Environmental science centres across Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada conducts science and technology activities at facilities across the country, each with specialized analytical support. Research and monitoring programs are carried out in every region.

Find out about facilities and laboratories across Canada.

Alberta

Northern Forestry Centre (Edmonton, AB)

NRCan’s Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, home to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Prairie Northern Laboratory for Environmental Testing (PNLET), provides ISO 17025 chemical and toxicological analyses in support of ECCC programs supporting the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the Fisheries Act (FA) and the Migratory Bird Convention Act.

Staffed by 25 scientific and technical personnel, PNLET’s laboratories are equipped to conduct a wide variety of physical property, inorganic, organic and toxicological analyses on environmental samples and articles of commerce. Serving as ECCC’s centre of analytical expertise for several CEPA and FA regulations, PNLET provides testing and technical advice to Wildlife and Environmental Enforcement officers, assisting in regulation development, compliance and investigative activities.  

Northern Forestry Centre

National Laboratory for Hydrometeorology and Arctic Meteorology (Edmonton, AB)

The National Laboratory for Hydrometeorology and Arctic Meteorology was formed in 2004. The lab’s mission is to provide improved scientific understanding and prediction of high-impact weather, primarily focussing on prediction of hydro-meteorological and northern latitude weather phenomena and processes. The lab is co-located with the Environment and Climate Change Canada Storm Prediction Centre in Edmonton, and has satellite offices in Saskatoon at the National Hydrology Research Centre and the Storm Prediction Centre in Winnipeg. Outputs include applied research to address forecasting issues identified in the Department and facilitation of technology transfer of science results into the operational weather forecasting program.

British Columbia

Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (Victoria, BC)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) is located at the University of Victoria. Its purpose is to develop and apply sophisticated global and regional climate models to make quantitative projections of future climate in Canada and globally, and to improve understanding of climate variability and change. It is also the developer of ECCC’s Seasonal to Interannual Prediction System which provides climate forecasts over Canada on timescales of months to years.

CCCma is:

  • A centre of expertise that is recognized internationally as a leader in the modelling and analysis of climate variability and change.
  • A substantial contributor to many international climate research assessments and initiatives, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
  • A partner in a range of climate-related research networks with universities across Canada, which build on its core expertise and infrastructure to improve understanding and projections of climate change.
  • A provider of data widely used to analyze climate change impacts, inform adaptation planning, and support policy decisions. Data and models are available online.

 

Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis
 

Douglas Jung Building (Vancouver, BC)

Located in downtown Vancouver, the Douglas Jung Building houses both Environment and Climate Change Canada’s and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ offices. The site supports a number of Departmental business lines, the executive offices of the region, and a 24/7 weather operation. Science and technology activities at the site include freshwater quality monitoring and surveillance, marine water quality monitoring, and Canadian Environmental Protection Act Substances Risk Assessment.

 

Douglas Jung Building

Pacific and Yukon Region National Lab for Coastal and Mountain Meteorology (Vancouver, BC)

The National Laboratory for Coastal and Mountain Meteorology was formed in 2004. The lab’s mission is to provide improved scientific understanding and prediction of high-impact weather, primarily focussing on prediction of weather phenomena in coastal and mountainous environments. The lab is co-located with the Environment and Climate Change Canada Storm Prediction Centre in Vancouver. Outputs include applied research to address forecasting issues identified in the Department and facilitation of technology transfer of science results into the operational weather forecasting program.

 

Pacific Environmental Science Centre (Vancouver, BC)

Established in 2005, the Pacific Environmental Science Centre (PESC), located on a 55-acre urban conservation area on Burrard Inlet in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, accommodates 50 full-time ECCC engineers, chemists, biologists and supporting technical and administrative staff.

The Pacific Yukon Laboratory for Environmental Testing (PYLET) has specialized laboratory facilities providing chemical, biological, toxicological and toxicogenomic analysis in support of many departmental programs, enabling ECCC to meet its obligations under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and Fisheries Act.

Accredited to ISO 17025 standards, PYLET’s laboratories provide scientific data to support ECCC freshwater quality monitoring programs and legal laboratory services to support wildlife and environmental enforcement related investigations. PYLET supports emerging priorities through development and application of methods for chemical analysis. 

PYLET’s Toxicology unit, equipped to house both freshwater and marine water organisms and conduct associated bioassays, is ECCC’s hub for aquatic toxicogenomic activities, including the development of methods for the application of gene expression to deleterious effects in aquatic life. Specialized equipment including quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (QT-PCR) and DNA sequencing equipment enable DNA identification of botanical and wildlife species in support of wildlife forensic projects.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Marine Water Quality Monitoring staff located at PESC are responsible for coordinating and conducting marine water quality monitoring surveys in British Columbia. Four ISO 17025 microbiology laboratories, including one main laboratory at PESC and three mobile laboratories are used to process samples in support of ECCC’s mandate under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program. Through conduct of comprehensive water quality surveys, monitoring of marine water quality in shellfish harvesting areas, and identification of sources of pollution that can impact harvest areas, recommendations are made to contribute directly to the wellbeing of Canadians by protecting public health.

