Transformative change underway at Fisheries and Oceans Canada to advance reconciliation

News release

September 6, 2019                               

Ottawa, Ontario- The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working to modernize and strengthen its structures in order to support Indigenous capacity building and support their vision of self-determination.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, underscored this commitment by releasing the Department’s Reconciliation Strategy (the Strategy), along with the Action Plan for the Renewal and Expansion of Indigenous Programs at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (the Action Plan).

The Strategy

In June, Minister Wilkinson announced the development of an inward facing,  whole-of-department, long-term approach to advancing meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the area of fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat, and marine waterways. The Strategy was developed based on federal policy directions, feedback obtained through past and current departmental engagements and consultations with Indigenous peoples and stakeholders. While the Strategy is meant to guide employees in understanding why and how reconciliation is significant to their daily work, the Department is releasing it publicly to underscore its importance. It is intended to help ignite a culture change within the Department and beyond.

An example of concrete action that supports this overarching Strategy is the recently completed Indigenous Program Review, a collaborative, two-year undertaking with the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute and involving over 700 Indigenous partners that has already resulted in improvements to the department’s Indigenous programs and the creation of a new Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative.

The Action Plan

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is now going a step further, with the release of the multi-year Action Plan. Guided by the Indigenous Program Review findings, the Action Plan outlines practical and transformative actions that will be taken to improve program outcomes for Indigenous communities, through ongoing co-development, co-design and co-delivery with Indigenous partners. It highlights that, as part of program renewal, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue working with First Nations and other participating Indigenous organizations to bring greater consistency and growth to Indigenous programs, ensuring that investments are strategic and needs-based, and that community outreach programs are supported, along with training and accreditation.


“Fisheries and Oceans Canada, including the Canadian Coast Guard, has been taking a serious inward look at how we approach reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Today’s release of our Reconciliation Strategy and our multi-year Action Plan to expand and renew our Indigenous programs is an integral part of our commitment to rebuilding our relationship with Indigenous peoples. We will continue to reflect on lessons learned in order to move forward with a long-term reconciliation process that is based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”

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

Quick facts

  • The Reconciliation Strategy and Action Plan released today impact the work of all Fisheries and Oceans Canada employees and will involve reporting results publicly.

  • The Reconciliation Strategy and Action Plan are evergreen documents that will evolve over time, as the Department continues to work alongside Indigenous partners in growing and improving Indigenous fisheries programs and bringing  them into closer alignment with the needs of Indigenous peoples and their communities.

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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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