Government of Canada invests in research to better understand the effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems 

News release

March 29, 2021                                                

Ottawa, Ontario - The Government of Canada is further investing in research to better inform the protection of our oceans, lakes, rivers and waterways and the many species that call them home. The unfortunate reality is that microplastics, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and oil- and gas-related contaminants enter our water systems due to human activity. This means we must continue to study and understand the threats that our ecosystems face.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced $2,891,371 over four years in funding for contaminants research. This funding supports nine research projects addressing the biological effects of contaminants on aquatic species. Two of these projects are funded under the Oceans Protection Plan’s Fate, Behaviour, and Effects Initiative, which aims to better understand oil spill behaviour so we can better inform the protection of our waterways against its biological effects.

The Government of Canada will continue to invest in science and research to understand what our oceans, lakes, rivers, and waterways need to sustain the countless lifeforms that call them home. Whether it is studying the impact of contaminants on the iconic species that Canadians love, like killer whales, or studying their impact  on the species we harvest, like shellfish, today’s investment will help collect the data and information needed to keep Canada’s waterways healthy for generations to come.


“Canada is well-positioned to be a world leader in the emerging blue economy. We are home to the world’s longest coastline, three oceans, and thousands of lakes. It is therefore critical that we study and understand all threats, including contaminants, to our aquatic ecosystems to ensure that these bodies of water can continue to sustain the countless resources and livelihoods they generate. Today’s investments will strengthen Canada’s blue economy and ensure all our decisions continue to be grounded in science and sustainability.”

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

“Through the Oceans Protection Plan, we are building a marine safety system with stronger protections for marine species than ever before. We're accomplishing this by bringing together science, technology and traditional knowledge to protect Canada’s unique coastal ecosystem from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The results of these research projects will help us further protect the marine ecosystem, our communities and our economy.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Science Sector funds research on the biological effects of contaminants.

  • The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national plan is creating a stronger marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.

  • Since the Oceans Protection Plan started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span coast-to-coast-to-coast.  The Fate, Behaviour and Effects Initiative supports research on oil spill behaviour, its biological effects and potential mitigation measures.

  • Minister Jordan launched the engagement on Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy on February 8, 2021. The World Bank defines the blue economy as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. Canada’s ocean sectors contribute approximately $31.7 billion annually in gross domestic product and account for close to 300,000 jobs.

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Jane Deeks
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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