 

Pacific Environmental Science Centre

Pacific Wildlife Research Centre (Delta, BC)

The Pacific Wildlife Research Centre is located on the Alaksen National Wildlife Area (NWA). It is near the shore of the Fraser River, just south of the city of Richmond. The Alaksen NWA provides sanctuary for wintering waterfowl, including lesser snow geese, and for migratory songbirds.

The Alaksen NWA forms part of a network of locally recognized, protected conservation areas that include the British Columbia Wildlife Management Areas, Important Bird Areas, and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site. These special conservation areas were designed to protect and manage the Fraser River Estuary - a unique, threatened landscape on Canada’s rugged west coast. The Estuary is a valued ecological feature of the Fraser River delta, and has a Ramsar site designation as a Wetland of International Importance.

The staff of the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Wildlife and Landscape Science Directorate (WLSD) are housed in the Pacific Wildlife Research Centre. This facility is located on Westham Island, where a number of private farms operate. Both CWS and WLSD assist in managing this working farm landscape for the benefit of wintering wildlife.

 

Pacific Wildlife Research Centre

Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre (Victoria, BC)

The Water and Climate Research Centre (W-CIRC) located at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC, was established in 2002 as the result of a collaborative arrangement between ECCC and the University to enhance research assessing the impacts of climate change/variability on Canadian water resources.

The Centre, including eight ECCC scientists and technical staff, as well as several post-doctoral fellows and graduate students, operates field and modelling laboratories enabling the measurement and assessment of various hydrologic, hydro-climatic, and ecologic parameters in Canadian rivers and lakes with a focus on the Canadian North. This information enables the development of indicators to climate change/variability and the prediction of trends in aquatic systems sensitive to hydroclimatic extremes and variability.

Results are then used to inform adaptation strategies to help manage systems affected by these changes/variations. Advanced modelling systems enable Centre scientists to demonstrate how climate change/variability affects hydrologic, geochemical and ecological processes at local, regional and international scales. W-CIRC research provides key information in support of ECCC’s mandate to support environmental sustainability.

Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre
Newfoundland and Labrador

Marine Water Quality Monitoring Microbiology Laboratory (Grand Falls, NL)

Located in Grand Falls, NL, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s ISO/IEC 17025-accredited microbiology laboratory facility, although mobile in the form of a 16-metre trailer, serves as the permanent base for Marine Water Quality Monitoring field activities in Newfoundland. Operating from early spring through the fall, three scientific staff conduct field surveys and laboratory analysis in support of ECCC’s responsibilities under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program.

Marine Water Quality Monitoring Microbiology Laboratory
New Brunswick

Canadian Wildlife Service Office (Sackville, NB)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s office in Sackville, New Brunswick, is beside the Tantramar Marshes and close to many productive wildlife habitats such as freshwater and coastal marshes, tidal mudflats, lakes and Acadian Forest woodlands. The region is an important stopover for migratory birds on the Atlantic Flyway, nestled between the Bay of Fundy and Northumberland Strait. Many waterbirds and shorebirds concentrate in ECCC’s nearby National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, and gather in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site in the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy.

The office is adjacent to the educational Sackville Waterfowl Park and serves as a hub for wildlife research and monitoring by ECCC staff, and partners from Bird Studies Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and nearby universities. Ongoing field studies throughout this area include research and monitoring of resident shorebird and northern sandpiper migrants, seabird monitoring at Bay of Fundy colonies and at sea, science support for  habitat wetland conservation at nearby protected areas, waterfowl banding programs using airboats and bait stations, and landbird monitoring and research with a focus on declining populations of swallows and other aerial insectivorous birds.

Atlantic Environmental Science Centre (Moncton, NB)

The Atlantic Environmental Science Centre (AESC), situated at the Université de Moncton in Moncton, New Brunswick, accommodates 35 ECCC scientific, technical and administrative staff. 

AESC has specialized laboratory facilities which are occupied by ECCC’s Atlantic Laboratory for Environmental Testing (ALET) which provides ISO 17025 chemical and toxicological analysis to help ECCC meet its obligations under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the Migratory Bird Convention Act.

The Laboratory provides analysis of metals, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and oil matching/identification for environmental research and monitoring, as well as for ECCC Enforcement Officers conducting forensic investigations. ALET supports research into the toxic effects and environmental fate of pesticides used in agriculture, forestry and aquacultures. ALET also measures the harmful effects resulting from exposures to chemical substances for freshwater, estuarine and salt water organisms. Specialized equipment enables studies on the genetic effects of toxicants.

