Government of Canada supports important spill research at Dalhousie University

News release

May 31, 2019

Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Government of Canada is committed to protecting our oceans and keeping them healthy, clean and safe for future generations. Under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is making major investments in science to help protect our coasts and waterways from the impacts of potential oil spills.

On behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, the Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Fillmore, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing approximately $523,000 in scientific research at Dalhousie University to help protect Canadian waters in the unlikely event of a spill. This funding will support two new scientific trainee positions.

Dalhousie University researchers will investigate strategies to better separate oil from water and examine the risk of spills in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, an ecologically important area. As climate change accelerates the melting of sea ice in the Arctic, the Northwest Passage could become a significant route between the Pacific and North Atlantic oceans. With the potential of increased Arctic vessel traffic, the Government of Canada is investing in science and research now, to ensure that we are prepared in an event of a spill.  One research project funded under this program will test new methods to remove oil from water for greater efficiency during a cleanup. The other project will use advanced technology to help responders locate and identify spills, while minimizing harm to the marine environment. This new science and data will be important to inform decision makers and will help accelerate efficient decision making capacity.

The projects are funded under the $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative, which aims provide the best scientific advice to respond to spills in Canadian waters. The initiative connects leading researchers both in Canada and around the world. These efforts will improve our knowledge of how spills behave, how to contain them and clean them up, and how to minimize their environmental impacts.

Additional multimedia

Right to left: Dr. John Newhook, Dalhousie University, Dr. Haibo Niu, Dalhousie, MP Fillmore, Ken Lee, DFO, Dr. Lei Liu, Dalhousie, Kerri Graham, DFO.
Right to left: Dr. John Newhook, Dalhousie University, Dr. Haibo Niu, Dalhousie, MP Fillmore, Ken Lee, DFO, Dr. Lei Liu, Dalhousie, Kerri Graham, DFO.

Quotes

“The government of Canada is committed to keeping our oceans healthy, clean and safe for future generations. Our new investment in science and research at Dalhousie University will not only add to our scientific understanding of our oceans, but will also support two new scientific trainee positions.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Through the Multi-Partner Research Initiative, our government is fostering scientific knowledge to help protect our waters and coasts from oil spills for generations to come. The research conducted at Dalhousie University will support the development of a predictive model on the impacts of oil spills and effective response measures in Canada’s Arctic.”

Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“Congratulations to Dr. Niu and Dr. Liu on this well-deserved recognition from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Their work on marine oil spill risk assessment and response is truly world class, and we’re incredibly proud that it is happening at Dalhousie.”

Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President Research and Innovation at Dalhousie University

Quick facts

  • The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made by the Government of Canada to ensure our coasts are healthier, safer and better protected.

  • The $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative, announced in December 2017, is improving collaboration with oil response experts around the world, advancing oil spill research in Canada, and will help minimize the environmental impacts of oil spills.

Associated links

Contacts

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-548-7863
Jocelyn.lubczuk@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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

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