingly, with respect to Aboriginal peoples, the Panel recommends that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects in Canada on health and socio-economic conditions; physical and cultural heritage; the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes; or any structure, site, or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological, or architectural significance.

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Date Modified:
2014-01-17