Freshwater quality monitoring and surveillance in Atlantic rivers and lakes are undertaken in cooperation with multiple federal and provincial partners in support of the Canada Water Act. Real-time automated monitoring instruments and logistical field equipment are deployed to enable collection of water and invertebrate samples primarily in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. 

Scientific data collected provides critical information in the development of Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators and to studies in support of the Government of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan and the Atlantic coastal biomonitoring program based on ECCC’s Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN).   

AESC is home to one of three ECCC Marine Water Quality Monitoring ISO 17025 accredited microbiology laboratories in the Atlantic region. The laboratory’s primary role is to support ECCC’s mandate under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP), delivered jointly with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. ECCC’s key role in the CSSP is to assess the suitability of shellfish growing areas.

Atlantic Environmental Science Centre

Watershed Science Bioassessment Centre (Fredericton, NB)

ECCC’s Watershed Science Bioassessment Centre (WSBC), located at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has developed an interdisciplinary aquatic research team in association with the Canadian Rivers Institute. Five ECCC staff scientists, 15 post-doctoral research fellows and students focus on the development of analytical tools and predictive models for the assessment of cumulative impacts and risks to aquatic ecosystems, and to improve biomonitoring and ecological risk assessment approaches.

WSBC’s specialized facilities include controlled-environment experimental chambers and an outdoor artificial stream mesocosm system that enable the development of biodiversity monitoring programs for the Canadian Artic, boreal forest wetlands and oil sands regions. State-of-the-art invertebrate and trait-based analytical laboratories provide science support to the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN). DNA “Biomonitoring 2.0” sample processing capabilities have enabled the development of new biomonitoring tools for the Alberta Oils Sands regions as well as cumulative effects approaches for agricultural landscapes including the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative.

Watershed Science Bioassessment Centre
Nova Scotia

Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre (Dartmouth, NS)

The Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre (ASPC) provides timely and accurate weather forecasts, warnings and information to the residents of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Iles de la Madeleine. The Centre is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to reduce risks to Atlantic Canadians from high-impact weather and other weather related environmental hazards. The Centre is also responsible for an air quality forecast program and the marine and sea state forecasts for the maritime waters out to the 200 mile limit, including most of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In addition to forecasting, staff is also responsible for the operation of the equipment used to disseminate these forecasts and warnings.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) is co-located with the ASPC. During the hurricane season forecasters carefully monitor all storms of tropical origin. When a storm begins to threaten Canadian waters or land, specially trained meteorologists in the CHC track the tropical storms and provide guidance to other Canadian storm prediction centres.

Some highlights of the ASPC include:

  • The ASPC lends weather support to emergency response personnel during emergencies, whether on land or at sea.
  • Forecasters at the centre work with many tools and technologies including: Doppler weather radars, weather satellites, observations from a network of upper atmosphere and surface monitors, a network of offshore weather buoys, ship reports, volunteer reports and a variety of computer model output.
  • The cornerstone of the CHC is a workstation using a multitasking, X-Window environment providing the meteorologist with simultaneous displays of satellite imagery, numerical guidance, forecast bulletins, and observational data from around the world. The software program, Hurricane Forecasting Graphical Interface (HURR), enables the forecaster to view historical and real-time tropical cyclone information, plot data, construct storm tracks, and translate track data into text bulletin.

Centre for Marine Environmental Prediction (Halifax, NS)

The Centre for Marine Environmental Prediction (CMEP) began in 1998 as an idea shared by principal investigators from the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 

Initial endorsement of CMEP came from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation in 2001 with an award that enabled establishment of the Marine Environmental Prediction System (MEPS) infrastructure. Concurrently, Dalhousie University initiated a strategic and highly successful program of recruitment, including the establishment of three Canada Research Chairs in CMEP. Innovative and well-funded research activity accelerated rapidly, multidisciplinary networks of researchers have been established and expanded, and new technologies developed by partners in industry are reaching national and international markets.

The mission of CMEP is to:

  • Develop new technologies for observation, prediction and visualization of the marine environment
  • Test the new technologies in the real world
  • Transfer Technology
  • Train highly qualified personnel
  • Educate the public   
Centre for Marine Environmental Prediction

Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Dartmouth, NS)

Co-located at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada, and the Department of National Defence, ECCC’s Marine Water Quality Monitoring group operates one of three ISO17025 accredited microbiology laboratories in the Atlantic region. Four scientific staff conduct field sampling in support of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program delivered in cooperation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Laboratory analysis is performed on collected samples to assist in the assessment of the suitability of shellfish growing areas.   

