On Wednesday, Aug. 28, the National Energy Board (NEB) became the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). For further information please visit our Implementing the Canadian Energy Regulator Act information page

Living and Working Near Pipelines

Living and Working Near Pipelines [PDF 274 KB]

Growing City - Wheat Farmer - Worker Laying Pipeline

Pipelines are the safest method to transport products, such as natural gas, oil or other commodities, across the country. If these pipelines are damaged the results could be very serious. You have an important role to play to ensure safety. Please, click or call before you dig.

Click or Call Before You Dig

Contacting the one-call notification centre is the first step in the damage prevention process for all buried infrastructure. All NEB regulated pipeline companies are required to register their buried infrastructure with one-call notification centres. The national web portal at www.clickbeforeyoudig.com provides links and information for one-call notification centres across Canada.

Before undertaking a ground disturbance, you must click or call the one-call centre serving your area to contact the pipeline company and obtain written consent for the ground disturbance within the prescribed area (safety zone) 30 metres (100 feet) perpendicularly on either side of the pipe. You must also obtain written consent from the pipeline company if you want to construct a facility near the pipeline. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the pipeline company, contact the National Energy Board at 1-800-899-1265.

Did you know?

  • Unauthorized construction, installation of a facility or ground disturbance over or near a pipeline is illegal.
  • The pipeline company must inform you within 10-business days whether consent for your project has been granted or refused. If consent has been refused, the pipeline company must inform you of the reasons.
  • The pipeline company has three business days to respond to a request to locate its pipeline.
Warning - High Pressure Pipe Line
Pipeline signs
and marker posts
do not indicate
the exact location
of a pipeline
or right of way.
ALWAYS click
or call before you dig.

The Pipeline Right of Way

A pipeline is installed within a strip of land referred to as a right of way. The pipeline company has acquired rights to use this land for the construction, operation and maintenance of its pipelines, however, ownership of the land remains with the landowner.

Activities within the right of way are governed by the NEB Act, the NEB Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations and NEB Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, and easement agreements negotiated between the landowner and the pipeline company.

To ensure safety, you will need to contact the company to get written consent for a number of different activities on the right of way. These activities include, but are not limited to.

  • operating vehicles or mobile equipment over the right of way where a roadway does not exist
  • Reducing the depth of soil covering the pipeline
  • Agricultural Ploughing or Tilling 45 cm and below
  • Ground levelling
  • Installing drainage systems
  • Augering
  • Fencing

The Prescribed Area

The prescribed area, also known as the safety zone extends 30 metres (100 feet) on either side of the centreline of the pipe. To ensure safety, ground disturbance activities within this zone require approval from the pipeline company. If you are unable to obtain consent, you may apply to the Board for approval of the activity.

Prescribed Area

Temporary Prohibition

There may be situations where a ground disturbance activity outside of the prescribed area may pose a potential hazard to the pipe. When a temporary prohibition area is designated, no ground disturbance activity may be performed in this area until

  • the end of the third working day after the day on which the request is made; or
  • at any later time that is agreed to between the pipeline company and the person making the request.

Confirm with the company representative that the company’s pipeline in the area has been marked by the locator and that you understand the meaning of the various stakes and markings. A misunderstanding could cause you to damage a pipe, endangering your own life and that of others.

Safety Checklist

SAFETY CHECKLIST when planning activities near a pipeline:

  1. Plan your activity. Identify the precise location of your work, check records for evidence of pipeline easements or other buried facilities.
  2. Go to the site and look for pipeline warning signs or pipeline marker posts.
  3. Contact the pipeline company and obtain a copy of the pipeline company’s guidelines for constructing a facility, conducting activities causing a ground disturbance, or crossings in the vicinity of a pipeline.
  4. Obtain the pipeline company’s written consent for the construction of facilities across, on, along or under a pipeline, conducting activities causing a ground disturbance in the prescribed area, or crossing a pipeline with a vehicle or mobile equipment.
  5. Make a locate request at least three working days before the day on which the construction or ground disturbance activity is started, by calling the one-call centre, or by calling the pipeline company where there is no one-call centre, to have the pipe located and marked.
  6. Be on site when the pipeline is located, and know the meaning of the pipeline markings.
  7. Review NEB requirements with all persons working on your behalf, including employees, contractors and subcontractors, to ensure they are aware of their obligations. Keep documents with safety requirements and guidance on site.
  8. Expose the pipe by hand digging or other acceptable excavation techniques accepted by the pipeline company prior to any mechanical excavation within three metres of the pipe. Follow the instructions of the pipeline company’s authorized field representative.
  9. Notify the pipeline company prior to backfilling over the pipe or facilities, where the pipe or facilities have been exposed. Follow the instructions of the pipeline company’s authorized field representative.
  10. IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE PIPELINE COMPANY IF YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE PIPE! A small scratch or dent in the pipe’s coating can impact the long term safety of the pipe and must be assessed by the pipeline company.

NEB Regulated Pipelines

The main pipelines regulated by the NEB are operated by:

  • Alliance Pipeline Ltd.
  • Enbridge Pipelines Inc.
  • Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc.
  • Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd.
  • Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline Inc.
  • Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC
  • Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Management Ltd.
  • NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Inc.
  • Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc.
  • TransCanada PipeLines Limited
  • Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission

Many smaller pipelines are also regulated by the NEB. If you have a question about the NEB's jurisdiction over a particular pipeline, please call us at 1-800-899-1265 or visit our Web site at www.neb-one.gc.ca.

Working together for pipeline safety.

The following provides information on one-call centres within Canada:

National web portal for one-call notification centres in Canada: www.clickbeforeyoudig.com
This portal will also tell you where you have to contact the pipeline companies directly.

Call or click before you dig!  Contact your one-call centre.
British Columbia
BC One Call: 1-800-474-6886
Ontario One Call: 1-800-400-2255
Alberta One Call Corporation: 1-800-242-3447
Info-Excavation: 1-800-663-9228
Sask First Call: 1-866-828-4888
Atlantic Canada
Info-Excavation: 1-866-344-5463
Click Before You Dig MB: 1-800-940-3447
Contact the pipeline company directly in the Northwest Territories.

About the National Energy Board

The National Energy Board regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest.

The NEB regulates activities on or adjacent to rights of way under Board jurisdiction in the interests of the protection of property, the environment, and the safety of the public and of the pipeline company's employees. NEB staff regularly perform audits and inspections of pipeline companies to ensure their compliance.

Contact the NEB

Each ground disturbance or construction activity is unique, and this guide cannot deal with all cases. If you need further assistance with any ground disturbance or construction activity near a federally regulated pipeline, please call us at 1-800-899-1265 and ask for an Operations Inspector responsible for damage prevention or email dpinfo@cer-rec.gc.ca

The National Energy Board Act; the National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations and other NEB publications are available from:

Library and Publication Services
Canada Energy Regulator
517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta
T2R 0A8
E-mail: publications@cer-rec.gc.ca
Telephone: 403-299-3561
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-292-5503
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803

Our publications are also available on our Website.

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