Government of Canada invests in Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group

News release

August 30, 2019                                   

Ottawa, Ontario – Canada is an ocean nation. With the world’s longest coastline and surrounded by three oceans, our marine ecosystems are home to an abundance of marine life and support over 350,000 Canadian jobs. However, the Government of Canada recognizes that our oceans, waterways and coastlines face urgent threats, from warming waters due to climate change, to a decline in marine biodiversity. This has a direct impact on the health of our environment and economy.

In response, The Government of Canada is taking action now. We have protected almost 14% of our marine and coastal areas and put in place the Oceans Protection Plan, the most significant investment in Canadian history to protect our waters and coasts.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced $2.7 million over the next four years to further protect our oceans through the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Ocean Observations. The Action Group will advance ocean observation through innovation and development; and promote the sharing of information to make data, knowledge and best practices more accessible, including to small island developing states. Increased access to information will ensure decisions, products and services are based in ocean science. The Action Group will also develop strategies to build greater ocean literacy and inclusiveness, including gender equality; and increase the opportunity for young science professionals to participate in ocean-related educational activities, exchanges and joint projects.

Canada remains committed to advancing ocean science internationally. Its investment in the Blue Charter will foster greater collaboration among Commonwealth partners and support its work as a member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) including the activities of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. It will also increase opportunities for women and youth in all disciplines, including science. To further equality in ocean science, Canada hosted an Empowering Women in the UN Decade event on June 27, 2019 at the 30th session of the IOC Assembly in Paris, and funded a Canadian female Ocean Science staff at the IOC. Canada has also offered to support the UN Decade through a project office, designed to serve as a focal point for the planning, promotion, and coordination of UN Decade activities.


“Our government is committed to making our waters cleaner, safer and healthier for now and future generations. This investment will allow for continued innovation while working closely with our Commonwealth partners to share our ocean knowledge and make it accessible. Along with our focus on improving ocean data, we are committed to making gender equality and youth representation in the ocean sciences a priority. We continue to work with our Commonwealth partners and scientists of all backgrounds to further our knowledge of the ocean and how to protect it.”

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

Quick facts

  • In May 2019, the Blue Charter Ocean Observations Action Group held its inaugural meeting in Ottawa, Ontario. Members identified priorities and developed the Terms of Reference and the Action Plan for the Group. The Action Group will hold annual meetings to review the progress of its action plan. 

  • In November 2018, the Government of Canada provided up to $9.5 million in additional funding to advance the activities of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science. This funding complements Canada’s Blue Charter commitments. The Blue Charter also aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Life Below Water.”

  • In September 2018, the Government of Canada announced its investment of up to $5.6 million to support the deployment of Argo Ocean Array. The free drifting floats monitor international waters and measure changes in ocean temperature and salinity. The ocean observation data collected will help developing countries identify and reduce risks to their coastal communities.

  • In April 2018, the Prime Minister announced Canada’s commitment to becoming the Commonwealth Blue Charter Champion on ocean observations, one of nine action groups within the charter.

Associated links


Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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