Bedford Institute of Oceanography

National Laboratory for Marine and Coastal Meteorology (Dartmouth, NS)

The National Laboratory for Marine and Coastal Meteorology was formed in 2004. It is one of six Environment and Climate Change Canada laboratories focussing on meteorological research and is co-located with the Environment and Climate Change Canada Storm Prediction Centre in Dartmouth. Its mission is to provide improved scientific understanding and prediction of high-impact meteorology in marine and coastal environments in Canada.

The Laboratory evolved out of the 1998 Atlantic Environmental Prediction Research Initiative, which increased meteorological research capacity across Canada by following a strategy of multidisciplinary research through collaborations with universities and other partners.

Scientific goals include:

  • Improved prediction of meteorological phenomena associated with tropical and extra-tropical systems
  • Improved prediction of high-impact marine and coastal weather events on sub-synoptic spatial scales
  • Increased physical understanding of ocean-atmosphere interactions

The Laboratory provides research to address scientific issues among ECCC's Storm Prediction Centres and to facilitate technology transfer into operations for improved service to Canadians.

Nunavut

Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (Eureka, NU)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), in Eureka, Nunavut (80N, 86W), is located in Canada’s high Arctic. The facility enables the undertaking of a wide range of collaborative Arctic atmospheric and climate science studies led by the Canadian university community.

Since there are a great many overpasses by polar orbiting satellites at Eureka, the laboratory’s location makes it especially useful for validating Earth observations measured from space. An example of such a satellite is the Canadian SCISAT/Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment, which was launched in 2003. PEARL is part of the International Arctic Systems for Observation of the Atmosphere, whose objective is to produce a legacy of continuous Arctic observations. PEARL is also one of ten circumpolar Arctic observing sites that make up the ground-based Arctic observing systems.

Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory

Dr. Neil Trivett Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory ("Alert Observatory") (Alert, NU)

The Alert World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Observatory is the most northerly site in the global network, located on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. It serves as an official GAW greenhouse gas inter-comparison site.

GAW is both a research and a monitoring program with a long-term commitment (50-100 years) to the global community to provide atmospheric measurements for climate, air toxics, stratospheric ozone and air quality. The first carbon dioxide sample was made in 1975. As part of the WMO’s atmospheric monitoring program, the Alert Observatory’s long historical record is unique and is, therefore, a key element of the Global Climate Observing System.

Highlights of the facility include:

  • Alert is a sentinel site for characterizing the impact of northern hemisphere human impact on the Arctic atmosphere and ecosystems.
  • Alert is a key site for Arctic atmospheric process studies, which have led to improved understanding of Arctic haze, important chemical interactions of pollutants with snow surfaces (surface depletions of mercury and ozone), emerging air toxics (flame retardant chemicals), changing global greenhouse gas emissions and the magnitude of long range transport of pollutants from the Northern hemisphere (e.g., metals, black carbon).
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada supports the Observatory for its own science programs and international collaborations. It provides an extensive suite of state-of-the-art atmospheric composition and radiation measurements to improve understanding of natural biogeochemical cycles and the human impact on the Arctic environment.
Dr. Neil Trivett Global Atmospher Watch Observatory ("Alert Observatory")
Ontario

4905 Dufferin Street (Toronto, ON)

The ECCC building at 4905 Dufferin Street in Toronto, Ontario has served as a focal point for meteorology and atmospheric science in Canada for more than 35 years. It currently houses staff from several areas of ECCC including the Science and Technology Branch, Meteorological Service of Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service.

This has been the home of a large portion of the Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate (ASTD) and its predecessors since 1971. Currently, ASTD staff and laboratories engaged in research on air quality, climate change, meteorology and impacts and adaptation, and staff of the Science and Risk Assessment Directorate in atmospheric science assessment and integration are located here. With more than 210 staff, ASTD has the largest staff complement in the building’s total population of approximately 800, including atmospheric physicists and chemists, meteorologists, statisticians, mathematicians, physical geographers, climatologists, science-policy experts and scientific support staff.  An important, co-located national research facility is the Andrew Thomson Laboratory for atmospheric chemistry (on the right in the picture above).

Proximity to researchers and facilities at several universities, federal and provincial laboratories and field facilities in southern Ontario has made this area a hub for atmospheric research in Canada.

4905 Dufferin Street

Andrew Thomson Research Laboratories (Toronto, ON)

The Andrew Thomson Research Laboratory is home to a variety of ECCC research and monitoring programs. These programs result in scientific input about ECCC priority issues - including smog, acid deposition, climate change, and hazardous air pollutants/persistent organic pollutants.

The facility’s work supports various Government of Canada priority programs including the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda and the Chemicals Management Plan, as well as national and international activities, such as: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Northern Contaminants Program; the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement; the United Nations Environment Programme; the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program; the Canada-Alberta Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program; and the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Atmosphere Watch Program.

