Government of Canada announces that the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke will pilot a new system to improve the availability of information on maritime activity across Canada

News release

March 8, 2019                                                                                      Kahnawà:ke, Quebec

Protecting the marine environment and all users of Canada's oceans and waterways is of paramount importance. Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous peoples and in close collaboration with local stakeholders and coastal communities to protect Canada’s unique marine environment from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament Jean-Claude Poissant, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced that over $166,000 has been awarded to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke to participate in a pilot project to develop, test, and evaluate a new maritime awareness information system in Canada. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament Marc Miller was also present to support this significant announcement. This system is a key component of the Ocean Protection Plan’s Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative.

The funding announced today supports the hiring of local staff who will work in partnership with Transport Canada to test and propose enhancements to the system. The funding also supports the development of communications materials to engage with the community, including raising awareness of emergency planning and safety for traditional fishing and recreational boating.

Ten Indigenous organizations across Canada, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, are participating in  a pilot project to identify national and local coastal priorities and contribute their expertise to the project. Once the web-based pilot system launches this spring, it will display a range of valuable near real-time maritime information, including data on vessel traffic, weather, and marine protected areas. Over the one-year pilot period, the participating organizations will test and provide feedback to improve and develop the system. The input of these key partners is a critical part of informing changes and updates to the system, so that it can meet the needs of coastal communities across Canada.

The Government of Canada is committed to keeping our marine and coastal areas clean and safe for the benefit of current and future generations. These investments under the Oceans Protection Plan will ensure that Canada provides the best scientific advice and tools to protect our coasts.


“As Canadians, we all benefit either directly or indirectly from our coasts, and we are committed to protecting them. This project is an example of partnership and collaboration. This system is an important step in collecting maritime information, and sharing it with those who use it for local decision making. We are proud to work with our Indigenous partners, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, to develop and test this new maritime awareness information system.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

“The work carried out under the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative will provide Canada with the best possible advice and scientific tools to protect our coasts, including those in the riding of La Prairie. I am proud that the Federal Government is partnering with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke for this project.”

Jean-Claude Poissant
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Member of Parliament, La Prairie, Quebec

“Our coasts and waterways are a source of inspiration and pride across Canada. This is why the Government of Canada continues to work with our partners to develop a common maritime awareness picture. Each participating pilot partner, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, has specific and unique expertise that they bring to this project.  We are incredibly honoured to be working together to protect our coasts.”

Marc Miller
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Member of Parliament, Ville-Marie — Le Sud-Ouest — Île-des-Sœurs, Quebec

“The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke is pleased to participate in the Maritime Awareness Information System pilot project. The platform will be an important tool to improve safety, emergency response and access to the St. Lawrence River by allowing monitoring of vessel movements by community members, first responders and decision makers. We look forward to working with the Government of Canada to advance this important initiative.”

Chief Ross Montour
Consultation Portfolio Chief

Quick facts

  • There are 10 partner Indigenous organizations across Canada participating in the EMSA pilot projects. These partners will test the system and their feedback, local priorities and traditional knowledge will be a key part of informing changes and updates to the system over the course of the one-year pilot projects.

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

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

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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