Statement by Minister Garneau on Line 5 transit pipeline


October 4, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

Canada is firmly committed to ensuring its energy and economic security while protecting the environment for future generations. This includes working with the United States to improve the health of the Great Lakes. For more than 65 years, Line 5 has been the safest way to transport Canadian hydrocarbons from western Canada to central Canada, helping provide energy that is essential for heating homes and powering Canada’s economy.

In response to Michigan’s efforts to shut down Line 5, Canada has raised its significance for Canadian economic and energy security at the highest levels of the U.S. federal government. We have also stressed the importance of fully respecting and implementing the international agreements that are in place between our two countries.

Line 5 is governed by the provisions of the 1977 Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Transit Pipelines, which guarantees the uninterrupted transit of light crude oil and natural gas liquids between the two countries. Today, Canada is formally invoking the dispute settlement provision of the 1977 Agreement to ensure its full application.

Furthermore, Canada supports Enbridge’s plan to replace the existing pipeline with the proposed Great Lakes Tunnel Project, which will run far below the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac, to further protect the Great Lakes.

Efforts to ensure the continued safe operation of Line 5 will be made in close collaboration with the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, as well as with Canadian industry and labour sectors.

Quick facts

  • Line 5 is a pipeline that transports hydrocarbons from Western Canada to Central Canada through the United States. It is a critical piece of energy infrastructure, which has safely carried light crude oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac—which connect Lake Michigan to Lake Huron—for more than 65 years.
  • Line 5 remains the safest and most efficient way to transport hydrocarbons from western Canada to refineries and markets located in Quebec and Ontario, including to the Sarnia-Lambton Petrochemical and Refining Complex. Line 5 provides refineries and markets with a stable and reliable source of energy.
  • On November 13, 2020, the Office of the Governor of the State of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources issued a Notice of Revocation and Termination of Easement with the intended effect of permanently shutting down Line 5. This notice is currently the subject of a legal dispute in U.S. courts between Michigan and Enbridge.
  • The 1977 Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Transit Pipelines prohibits measures that are intended to impede, divert, redirect or interfere with crude oils or natural gas liquids moving through transit pipelines, such as Line 5, or that would have that effect.

Associated links


Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Media Relations Office

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