Government of Canada invests in key coastal environmental research in Iqaluit, Nunavut

News release

September 6, 2019             

Iqaluit, Nunavut — Canada’s Arctic waters are essential to the livelihoods, identity and natural heritage of countless Inuit communities.

Protecting our coasts and marine habitats for future generations calls for long-term coastal environmental baseline data, which will allow us to identify changes in coastal ecosystems and the long-term impacts of fishing, shipping, oil exploration and development, and other human activities.  

To help achieve these important goals, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced today funding of more than $425,000 for two marine environmental data collection projects in Iqaluit.

These research initiatives are part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, which involves close collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Indigenous and coastal communities, nongovernmental organizations, academia and other research partners. Participants are gathering wide-ranging scientific data to identify long-term changes in Canada’s coastal environment.

The funding will support projects by l’Université du Québec à Rimouski and the University of Prince Edward Island, which will help create a clearer picture of the coastal ecosystems and environmental conditions around Iqaluit. The data gathered from these initiatives are vital to improving our understanding of nearshore environments and potential human impacts on these sensitive areas while strengthening our ability to track baseline ecosystem status and to direct our efforts to protect coastal species and habitats into the future.


“Supporting a strong and secure North is undeniably at the core of our Canadian identity. And, we know that Canada’s Arctic coastal communities are among the first to feel the effects of climate change. That is why this investment in further research by l’Université du Québec à Rimouski and the University of Prince Edward Island in Nunavut is so critical to better understand the impacts of a changing climate, and what needs to be done to protect these shores, and the livelihood of Northern communities.”

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

Quick facts

  • The two baseline projects aim to characterize the current state of the marine ecosystem and the coastal environment in Iqaluit by:

    • determining the status of aquatic invasive phytoplankton species in the region; and
    • collecting baseline information on health parameters (environmental contaminants and pathogens) of ringed seals – a species of critical social, cultural and economic importance to many Northern communities.
  • The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, is helping to collect wide-ranging scientific data in six marine ecosystems with high vessel traffic and coastline development: the Port of Vancouver, BC; the Port of Prince Rupert, BC; the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; the Port of Saint John, NB; Placentia Bay, NL; and Iqaluit, NU.

  • These new investments complement funding announced in August for Coastal Environmental Baseline Program projects in Iqaluit, led by the University of Waterloo, University of Manitoba, the Government of Nunavut and SmartICE.

  • The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to safeguard our coasts and waterways under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan. This national plan will establish a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while ensuring our coastlines are healthier, safer and better protected for future generations.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Stay connected

Page details

Date modified: