Government of Canada introduces new measures and enters into new partnerships for safer maritime navigation and emergency response through the Oceans Protection Plan

News release

May 16, 2018               Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada’s coasts support Indigenous and coastal communities, enable international trade, are home to precious ecosystems, and play a key role in strengthening the economy and growing our middle class. The Government of Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan—the largest investment ever made to protect our coasts and waterways—is building a world-leading marine safety system and will lead to cleaner and safer coasts.

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport announced four measures to help protect Canada’s waters and coastlines as part of the Oceans Protection Plan. These measures are:

  • Providing $110 million over five years for the Canadian Hydrographic Service to chart 23 high-priority commercial ports and near-shore areas along all three coasts to create safer navigation for mariners. This new investment will fill important gaps in critical areas across the country that currently have limited and out-of-date navigational information, and give mariners high-resolution electronic navigation charts, navigational products and data for increased safety. To date, surveys of eight out of the 23 ports have been completed.
  • Adding seven additional coastal communities (nine total) to test a new information system showing where ship traffic is located—and other essential maritime information—as part of the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative. These communities include:
    • The T’Sou-ke Nation and the Pacheedaht Nation (combined – British Columbia)
    • The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (Quebec)
    • The Essipit Innu First Nation Council (Quebec)
    • The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council (Atlantic Canada)
    • The Nunatsiavut Government (Atlantic Canada)
    • The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories (Arctic)
    • The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut (Arctic)
    • The Council of the Haida Nation (British Columbia – previously announced March 13, 2018)
    • The Gitga’at Nation (British Columbia – previously announced March 13, 2018)

The selection of a contractor to build a system that can provide near-real time data on local ship traffic will be one of the largest agile procurement projects in the Government of Canada’s history. Indigenous and coastal communities, Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard will work together to award the contract. Through the $62.5 million invested in the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative, the Government of Canada will make $9.8 million available over two years to support the implementation of these pilot project communities and work with them to develop, test and evaluate the new system.

  • Awarding an initial contract to Hercules SLR of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to supply the Canadian Coast Guard with two vessel-based emergency tow kits, plus equipment and training. This initial contract is valued at more than $180,000, and is part of a plan to install tow kits and related equipment on all large Canadian Coast Guard vessels, including five vessels on the West Coast. The initial contract includes options for up to 62 additional tow kits and related equipment.
  • Allocating $7.2 million over five years in the Marine Weather Information Services Demonstration Project. This project will deploy five smart buoys (two on the west coast and three on the east coast) that will produce data for tailored weather forecasts. These smart buoys will have innovative high resolution weather prediction systems that will enhance marine forecasting and improve marine navigation and safety for mariners.

Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coasts and waterways for generations to come. The Government will ensure Canada’s resources are developed in a way that is informed by rigorous science and evidence, aligns to Canada’s climate change plan, protects Canada’s rich natural environment, respects the rights and treaties of Indigenous Peoples, and supports our economy.


“Today, the Government of Canada has taken additional steps towards maintaining a marine safety system that is world-leading. Our commitment to partnering with Indigenous Peoples and collaborating with coastal communities to protect Canada’s coastal ecosystems is clear and unequivocal. The marine safety and navigational improvements from the Oceans Protection Plan announced today will help us put safeguards in place for all vessels, including those carrying petroleum products overseas. We are determined to safeguard Canada’s waters – and know that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand-in-hand to benefit all Canadians.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

“Safe marine navigation and ensuring vessels can quickly be removed from trouble are essential to enhancing marine safety and preventing potential marine pollution incidents. This investment in the Canadian Hydrographic Service will help provide up-to-date navigation information in critical areas across the country, and these new tow kits will give the Canadian Coast Guard greater ability to tow vessels out of distress in emergency situations. Through the Oceans Protection Plan we are making our oceans safer, cleaner and healthier.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The environment and the economy go together. That’s why I’m proud our government is investing in world-leading measures and enhanced weather forecasting to improve marine safety, and continuing to advance scientific research to protect our coasts today and leave a rich natural legacy for our kids and grandkids.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has already announced initiatives worth more than $600 million under the Oceans Protection Plan.

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Canadian Hydrographic Service has the responsibility for charting the world's longest coastline as well as over six million square kilometres of continental shelf and territorial waters, including extensive inland waterways such as the St. Lawrence Seaway.

  • Canadian Hydrographic Services will be done using both existing and emerging technologies, including MultiBeam echosounders aboard Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers, new Laser Airborne Hydrography (LiDAR - Light Detection and Ranging) techniques, Automated Hydrographic Surface Vehicles, and increased use of satellite imagery to fill hydrographic data gaps.

  • The five-year, $62.5 million Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative was announced in November 2017.

  • The vessel-based emergency tow kits will be air deployable, and give Canadian Coast Guard vessels the ability to tow ships out of distress in cases of emergencies such as complete mechanical failure, loss of power or loss of steering. This is critical to preventing potential marine pollution incidents.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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Vincent Hughes
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
613 992 3474

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada


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