British Columbia environmental science centres

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

Canadian Centre for Climate Monitoring and Analysis

© Environment Canada, 2008

Environment Canada’s (EC) 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 EC’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.

Douglas Jung Building (Vancouver, BC)

Douglas Jung Building

© Environment Canada, 2008

Located in downtown Vancouver, the Douglas Jung Building houses both Environment 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.






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 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)

Pacific Environmental Science Centre

© Environment Canada, 2008

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 Environment Canada (EC) 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 EC 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 EC 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 EC’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 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 EC’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 Wildlife Research Centre (Delta, BC)

Pacific Wildlife Research Centre

© Environment Canada, 2008

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.

Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre (Victoria, BC)

Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre

© Environment Canada, 2014

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 Environment Canada (EC) and the University to enhance research assessing the impacts of climate change/variability on Canadian water resources.

The Centre, including eight EC 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 EC’s mandate to support environmental sustainability.

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