Government of Canada partnering with Indigenous coastal communities to enhance marine safety across Inuit Nunangat 

News release

July 21, 2021

Iqaluit, NU - Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous coastal communities to improve marine safety. As part of this plan, in 2017 the Canadian Coast Guard launched the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program. This program provides Indigenous communities with funding to purchase boats and equipment to build up their on-water search and rescue capacity. These investments allow Indigenous communities to take concrete steps to strengthen their capacity as part of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Today, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced funding for six communities within Inuit Nunangat that are receiving funding under the fourth year of the program, including: Aivilik Marine Search and Rescue Society, Sanirajak Search and Rescue Society, Igloolik Marine Society, and Aklavik Search and Rescue Society who are receiving funds to each purchase a boat, trailer and related equipment. Kugluktuk Marine Rescue will receive funding to buy materials to build a boat shelter foundation, and the Nunaturlik Land Holding Corporation of Kangiqsujuaq will receive funds for a boat, boat shelter, and related equipment.

A total of $1.5 million in funding has been provided to the communities. With the new equipment and training from the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, members are better equipped and prepared to respond to marine incidents, helping to enhance the safety of their communities and the surrounding waters and coasts. 

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is made up of six not for profit organizations with 4,000 volunteer members with access to over 1,000 boats that augment the Government of Canada's maritime search and rescue response capacity. The Canadian Coast Guard funds the Auxiliary through a contribution program totaling $7.7 million each year. The Auxiliary responds to approximately 25 per cent of maritime calls for assistance annually, providing an often life saving service.

The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national plan is creating a stronger marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.

Quotes

“Inuit Nunangat communities have been stewards of the Arctic marine environment for generations. The investments announced today through the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program empowers the communities to enhance their capabilities to provide a lifesaving service for mariners in their coastal waters and surrounding areas."

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Our government remains committed to working with Indigenous coastal communities to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Today’s funding announcement expands the marine search and rescue capabilities of six Inuit Nunangat communities, ensuring that marine shipping and coastal environments are safer now than ever before.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“Funding to support marine search and rescue missions by communities in Inuit Nunangat will enable them to keep people safe and protect their coastlines. Through programs like the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, our government is working to support Inuit partners in their efforts to enhance water safety and emergency response.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs

“Inuit have long provided local emergency response, often at great risk and personal cost. The investments announced today demonstrate a new commitment to begin bridging the gap between Canadian Coast Guard operations in Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada. These projects respond to community needs and support continued marine safety. This partnership strengthens capacity in Inuit Nunangat, and envisions a more equitable partnership between Inuit Nunangat and the Canadian Coast Guard.”

Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Quick facts

  • The funding for the six communities is broken down as follows:

    • Kugluktuk Marine Rescue , Nunavut: $17,440 to purchase materials to build a boat shelter foundation
    • Aivilik Marine Search and Rescue Society, Nunavut: $323,526 to purchase a boat, trailer and related equipment
    • Sanirajak Search and Rescue Society, Nunavut: $264,618 to purchase a  boat, trailer and related equipment
    • Igloolik Marine Society, Nunavut: $320,765 to purchase a boat, trailer and related equipment
    • Aklavik Search and Rescue Society, Northwest Territories: $245,202 to purchase a boat, trailer and related equipment
    • Nunaturlik Land Holding Corporation of Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec: $331,000 to purchase a boat, boat shelter and related equipment
  • In total, under the fourth year of the Indigenous Community Boats Volunteer Pilot Program, 14 communities have received $3.5 million in funding. The other communities receiving funding are the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, Innu Nation, Yellowknife Marine Rescue, Whitefish River First Nation, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Quatsino First Nation, Heiltsuk First Nation and Kitasoo/Xai'sais Nation.

  • As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is partnering with Indigenous and coastal communities to ensure the marine safety system meets the unique needs of people on all coasts.

  • The boats and other equipment bought under this program meet the standards of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and Transport Canada.

  • Since the launch of the Oceans Protection Plan over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span coast-to-coast-to-coast.

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Contacts

Olivia McMackin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-571-9193
Olivia.Mcmackin@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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