Government of Canada making significant progress and investments to protect Canada’s oceans

News release

July 22, 2021

Ottawa, Ontario – With three oceans surrounding us and the longest coastlines in the world, Canadians are deeply connected to our oceans. Healthy oceans mean healthy coastal communities – they feed our families and support vital industries. Canada is committed to protecting our oceans, and the ecosystems and marine life they sustain.

Canada has made significant progress in marine conservation in the last six years, working in partnership with coastal communities and provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments. In 2015, the Government of Canada announced a target to protect ten per cent of our oceans by 2020. That target was met and surpassed in 2019. Canada has protected approximately 793,906 square kilometres – nearly 14 per cent – of our marine and coastal areas.

Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced a $976.8M investment through Budget 2021 to continue our marine conservation efforts and reach our goal of protecting 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and working toward 30 per cent by 2030.

To help ensure that our existing MPAs are effectively achieving their conservation objectives, today Minister Jordan also launched a report entitled The Current – Managing Oceans Act MPAs Now, For the Future. The first in a series to be published every five years, it provides an update to Canadians about the progress and benefits of effectively managing Oceans Act MPAs in Canada, and will help inform future decisions and reporting on marine protection through the successes, challenges and lessons learned from Oceans Act MPAs established to date.

Achieving effective protections for our marine environments will require substantial efforts in years to come, which will continue to be advanced through extensive consultations, discussions and negotiations to identify new areas, establish protections and ensure areas are effectively managed and monitored. Moving forward, we’ll continue to rely on a collaborative approach with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments, as well as meaningful engagement with marine industry stakeholders and coastal communities, to ensure that our approach is both effective and sustainable.

Canada’s oceans are home to a rich diversity of species, habitats, and ecosystems, such as deep sea hydrothermal vents, cold-water corals, essential habitats for endangered species such as whales and other cetaceans, fish stocks that support productive and sustainable fisheries —the list goes on. Safeguarding these areas not only protects biodiversity and natural ecosystems below the surface, but also helps to support Canadian livelihoods in coastal communities, providing economic benefits for Canadians. 


“When we protect our oceans, we protect the coastal communities that rely on them. We know that healthy oceans have so much more to give. They feed more families, create more jobs. They help clean the air we breathe. That’s why Canada is investing nearly one billion dollars toward our marine conservation efforts. Working in partnership, we will meet to protect 25% of our oceans by 2025, working toward 30% by 2030.”

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

"The Government of Canada has made significant commitments to protect not only 25% of our oceans, but also 25% of our land and freshwater. We make these commitments to nature not just for the sake of reaching targets, but to ensure that our natural environment continues to sustain us and contributes to long-lasting positive impacts for all Canadians. Only by building on strong partnerships with provinces, territories, and Indigenous peoples, can we ensure a resilient future for both our environment and our economy.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“Canada’s oceans, the bounty in our waters, and the riches underneath them have created prosperity for Canadians. Healthy oceans means a healthy economy. Healthy oceans allow future generations to continue to benefit from them for years to come.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources

“Through this investment, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its global leadership in the conservation of nature. Protecting our marine ecosystems goes hand-in-hand with ensuring the safety and efficiency of marine transportation, including the movement of people and goods. Healthy oceans are integral to Canada’s blue economy and will help strengthen our post-pandemic economic recovery.” 

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“This important investment in ocean protection is vital for the health of Canada’s Arctic and Northern coastline and marine ecosystems, as well as for the Indigenous and Northern communities that rely on them for their livelihoods. We are protecting and revitalizing our oceans while also laying the foundation for our Blue Economy Strategy to take advantage of the growing economic potential and job opportunities that the Arctic and North offer for Indigenous and Northern communities.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has committed to conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025. Budget 2021 provided $976.8 million over five years for the establishment and management of new marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments, and stakeholders.

  • Canada continues to advocate internationally to protect 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030, as a member of the Global Ocean Alliance, and the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People.

  • As a member of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Canada is committed to sustainably managing 100 per cent of the ocean area under its national jurisdiction by 2025.

  • In June 2022, Canada will take centre stage in advancing discussions and global cooperation on marine conservation at the 5th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5).

  • Our oceans are vital to the livelihoods of communities across Canada. We want to keep our oceans healthy, so we can grow these industries sustainably, and create more opportunities for our coastal communities. That’s why we’re creating a sustainable Blue Economy Strategy.

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Olivia McMackin
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 

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