Government of Canada invests in national ocean observation system for improved ocean monitoring

News release

January 28, 2021

Ottawa, Ontario - Canada’s oceans are essential to our economy, our ecosystems, and communities from coast to coast to coast but our oceans are changing. Ocean observation and monitoring are critical for understanding these changes and protecting our oceans. That’s why the Government of Canada continues to invest in an open-access national system for ocean observation to support a variety of economic sectors and research efforts to understand, monitor and manage activities in the marine and coastal environments.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced $3 million in funding to support four Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS) projects over two years. This investment will support the University of Victoria, St. Lawrence Global Observatory, and Dalhousie University in their work to manage and publicly share a range of ocean information and contribute to a better understanding of Canada’s ocean ecosystems.

Each recipient represents one of CIOOS’ three regional associations with the University of Victoria receiving $820,000 for the Pacific region; St. Lawrence Global Observatory receiving $1,020,000 for the St. Lawrence region; and Dalhousie University receiving $820,000 for the Atlantic region. These investments will help support the recipients’ existing regional data sources and accelerate the user engagement with data, resulting in improved regional understanding of ocean ecosystems. Together, they will facilitate access to existing resources, new information and technology, as well as make data accessible and useable for the benefit of all.

St. Lawrence Global Observatory also received $340,000 in funding to continue to streamline data visualisation and sharing amongst the three regions.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada shares CIOOS’ vision of realizing a fully integrated and sustained online ocean observing system by maximizing access to data and information. This funding enables CIOOS and its data users and providers – including government, Indigenous communities, industries, coastal communities, non-governmental organizations, academia – to use and share diverse ocean data. Through this national system, Canada can improve its ocean data and information sharing, leading to better decisions for ocean conservation.


“Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Our oceans define us – they are the heartbeat and backbone of our coastal communities. It is essential that we have a strong system to study our marine ecosystems and guide our decisions toward healthy, prosperous oceans. This improved ocean monitoring system will help Canada make more sustainable and productive decisions on ocean related activities and propel us forward as a global leader in the emerging Blue Economy.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The University of Victoria is proud to renew its hosting of the CIOOS Pacific Regional Association for a second phase. In its initial phase, CIOOS Pacific demonstrated the feasibility of making ocean observation data from various sources, such as Ocean Networks Canada and the Hakai Institute, accessible on an open access web-based system. In this renewed phase,  CIOOS Pacific will expand its membership with data providers and data users from First Nations, academia and industry, and will continue to develop the system in response to the needs of its end-users.”

Denis D’Amours, Executive Director, CIOOS Pacific, University of Victoria

“St. Lawrence Global Observatory is proud to continue this project in order to contribute to the democratization of information and better access to ocean data. We remain enthusiastic and motivated to collaborate on this national project, and to work in collaboration with the Global Ocean Observing Systems Network."

Andréane Bastien, Executive Director, St. Lawrence Global Observatory

"As digital innovation continues to drive the blue economy, access to ocean observation data is critical for Canadians to realize opportunities which bolster the safety, sustainability, and economic value of our oceans. CIOOS Atlantic is proud to partner with world-class researchers and centres of expertise in ocean science to promote greater access to such data, and has made significant strides in meeting the unique needs of data collectors and users in the Atlantic region. We're excited to continue this important work to make data available for the benefit of all."

Shayla Fitzsimmons, Executive Director, CIOOS Atlantic, Dalhousie University

“Coastal communities like Halifax are shaped by the ocean. It is a vital lifeline to our local economies and central to our proud identity as Atlantic Canadians. To protect our ocean is to protect jobs and the sustainability of our marine environment. Through improved data resources and greater data sharing, today’s investment will support the protection and increase the understanding of our oceans.” 

Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax

Quick facts

  • On March 7, 2019, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced $1.5 million per year in ongoing funding to advance the development of CIOOS. Also announced was a partnership between the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network, Dalhousie University, University of Victoria and St. Lawrence Global Observatory to implement CIOOS.

  • The Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System is an open-access national system that brings together the various elements of ocean observation in Canada. The web-based platform facilitates access to existing resources, new information, and technology and makes data discoverable.

Related products

Associated links


Jane Deeks
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: