North American ice service collaborative agreement

Official title: North American Ice Service Collaborative Agreement - Annex One to the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Department of Commerce United States of America and the Department of the Environment Canada for Collaboration on Weather, Climate and Other Earth Systems for the Enhancement of Health, Safety and Economic Prosperity

Subject category:
Type of agreement / instrument:
Canada - United States
Cooperative Arrangement
  • Signed by Canada June 15, 2010
  • Ratified by Canada
  • In force in Canada
  • In force internationally until June 2030 or upon Expiry of ECCC-NOAA MOU, whichever occurs first
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
February 2022
Reference #:

Plain language summary

This agreement between Canada and the United States was established in part to develop collaborative systems and data exchanges between the two countries as it relates to providing ice information to relevant parties in each country. The specific focus of this agreement is on providing ice information in North America for users that navigate bodies of water that may contain ice and need accurate and up-to-date information to ensure their safe and efficient passage in and around the ice. Common areas of interest for both parties include the Great Lakes, the northwest Atlantic and the Bering Strait. The Canadian Ice Service, the United Stated National Ice Center and the International Ice Patrol work closely together in order to provide this accurate and coordinated maritime safety information in a timely manner.


The objective of this agreement is to outline the responsibilities for North American collaboration on weather, climate and other earth systems between the U.S. National Ice Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard; the Canadian Ice Service of the Meteorological Service of Canada; and the International Ice Patrol of the U.S. Coast Guard in the integrated North American Ice Service (NAIS).

Key elements

Elements include:

  • Common, seamless set of core North American and international products for NAIS clients;
  • Location independence for co-production of core products;
  • Common data formats to ensure seamless production of services  and their dissemination;
  • Single point-of-entry for products and services.

Expected results

This agreement is expected to achieve a harmonized suite of products and services for ice information for North American and adjacent international waters to serve the needs of users for safe navigation and decision making when ice hazards are present.

Canada’s involvement

This agreement is important to Canada because by integrating the expertise and capabilities of all partners, there are improvements and efficiencies in providing ice information for North America.

This agreement is implemented in Canada by Directors of the three Ice Centres, who are responsible for the co-management and operation of the NAIS, with oversight from the Program Coordination Committee, reporting to the ECCC-NOAA MOU Cooperation Steering Committee, supported by Technical Committees and a Working Group.

Results / progress


Canada’s cooperates with the other two parties under this Agreement in the areas of:

  • data acquisition, access and exchange;
  • the preparation and dissemination of products and services;
  • business continuity for all participants;
  • training and personnel exchange;
  • systems development; and
  • science and applications development.

This Annex has been updated to include more modern terms and reflect practices that have changed over the past 10 years as part of the 2020 renewal.


Reports on the activities of the NAIS are provided to the ECCC-NOAA Cooperation Steering Committee.


This integrated service combines the strengths of the existing centres with the intended result of seamless products of high quality and consistency.

Ice and iceberg charts and bulletins are provided in joint areas of interest. These areas include the Great Lakes and Bering Strait for ice conditions and the Newfoundland and Labrador coast including portions of the northwest Atlantic for iceberg information. Satellite imagery is shared as much as possible in order to ensure a common knowledge of the ice conditions.

This partnership strengthens each service by allowing free sharing of ideas, procedures, co-production and knowledge, as well as being able to take advantage of each other's strengths.

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