Pipeline and right of way permits

If you’re working near a FortisBC high pressure pipeline, crossing the high pressure pipeline or planning activities within a FortisBC right of way, BC laws, regulations and land interests require you to get written permission from FortisBC first.

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 permission?

Anytime you’re planning to break ground, you must click or call BC 1 Call in advance to request the location of underground gas and other utility lines on the property.

The Energy Resources Activities Act requires written permission from FortisBC for activities within 30 metres of a pipeline. Contact us if you are unsure about the pressure of the gas line.

If you're working:

  • within 30 metres of a high pressure pipeline, you require a letter of authorization from FortisBC.
  • within 30 metres of a high pressure pipeline and your work involves preloading, blasting, or work within geohazard area, you require a permit.
  • within 10 meters of a high pressure pipeline or work inside a FortisBC statutory right of way, you require a permit.

How to apply for a permit

Anticipated timing 

The current wait time for issuing letters of authorization is approximately 10 business days. Projects requiring engineering involvement will take an additional four to six weeks.

The current wait time for reviewing and issuing permits is a minimum of four to six months.Projects requiring engineering involvement will take an additional four to eight weeks. If pipeline upgrades are required, the estimated wait time is three years.

These timelines may change depending on the complexity of your project.

  • 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)
  • commercial tree farming
  • parking lots
  • railways
  • 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

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
  • vehicles, trailers and RVs
  • 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

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 us at [email protected] or call 1-877-599-0996.