New Online Platform Will Improve Understanding of  Impacts of Cumulative Effects on Our Environment

News release

March 9, 2021                                                      Ottawa, Ontario                                                   Natural Resources Canada

Even during a pandemic, Canada continues to strengthen the economy while protecting and conserving our natural environment, supporting our natural resource sectors and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Increasing our understanding of the long-term cumulative effects from human activities is essential in making decisions that impact our future well-being.

This is why Natural Resources Canada, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, has launched the Open Science and Data Platform (OSDP) for cumulative effects, an innovative online tool that provides Canadians with access to data and scientific publications that can be used to understand the cumulative effects of human activities.

Cumulative effects are the accumulated changes in the environment caused by interactions between human activities and natural processes that have long-lasting impacts on the environment and the health and well-being of Canadians. Examples include changes to wildlife populations, changes in the ways in which ecosystems function, increases in non-native plants and permafrost melt. Understanding the effects of such activities will support science-based decision-making and help us better manage our land, its biodiversity, our water and other natural resources. 

With the OSDP, Canadians and Indigenous communities, including scientists, researchers and policy-makers, can contribute to and easily access cumulative effects information, which until recently was widely dispersed across numerous government websites and repositories. Users can search cumulative effects content and view, combine and download data and publications and stay informed of proposed or current development activities across the country. The OSDP leverages the Federal Geospatial Platform (and its public facing site, Open Maps) which brings together open federal, provincial and territorial geospatial data to enable users to explore location-based data on the Government of Canada’s open Government Portal. By leveraging the Federal Geospatial Platform, the OSDP’s data provides enhanced access to provincial and territorial data, historical time series data and maps, surveys, satellite Earth observations and scientific models.

The platform is an ambitious undertaking, and this is a first step that will continue to improve as user feedback is collected and analyzed. New data and publications will be added regularly to include the best available information relevant to cumulative effects and development activities in Canada. Visit the OSDP to learn more.


“Open science and data strengthens evidence-based decision-making. Understanding the cumulative effects of human activity will help meet our climate goals and protect the environment.”

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

“Canadians want cleaner air and cleaner water for their children and grandchildren. The Open Science and Data Platform for cumulative effects brings together data and science dispersed across federal and provincial systems and websites. This allows Canadians — including Indigenous peoples, scientists and policy-makers — to better understand the cumulative effects of human activities and their impacts on our health and well-being.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

Quick facts

  • The OSDP is co-led by Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

  • Contributors to the OSDP include: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada Energy Regulator, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Parks Canada, Statistics Canada, Transport Canada, Government of British Columbia (available in English only), Government of Alberta (available in English only), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Quebec.

Associated links


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Ian Cameron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Moira Kelly
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

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