There are thirteen research and monitoring laboratories at the Andrew Thomson Research Laboratory. Its unique and specific capacities include:

  • The Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) laboratory, which specializes in the analysis of precipitation, air, and particulate matter (PM) samples collected at regionally representative sites across Canada. This contributes to the understanding and evaluation of the impacts and risks to ecosystems from acid deposition and assists with the assessment of the effectiveness of emission reduction programs.
  • The Organics Analysis Laboratory, the Hazardous Air Pollutants Laboratory, and the Mercury Research Laboratory, specializing in the analysis of substances including persistent organic pollutants, emerging commercial chemicals of concern and mercury. The labs also provide scientific information for assessing and managing risks that these substances may pose to sensitive ecosystems in Canada and globally, such as in the Great Lakes Basin and the Arctic.
  • Organic aerosol analysis laboratories, specializing in the measurement of organic compounds in atmospheric particles with advanced analytical tools, to support various air quality field programs.
  • Laboratories to measure aerosols (including black carbon) and improve our understanding of their fate and behaviour in the atmosphere. These pollutants are important in our understanding of urban and regional air quality, but also have an impact on the global climate system.
  • A greenhouse gas (GHG) laboratory that specializes in the measurement of atmospheric concentrations of GHGs (including carbon dioxide and methane) across Canada. This contributes to understanding of greenhouse gases across Canada, including regional-scale determination of major GHG sources and sinks.
Andrew Thomson Research Laboratories

Borden Forest Research Station (Borden, ON)

The Borden Forest Research Station was established in 1984 to conduct research on biosphere-atmosphere interactions. It is located 15 km northwest of the Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments at Egbert, on the grounds of Canadian Forces Base Borden. The research infrastructure at the site comprises a 42 m instrumented scaffolding tower and associated trailers and huts to house gas analyzers, data loggers, and computing equipment.

The station has been and continues to be used for forest-atmosphere exchange and pollutant deposition projects. Recognizing the important role forests may play in climate change, a long-term measurement program was initiated in 1995 to collect a continuous time series of carbon dioxide and energy fluxes, along with more than a hundred ancillary micrometeorological variables.

Borden Forest Research Station

Canada Centre for Inland Waters (Burlington, ON)

Established in 1967, the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) located in Burlington, Ontario, accommodates over 600 staff from ECCC, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

CCIW Aquatic Contaminant and Water Hydrology and Ecology scientific staff conduct field and laboratory activities aimed at better understanding and predicting the effects of contaminants and other substances on aquatic ecosystems. The sources, fate and impacts of nutrient and other contaminant loading from agricultural, land use change and municipal wastewater are studied in sediments, groundwater and surface waters.

Analytical methods for measuring compounds of emerging concern are developed and their properties studied to inform strategies for rehabilitation and conservation of lakes and other inland waters. Scientific staff at the Centre’s state-of-the-art Aquatic Life Research Facility develop and apply novel methods for assessing toxicity of compounds and mixtures to organisms and ecological communities. Remote sensing techniques enable assessments of water clarity and the presence of algal blooms while microbial source tracking and genomic tools provide information on microbial water quality. 

The Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Division reports on fresh water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay Watershed basins. Through systematic measurements of physical, chemical and biological conditions, temporal changes and emerging issues can be tracked and the results of remedial measures and regulatory decisions reported. 

ECCC’s National Laboratory for Environmental Testing delivers a broad range of specialized and ISO 17025 accredited chemical analysis with a specialization in trace metals and ultra-trace organics. Accredited as a proficiency testing and reference material provider, Quality Management services are delivered in direct support to ECCC programs. Supported by an ISO 17025 certified instrumentation laboratory, Technical Support personnel conduct national field sampling on land and water. 

CCIW research and monitoring activities support ECCC’s obligations under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and Fisheries Act through participation in government science programs including the Great Lakes Action Plan, the Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program, the Northern Contaminants Program and the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.

Canada Centre for Inland Waters

Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments (Egbert, ON)

The Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments (CARE) is a regionally representative site located in Egbert, Ontario. It provides the infrastructure for long-term atmospheric observation programs and intensive campaigns with national and international partners. CARE is the home of laboratories supporting ECCC programs, such as the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda and the Chemicals Management Plan. The site also serves as a platform for measurements of acid deposition, air quality, tropospheric ozone, greenhouse gases, and aerosols.

