About the Legal Challenge

This legal challenge at the Supreme Court of Canada comes as a response to the failure of the Canadian government to properly consult Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (COTTFN) for Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal project. Despite the community’s objections, including intervening at the National Energy Board hearings, the Canadian government allowed the project to go ahead, breaching their duty towards Indigenous nations as outlined in treaties and affirmed in the Canadian Charter.

The first hearing of the case at the Canadian Federal Court of Appeals resulted in a ruling against COTTFN, but generated a strong dissenting opinion in the 2-1 decision. With this, COTTFN applied to the SCC to challenge this ruling, and were granted “leave to appeal. As COTTFN is bringing this challenge forward, Clyde River Inuit have launched a similar legal challenge regarding seismic blast testing in waters near their community. COTTFN and Clyde River have joined together to prepare a legal argument for the necessity and nature of consultation and consent. Proceedings will start in late-November 2016.

Supreme Court of Canada Docket Page:


Chippewas of the Thames Factum for the Line 9 case before the Supreme Court of Canada:


Defending Deshkaan Ziibi: Challenging the Line 9 Pipeline (from Jadis on Vimeo.)


Potential Impacts

The impacts of this legal challenge reach further than the terminus of Line 9. This case is a challenge of a fundamental aspect of the Canadian government’s approach to land use and resource extraction, which reflects Canada's colonial establishment. Canada has a long history of ignoring its treaty responsibilities, and treating consultation as a checkbox that can be fulfilled by informing a community of the operations already in motion on their land. Under treaty, Canada has a duty to meaningfully consult with Indigenous communities, and a victory in this case could hold Canada accountable to this obligation in future projects. The COTTFN challenge also insists that the duty to consult is a responsibility of the federal government, and cannot be delegated to a third party like the NEB.



The hearing for this challenge also comes on the heels of Canada’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada long resisted implementing its responsibilities to uphold the rights outlined in the UNDRIP, but has now made at least a theoretical commitment to act. This challenge could move Canada to enact its duty to consult and respect the right to free, prior, and informed consent. In implementing a responsibility under the UNDRIP, Canada can also begin to rectify its global image, which is tarnished by its disrespect for international agreements.


About the Line 9 Pipeline 

Line 9 is a 39-year-old pipeline owned by energy giant Enbridge. In late 2015, despite the documented lack of consultation with impacted Indigenous communities, the company received final approval to push diluted tar sands bitumen and Bakken fracked oil through the pipeline, which threatens life around and downstream from the pipeline. This involves reversing the flow through the pipeline (so that it flows from west to east, rather than east to west) and increasing the pressure at which the oil mixture is pumped through the pipeline.


Throughout its history, the line 9 pipeline transported light crude oil between Montreal, Quebec, and Sarnia, Ontario. While in operation, it has suffered more than 2 major incidents a year, with toxic compounds flowing into nearby watersheds.  The pipeline runs through hundreds of communities, the territories of many Indigenous nations, and dozens of watersheds, including Deshkaan Ziibi (Thames River) and the Grand River.

Reports on the Line 9 Pipeline 

Cover Page for Line 9: Not Worth The Risk report Cover Page for Economics of transporting and processing tar_sands crudes in Quebec
Not Worth The Risk - A Community Report on the Line 9 National Energy Board Hearings. A detailed report on the Line 9 pipeline reversal project was created based on the presentations to the National Energy Board and additional studies.
Read the Full Report(.pdf)
A report by The Goodman Group consulting firm reveals that the Energy East pipeline, the reversal of Line 9, and the refining of tar sands bitumen in Montreal, would provide negligible economic benefits to Quebec, but could cost billions of dollars if there were a pipeline spill.
Read the Full Report.
 Chippewas of the Thames First Nations Line 9 Supreme Court Factum  Accufacts Line 9 Safety Report
Chippewas of the Thames Factum for the Line 9 case before the Supreme Court of Canada
Read Factum
A report compiled by consulting firm Accufacts ahead of the National Energy Board Hearings for Line 9
Read Full Report


To view an interactive map of the line 9 pipeline in google maps -click here-


About Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

For More information on Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Visit CoTTFN.com

From CoTTFN.com:

"Welcome! we are the Anishinaabeg of the territory of Deshkaan Ziibing, also known as Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. We call ourselves Anishinabek which means the original people. We are known as the Ojibway, which are a band of the Algonquin language family who originally migrated to the Great Lakes area from the north-eastern region of North America. Our political alliances are with the Odawa (Ottawa) and Bodaywadami (Pottawatomi) who together form the Three Fires Confederacy.

We are a forward thinking nation with a strong grasp of our traditional values. Through culture, heritage and continued education we are working towards a better future and towards being a self-governing First Nation. We are located on the north bank of the Thames River approximately 20 km southwest of London, Ontario. The majority of Southwestern Ontario is our modern traditional territory.


-Chief White-Eye



About the Campaign

 What are funds required for?

Donations will be used to cover the costs of research, legal argument writing, travel, and attendant costs such as court filing fees.

Will $25 help?

Every little bit helps. The success of this campaign will rely on thousands of contributions of all sizes and all contributions are appreciated.

Where does the money go?

