Pipeline and right of way permits

If you’re working over a FortisBC pipeline or planning certain activities within a FortisBC right of way, BC laws, regulations and land interests require you to get permission from FortisBC first and to follow safety guidelines when working near our pipelines.

Buried pipelines within rights of way are indicated by distinctive marker posts and signs, often displaying the Call before you dig symbol. You must always click on BC One Call or call 1-800-474-6886 to get gas line location information before digging, drilling or excavation of any kind.

What is a right of way?

A right of way is a defined corridor that contains one or more high-pressure natural gas pipelines and passes through private property, Crown lands and Indigenous lands. A statutory right of way agreement between the landowner and FortisBC is registered on the title of the property, which allows us to access the right of way and restrict uses or activities that could compromise our ability to access, maintain, inspect or operate the pipeline to the safety standards and regulations we’re required to follow.

If you have questions about a right of way or need a copy of the agreement for your property, check with your local Land Title Office or email us at [email protected].

Do you need a pipeline or right of way permit?

The BC Oil and Gas Activities Act requires you to have written permission for activities within 30 metres of a pipeline. You must apply for a permit if you’re working:

  • within 10 metres of a transmission pressure (TP) pipeline
  • within two metres of an intermediate pressure (IP) pipeline or
  • within a FortisBC right of way
  • increasing or decreasing ground elevation
  • road and driveway crossings and/or movement of vehicles and equipment across, on or along the right of way (temporary or permanent)
  • logging roads (temporary or permanent) and/or logging activities
  • underground and overhead utilities
  • ditches, drains, sanitary and storm sewers, irrigation lines, water lines and dikes
  • test holes
  • fences and posts (subject to individual review)
  • Christmas tree or commercial tree farming
  • parking lots
  • railways
  • commercial or recreational vehicle parking
  • sports fields or golf courses (subject to limits on re-grading landscaping, irrigation lines or paving)
  • trails (subject to individual review)
  • blasting in the vicinity of a transmission natural gas pipeline
  • preloading adjacent to a right of way
  • stockpiling material adjacent to a right of way
  • planting flower beds, vegetable gardens, lawns or low shrubbery (under 1.8 metres at maturity and not to be planted within one metre of a natural gas pipeline)
  • farming
  • livestock grazing

We restrict activities or objects that could potentially cause safety concerns on a right of way, such as major vegetation, structures and other encroachments that might interfere with safe operation of and access to the pipeline, including:

  • buildings, structures or foundations (including garden sheds, patios, decks, retaining walls, concrete slabs, playhouses, swimming pools or satellite dishes)
  • overhanging roofs and balconies
  • parallel or tapering encroachment by roads or other utilities
  • blasting
  • dumping, stockpiling material or preloading of any kind
  • planting trees
  • falling trees
  • burning of materials (waste, scrap lumber and slash)
  • digging wells and pits
  • pile-driving, poles for power lines and street lighting
  • augering or other boreholes
  • erecting signs
  • storage of equipment, building goods, vehicles or flammable materials
  • commercial garbage disposal containers (e.g. dumpsters)
  • septic fields and tanks

How to apply for a right of way permit

  1. Get a BC One Call reference number by clicking BC One Call or calling 1-800-474-6886. You will need this to apply for a pipeline and/or right of way works permit.
  2. Complete the online permit application.
    Note: This form works best with a Chrome or Firefox browser. If you experience a delay while the form loads, please wait and do not refresh the page.
  3. Attach a drawing or sketch of the plan and profile views to your online application:
    • Plan view: drawn to a scale of 1:500 or larger, show the proposed changes and supply sufficient geographical references such as legal property lines and roads. Include all details pertinent to the proposal, such as tie-in dimensions from a known point along the natural gas pipeline (road allowance or property line) to a point where the crossing facility intersects the pipeline.
    • Profile view (cross-section): drawn to a scale of 1:200 horizontal or larger and 1:100 vertical or larger, show a profile along the natural gas pipeline and/or across the pipeline. Indicate depth of cover over the pipeline and the clearance between the pipeline and your facility.
  4. Have a site inspection. FortisBC will endeavor to expedite the review of all permit applications to determine if a pre-site inspection, or additional information, is required from the Applicant. A number of factors however, will affect the timing of the permit process, such as complexity and volume. It is suggested that the Applicant contact Property Services (604-576-7021) two weeks after submission of the permit for a status update.
  5. Keep a copy of the approved permit and associated plans at the work site at all times. This is a requirement of the pipeline and/or right of way works permit.

Why is it important to get a right of way permit?

Safety is our first priority, and so is the integrity of our pipeline system. We inspect our rights of way regularly and if we find unauthorized activities or encroachments, we’re required to notify and forward a report to WorkSafeBC and the BC Oil and Gas Commission. Depending on the ruling of these regulatory agencies, contraventions to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations and/or Oil and Gas Activities Act of BC may result in fines.

Safety resources to download, print and share

We’re here to help

If you have questions about what’s permitted in a right of way or how to apply for a permit, email the FortisBC permit desk at [email protected] or call 604-576-7021 or 1-877-599-0996.