Highlights of the Centre include:

  • The Clean Air Building at CARE houses a large number of instruments used for air quality observations. The development and testing of new instruments is done here before they are used at field sites across Canada.
  • The Centre’s analytical laboratory facilities enable ECCC scientists to study the long-range transport of persistent organic pollutants. These studies enable us to understand the global nature of atmospheric pollutants, for example, how chemicals used in other countries are having an impact on the Canadian Arctic.
  • There is a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) facility at CARE that allows ECCC to develop and use instrumentation that vertically profiles the atmosphere by identifying particles, ozone, water vapour and temperatures.
  • CARE is a World Meteorological Organization Global Atmosphere Watch regional station for greenhouse gases and aerosols. Due to its location near Toronto, researchers can study the impact of urban populated regions and regional transport influences for all atmospheric issues.
  • ECCC carries out several climate measurement programs at CARE in support of research into land surface and atmospheric processes that influence climate system behaviour in Canada.
  • Research and testing of meteorological measurement systems is also carried out at CARE.
Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments

King City Weather Radar Station (King City, ON)

The King City weather radar station was formed in 1984. It is located north of Toronto along the Oak Ridges Moraine. It is a 16.45-ha site housing ECCC weather radar research scientists and staff.

The C-band Doppler radar, a central feature of the site, was modernized in 2004 to include dual polarization technology. It is used to provide data for weather forecasting, climate prediction research and satellite applications. Dual polarization technology provides weather forecasters with new information so they can more accurately identify, track, assess, and warn the public of high impact weather.

At this site, ECCC staff provide national leadership on radar meteorology research applications using weather radar for detection and short-term forecasting of high-impact weather events, quantitative precipitation estimation, and satellite validation.

King City Weather Radar Station

National Wildlife Research Centre (Ottawa, ON)

The National Wildlife Research Centre is the focal point for ECCC's knowledge and expertise for impacts of toxic substances on wild plants and animals, international migratory bird research and population surveys, and the health of wild species as indicative of environmental quality. The Centre also conducts landscape ecology research focused on studying natural and human-induced impacts on wildlife communities and ecosystems over time and space.

Highlights of this Centre include:

  • National Wildlife Specimen Bank, which represents a unique collection, dating from the late 1960s, of over 120,000 wildlife specimens from around Canada. These are used for retrospective temporal and spatial analyses of contaminants and their effects, including ecosystem (community) changes. This Bank is critical to Canada’s wildlife conservation and ecosystem management.
  • Greenhouse and growth chamber facilities for state-of-the-art chemical testing and plant testing guidelines development.
  • Accredited service and research laboratories for nanotoxicology, environmental chemistry and toxicology research, and State of the Environment monitoring - for the development of toxicogenomics markers and methods to allow rapid pertinent toxicity assessment.
  • National seabird, shorebird, and songbird research and monitoring operations.
  • A geomatics lab that specializes in the application of earth observation data combined with geospatial analysis to assess ecosystem services and wildlife habitat. 
  • Integrated population and habitat modelling approaches to identify critical habitat for species at risk.
National Wildlife Research Centre

National Lab for Nowcasting and Remote Sensing Meteorology (Toronto, ON)

The National Laboratory for Nowcasting and Remote Sensing Meteorology was formed in 2004. The lab’s mission is to provide improved scientific understanding and prediction of high-impact weather, primarily focussing on application of remote sensing observing instruments and short-term weather forecasting techniques for predicting weather phenomena. The lab is co-located with the ECCC Storm Prediction Centre in Toronto. Outputs include applied research to address forecasting issues identified in the Department and facilitation of technology transfer of science results into the operational weather forecasting program.

S&T Laboratories, 335 River Road (Ottawa, ON)

The 335 River Road laboratories are home to a number of research, monitoring and operational support programs. ECCC scientists undertake an assortment of work, providing valuable input in support of various ECCC mandates and priorities. Studies involve air quality, water and wildlife research. The labs work in support of ECCC priorities, such as the Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999, and ECCC’s Environmental Emergencies Program.

The following unique facilities and expertise found at the Centre include:

  • One of the world’s leading oil spill research laboratories, specializing in oil forensic analysis and the only scientific authority in Canada with expertise in oil spill treating agent research and evaluation. These laboratories section also undertake chemical spill research and development; provide scientific and operational field support teams for response to environmental emergencies; hazmat capability; leadership of the Canadian Safety and Security Program’s Chemical Community of Practice, and related security-focused science activities; as well as remote sensing expertise.
  • Testing facilities for vehicle, engine and equipment emissions. The capability ranges from small lawn mower engines to class 8 trucks at standard and cold temperatures; it is one of only two facilities of its kind in North America. The lab also has the capacity to characterize the emissions from mobile sources operating in the field-including ocean-going vessels, aircraft, locomotives and off-road construction equipment. Research activities are undertaken to enhance scientific capacity to inform decision-making and regulations regarding the impacts and effects of vehicles and engines using renewable fuels, different control technologies and propulsion systems under representative Canadian conditions.
  • A contaminant Level 2 Biosafety laboratory for soil toxicity research, involving risk group 2 pathogens.
  • It is the ECCC headquarters for the research and monitoring responsibilities for the federal/provincial/territorial air quality monitoring network at urban and rural sites. This is made possible by the use of technologies for continuously measuring criteria air pollutants: ozone (O3), nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and fine and coarse particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10, respectively). The laboratories are accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 international standard for laboratory quality assurance to determine trace contaminants: polycyclic aromatic compounds, heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and cadmium, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to smog formation.
S&T Laboratories, 335 River Road
Quebec

