Government of Canada invests more than $7.3 million in research on oil spill response measures and the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program in Newfoundland and Labrador

News release

September 6, 2019

Ottawa, Ontario - Canada has the world’s longest coastline and is surrounded by three oceans and the health of our oceans matters to all of us. The Government of Canada is dedicated to protecting our oceans and waterways and to keeping them clean, secure and productive for the benefit of all Canadians, now and into the future. We understand the importance of protecting the marine ecosystems that are home to an abundance of ocean life, support more than 350,000 jobs and sustain hundreds of coastal and Indigenous communities. We also recognize that scientific research is fundamental to evidence-based decision-making when planning and carrying out marine conservation efforts.

Under Canada’s historic $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, we are making meaningful investments in scientific research to help protect our coasts and waterways from the impacts of potential oil spills while supporting the collection of baseline data to identify changes in coastal environments.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Government of Canada is investing over $5.5 million in six research initiatives at Memorial University of Newfoundland to help improve protocols and decision-making that will minimize the environmental impacts of oil spills. In addition, more than $1.8 million is being invested in 10 marine environmental data collection initiatives led by seven partner organizations in Placentia Bay. Together, these investments will support the employment of approximately 67 individuals by project partners.

Multi-Partner Research Initiative

The Memorial University of Newfoundland projects will focus on a range of techniques and technologies to aid in oil spill response in Canada. These projects are funded under the $45 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative, which aims to ensure we have access to the best scientific information and methods available to respond to oil spills in Canadian waters by supporting collaborative research among oil spill experts both in Canada and worldwide.

These efforts will improve our knowledge of how oil spills behave, how to contain them, clean them up and minimize their environmental impacts.

Coastal Environmental Baseline Program

The seven organizations receiving funding include: the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Association, University of Manitoba, Humber Arm Environmental Association, Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program, Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador, Fish Food and Allied Workers Union, and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

These research initiatives are part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, which involves close partnership between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Indigenous and coastal communities, nongovernmental organizations, academia and other research partners. Participating groups are gathering wide-ranging scientific data that will help characterize Canada’s coastal environment.


“Scientific research is at the heart of the evidence-based decision-making we need to plan and carry out our important marine conservation work. The Multi-Partner Research Initiative and Coastal Environmental Baseline Program are bringing together the best researchers from across Canada and around the world to help protect and restore ocean ecosystems for this generation and as we face new challenges with a changing climate, while working in partnership with coastal communities.”

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

“Today’s announcement is great news for coastal communities all around Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re pleased to join forces with our project partners through the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program and Multi-Partner Research Initiative. These vital partnerships will improve our scientific knowledge, advance our oil spill response measures, and develop new technologies. Together, they will help keep our oceans safe and clean for all those who depend on them now, and in to the future.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for St. John's South — Mount Pearl

"The MPRI program presents an exceptional opportunity to boost our research, train our students, expand our partnerships and grow our impacts in Canada and worldwide. Through these projects, we believe that our research will not only advance oil spill knowledge and response technologies but also provide important scientific evidence to support oil spill policy- and decision-making. The outcomes will also help our industry and government in achieving sustainable development goals and transitioning to a clean economy.”

Dr. Bing Chen, Director of Northern Persistent Organic Pollution Control Lab and Professor in Civil Engineering, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Quick facts

  • Canada’s 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 Multi-Partner Research Initiative 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.

  • 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.

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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