1 Protecting the Coast from Oil Tankers | West Coast Environmental Law


Protecting the Coast from Oil Tankers

After decades of work by the West Coast Environmental Law Association and our allies to uphold and legally entrench an oil tanker ban on the north coast of BC, the federal government publicly confirmed that they would be formalizing the Pacific north coast oil tanker moratorium.

If done right, a legislated federal oil tanker ban will put an end to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project, permanently protecting this important and fragile marine area from the threat of an oil spill and reinforcing an existing tanker ban imposed by Coastal First Nations as a matter of their own jurisdiction and laws. First Nations involved in marine planning on the Pacific coast are adamant that oil tankers are inconsistent with the healthy ocean they depend on.

West Coast has been working to bring a legislated oil tanker ban to fruition for many years, most recently by submitting recommendations to government about what a strong tanker ban should include and providing tools for members of the public to participate in public consultation processes.

Photo: Andy Wright


  • November 2015: The Prime Minister’s mandate letters directed the Minister of Transport and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to formalize a crude oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia, putting in place a concrete federal commitment to implement an initiative for which West Coast has advocated for decades.
  • January 2016: We published Keeping Our Coast Clean, an FAQ on the proposed oil tanker ban.
  • December 2015 – July 2016: West Coast staff counsel Linda Nowlan and Gavin Smith participated in a series of meetings and roundtable sessions with Transport Canada staff and stakeholders regarding the formalization of the oil tanker ban.


Our Law Reform Advocacy work is funded by the West Coast Environmental Law Association.