Biosphère (Montréal, QC)

An architectural symbol since Expo 67, the Biosphère is a unique and spectacular structure in the heart of Jean Drapeau Park on St. Helen Island.

The interpretation centre is open to the public and houses permanent and temporary exhibits and scientific animations, all enlivened with a healthy dose of fun. Through them, visitors gain a better understanding of major environmental issues - climate change, water and air quality, energy, extreme weather and sustainable development - and find practical everyday solutions to protect the environment.

Biosphère

Canadian Meteorological Centre (Dorval, QC)

The Canadian Meteorological Centre is home to environmental programs in weather, climate, and air quality, and expertise during environmental emergencies. It consolidates modeling and environmental prediction capability and professional development capacity at the national level, in order to foster effective science and technology transfer, greater innovation, and workforce training and development.

Facility highlights include:

  • The Canadian Meteorological Centre Operations, which is responsible for the 24/7 operations of the Meteorological Service of Canada’s automated analysis, prediction systems, the response to nuclear and technological releases of toxic material, volcanic ash and other health and safety operational response systems.
  • Data from Canada and the rest of the world, including space-based observations, are acquired in real time, processed and quality controlled and ingested at the Canadian Meteorological Centre.
  • Meteorologists, computer and physical scientists and engineers at the Centre work with researchers to develop and effectively operationalize new knowledge in the field to continuously improve Canada’s weather and environmental prediction systems. New technologies are transferred to internal systems and products, as well as external partners and end users (e.g., Nav Canada).
  • Training and career development to ensure the end-to-end provision of a competent and sustainable workforce, from national recruitment and training, career development, on-going learning and certification of employees.
  • The information generated at the Canadian Meteorological Centre provides the basis for dedicated forecasts serving the public, marine and aviation communities. Specialized data and products are also delivered to support operations for agencies, such as provincial governments, the Department of National Defence, and commercial end users.
  • Work related to weather forecasting and environmental prediction is dependent on the supercomputing capacity managed by Shared Services Canada.
Canadian Meteorological Centre

Centre St-Laurent (Montréal, QC)

Located in downtown Montréal, Québec, the Centre St-Laurent’s (CSL) administrative and specialized laboratory facilities are home to several federal government departments including ECCC.

Aquatic Contaminant and Water Hydrology and Ecology research and technical staff at CSL undertake laboratory and field activities which generate scientific data and related information aimed to improve knowledge of large river ecosystems. Studies on the impacts of human activities and climate variability on organisms, plant diversity and productivity inform regulatory decisions related to water discharge levels to the St. Lawrence, “species at risk” (Species at Risk Act) and the commercial fishing industry. The fate, bioavailability and stability of new and existing contaminants (e.g., pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials) in large river ecosystems are investigated using analytical tools and methods (e.g., genomics, biomarkers) which have been developed and evaluated by CSL staff. These studies enable an increased awareness of the multiple stress factors impacting large fluvial ecosystems.

Water quality monitoring surveys assessing the suitability of shellfish growing areas along Quebec’s north shore of the St. Lawrence River are coordinated and undertaken by CSL’s Marine Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance unit. These activities fulfill ECCC’s obligations under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program. Fresh Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance scientists report on water quality and aquatic ecosystem health in the St. Lawrence River based on regular monitoring of water, sediments, wetlands and benthic organisms. Focused studies inform and address environmental issues such as eutrophication of water bodies, and the presence of other toxic substances (e.g., metals, pesticides, and polychlorinated diphenylethers). 

Accredited to ISO 17025 international standards, ECCC’s Quebec Laboratory for Environmental Testing, provides chemical and toxicological analysis, scientific expertise and technical support to ECCC research and monitoring programs including the St. Lawrence Action Plan, Canadian Environmental Sustainability Index, Environmental and Wildlife Enforcement, Clean Air Regulatory Agenda and emerging priorities such as ECCC’s Chemical Management Plan. 

CSL science programs support ECCC’s responsibilities under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and the Fisheries Act.

