Government of Canada awards contract to assess the cumulative effects of marine shipping on coastal marine ecosystems through the Oceans Protection Plan

News release

September 17, 2018    OTTAWA, ONTARIO

Canada is fortunate to have some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, serving as a home to rich biodiversity and precious ecosystems. The Government of Canada, under the Oceans Protection Plan, is taking action to preserve and restore these marine ecosystems that are vulnerable to increased marine shipping and development.

Following a fair, open, and transparent process, Transport Canada has awarded a contract to ESSA Technologies Ltd. to look at methodologies and tools to assess the cumulative impacts of marine shipping on coastal marine ecosystems.

Transport Canada and ESSA Technologies will work together to review different methodologies and options for the assessment of cumulative effects, while continuing engagement with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities to understand their key concerns related to marine shipping. This collaboration will ensure the decision on which assessment tool to use is based on facts.

This $95,000 investment is part of the $9.3 million Cumulative Effects of Marine Shipping Initiative under the Oceans Protection Plan. Engagement with Indigenous and coastal communities to outline a framework for this national initiative began in the fall of 2017.

The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Through this 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. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.


“I am pleased to announce this significant step towards better understanding Canada’s coastal ecosystems and the effects of regional marine vessel activity on the environment. We are happy to work with ESSA Technologies Ltd., who will help us identify ways that we can assess the effects of existing and future vessel movement on the environment.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • To date, the Government of Canada has announced approximately $800 million in investments under the Oceans Protection Plan to better protect and preserve our coasts and waterways.

  • Transport Canada’s national cumulative effects assessment framework for marine shipping will identify regionally specific tools to assess the effects of existing and future vessel movements on the environment.

  • Data will be collected in six pilot sites: Northern British Columbia, Southern British Columbia, the St. Lawrence River (Quebec), the Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick), the South Coast of Newfoundland, and Cambridge Bay (Nunavut).

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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