ALL funds (minus processing fees associated with online donations) will directly flow to the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. In the event of surplus funds (help us get there!), donations will help to fund COTTFN’s Duty to Consult protocol establishment, which will engage government and corporate entities in following proper protocol.

Who is Behind the the ChippewasSolidarity.org Fundraising Campaign?

ChippewasSolidarity.org is a grassroots organisation formed to support Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in their efforts to see their treaty and constitutional rights upheld.  We work in collaboration and with direction from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.http://cottfn.com/



Timeline of selected events

July 2016 - COTTFN Releases Factum on Appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

2016 - March 10: COTTFN granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

2016 - February: COTTFN and Clyde River Inuit decide to collaborate in their respective challenges to the NEB's understanding of consultation and consent. The Clyde River Inuit have challenged the NEB's decision to allow seismic blast testing in coastal waters.

2016 - January 6: After running the 830km length of line 9, Rachel Thevenard arrives in Montreal. Check the facebook page for the Run Against Line 9 for continued information about the run.

2015 - December 4: Activist Rachel Thevenard beings the "Run Against Line 9", departing from the western terminus of line 9 near Aamjiwnaang. See highlights from the run on the twitter feed

2015 - December 3: Having obtained the official leave to open from the NEB, Enbridge starts pushing oil through line 9.

2015 – December:  Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in Assembly pass a resolution to support COTTFN leave to appeal to the Supreme Court

2015 - November: Chiefs of Ontario Chiefs in Assembly pass a resolution to support COTTFN leave to appeal to the Supreme Court

2015 – November: Anishinabek Nation Chiefs in Assembly pass a resolution to support COTTFN leave to appeal to the Supreme Court

2015 - November 13: Enbridge Ground Control Plan submitted to NEB

Will this be adequate? we invite comments, send responses to info@cottfn.com – the plan here; https://docs.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/llisapi.dll/fetch/2000/90464/90552/92263/790736/890819/2432299/2857418/A73957-2_Condition_4a_-_Ground_Patrol_Plan_-_A4V4J3.pdf?nodeid=2856919&vernum=-2

2015 - October 20: Federal Court of Appeal Decision to Dismiss  –  see the decision here: http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/fca-caf/decisions/en/item/126322/index.do

2015 - June 18: NEB announces hydrostatic testing required on Enbridge Line 9B before operation. http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=tp&crtr.page=1&nid=988529&crtr.tp1D=1

June - 2015 16: The federal court of appeal hears the case brought against line 9 by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

2015 - June 3: National Energy Board’s Decision to Dismiss the Stay Application – see here

2015 - May 21: COTTFN applies for stay of Line 9 decision pending the outcome of their appeal. https://docs.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/llisapi.dll?func=ll&objId=2777487&objAction=browse&viewType=1

2015 - February 06: The NEB imposes additional obligations for Enbridge’s Line 9, approves two conditions. http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/bts/nws/nr/2015/nr09-eng.html

December 2014 - COTTFN Releases Memorandum on Fact and Law to Federal Court of Appeal

2014 - June 10: COTTFN won motion to appeal the National Energy Board Decision of the controversial line 9 pipeline reversal project.

2014 - April 9: Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Launches Legal Battle Against Line 9 Process and Decision.

2014 - March 6: NEB approves Line 9B Project with conditions. http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/bts/nws/nr/archive/2014/nr10-eng.html

2013 - October 16: NEB Hearings start in Toronto,COTTFN present their intervention.

2012 - November 29: Enbridge applies for the Line 9b reversal project. https://docs.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/llisapi.dll?_gc_lang=en&func=ll&objId=890819&objAction=browse&sort=-name


Links to selected organisations and resources

Chippewas Solidarity is on Twitter:@ChippewasLine9, Facebook, and Instagram: @chippewassolidarity

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
We are the Anishinaabeg of the territory of Deshkaan Ziibing, also known as Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.
Twitter: @OfficialCottfn

Departing Aamjiwnaang on December 4th 2015, and arriving in Montreal January 6th 2016, Rachel Thevenard ran the 830km length of the Line 9 pipeline, to raise awareness over the dangers posed by the pipeline itself, as well as the lack of consultation with the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
Facebook: RunAgainstLine9

Waterloo Region Against Line 9
A grassroots coalition based in Waterloo Region, with 25 affiliated organisations.
Facebook: NoLine9WR

Rising Tide Toronto
Rising Tide Toronto is a grassroots collective that challenges environmental injustice and root causes of climate change on Turtle Island through direct action.
Facebook: RisingTideToronto

Divest Waterloo
Divest Waterloo exists to initiate, inspire, and support fossil fuel divestment campaigns across the region—and reinvesting in positive solutions to climate change.
Facebook: DivestWR

Line 9 Communities
Oil Pipeline Awareness and Discussion
Twitter: @L9Communites

Coule Pas Chez Nous
La Fondation mobilise la population et les acteurs politiques dans le but de les informer et de les inciter à poser les actes requis par tous les projets de transport de pétrole non conventionnel, que ce soit par oléoduc, train ou navireciterne, dans les cas où ceux-ci risquent de toucher l'ensemble des enjeux de sécurité publique, de qualité de vie et de viabilité des écosystèmes.
Twitter: @Coulepascheznous

Clyde River - Save the Arctic
Help #savethearctic from oil drilling, industrial fishing & conflict.
Twitter: @savethearctic