Centre St-Laurent

National Laboratory for Severe Weather Meteorology (Montréal, QC)

The National Laboratory for Severe Weather Meteorology was formed in 2004. The lab’s mission is to provide improved scientific understanding and prediction of high-impact weather, primarily focussing on application of numerical weather prediction models for forecasting severe weather phenomena. The lab is co-located with the ECCC Storm Prediction Centre in Montreal. Outputs include applied research to address forecasting issues identified in the Department and facilitation of technology transfer of science results into the operational weather forecasting program.

Saskatchewan

Bratt’s Lake Site (Regina, SK)

Bratt’s Lake atmospheric monitoring site, located 27 km south of Regina, is home to air, precipitation chemistry, meteorological and greenhouse gas measurement programs. As part of ECCC’s national integrated atmospheric monitoring program, the research and data contribute to the federal Clean Air Regulatory Agenda. The site is also one of three Canadian sites in the World Meteorological Organization’s Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment, or WMO-SPICE, which sets technical standards and quality control procedures and guidance for the use of meteorological instruments and observation methods by the international scientific community.

Bratt's Lake Site

National Hydrology Research Centre (Saskatoon, SK)

The National Hydrology Research Centre (NHRC) located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, accommodates ECCC scientific, technical and administrative staff from the Air and Water Science and Technology Directorates and the Meteorological Service of Canada.

Aquatic Contaminant and Water Hydrology and Ecology research and technical staff at NHRC undertake laboratory and field activities which generate scientific data, related information and tools aimed to assist in sustaining Canada’s ecosystems. Hydrological and ecological information gathered from studies in rivers and lakes in the Canadian North enable scientists to better understand and predict the impacts of climate variability and anthropogenic disturbances on sensitive aquatic systems. Studies focused on the impacts of climate variability on major cryospheric and hydrologic processes (e.g., ice-jam flooding), groundwater availability and sustainability, and the effects of emerging contaminants on food webs in lakes and streams, inform the development of adaptation strategies to protect key/vulnerable water resources and aquatic ecosystems. New mass spectrometric methods to identify toxic components (e.g., pharmaceuticals, naphthenic acids) in natural wetlands, soils and vegetation and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the development of bioindicators of stressors on benthic organisms are both examples of analytical tools developed to support the assessment of cumulative effects and risks to aquatic ecosystems.

Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Surveillance scientists report on the status and trends of water quality and aquatic ecosystem health in the Athabasca/Artic Watershed basins. Extensive field activities are supported by multiple in-house laboratory facilities for field preparation, benthic invertebrate processing and identification (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network), and specialized chemical analysis.

The National Laboratory for Environmental Testing (NLET-Saskatoon) provides ISO 17025 chemical analyses to ECCC water quality monitoring and research programs. NHRC’s hydrology and ecology stable isotope lab specializes in the measurement of environmental stable isotope tracers for cumulative effects based ecological and hydrological research.

NHRC research and monitoring activities support ECCC’s obligations under the Canada Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and Fisheries Act through participation in government science programs including the Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program, the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative and the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.

National Hydrology Research Centre

Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre (Saskatoon, SK)

The Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre (PNWRC) occupies more than one hectare of land on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, including a two-storey building with offices and 10 laboratories and a large storage compound for fleet vehicles and field equipment. Office space is provided for more than 30 full-time staff, as well as many post doctoral fellows, graduate, undergraduate, and exchange students, and visiting scientists. Science & Technology Branch staff work on migratory bird ecology, ecosystem and wildlife health, and ecotoxicology, often in association with the University of Saskatchewan’s Departments of Biology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, and Toxicology Centre. 

Environmental Stewardship Branch staff at PNWRC work on programs for the recovery and protection of Species at Risk, on monitoring and management of Migratory Birds, and operation of Protected Areas. Wildlife Enforcement Division staff conduct patrols of Protected Areas and are very active during Migratory Bird hunting seasons, in addition to fulfilling regulatory needs under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

Facility highlights:

  • Wet labs, dry labs, and walk-in freezers for storing and processing animal, plant, water and soil samples from arctic, boreal, oil sands and prairie field sites.
  • A level-2 biosafety lab in support of wildlife disease and toxicology research.
  • Indoor and outdoor construction and staging areas to build or prepare supplies and research and monitoring equipment for shipping to all parts of the Prairie and Northern Region and further afield.
  • Five-minute walk from University of Saskatchewan colleagues and facilities in the Colleges of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, and Science; Environment and Climate Change Canada colleagues at the National Hydrology Research Centre; and colleagues and facilities at the Canadian Light Source.
  • Proximity to the St. Denis National Wildlife Area, 35 km east, where long-term research began in 1968 to consider how landscape and climate changes impact upland and wetland wildlife habitats, and associated wildlife populations in the Prairie Pothole region.
  • Bird Studies Canada is provided with office space at PNWRC, and they contribute to related migratory bird monitoring and research programs.
Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre
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