Government of Canada supports a new maritime information system pilot project in partnership with the Innu Essipit First Nation Council

News release

April 26, 2019           Essipit, 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, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced $285,308 for the Innu Essipit First Nation Council to participate in a pilot project to develop, test, and evaluate a new maritime awareness information system. This national system is a key component of the Oceans Protection Plan’s Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative.

The web-based system will display a range of valuable near real-time maritime information, including data on vessel traffic, weather, and marine protected areas. As one of 10 Indigenous organizations across Canada participating in the pilot project, the Innu Essipit First Nation Council will test the system, provide feedback, and apply their local and traditional knowledge to improve and develop the system.

The Innu Essipit First Nation Council will use the system to support maritime safety through monitoring community vessel traffic and on-water activities important to the local tourism industry, including kayaking. The funding will support the hiring of project staff, testing the system, and raising awareness about the project within the community.

The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national strategy is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders, and coastal communities.


“Through the Oceans Protection Plan, our Government is investing in the protection and restoration of our coastline. Preserving the largest coastline in the world requires collaboration, which is why we are so proud to partner with the Innu Essipit First Nation Council, alongside nine other Indigenous organizations under the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative. Through this initiative, we are working with our partners from coast to coast to coast to improve the availability and quality of maritime information so that it can be used to inform local decision making. As a result of this innovation and collaboration, our marine safety system is stronger now than ever.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

“The St. Lawrence River is an important part of the culture, economy, and environment of Essipit, Quebec, and surrounding communities. We are proud to be working with the Innu Essipit First Nation, alongside the other pilot communities, to implement and test the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness system.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier
Minister of National Revenue

“The marine environment has always been important for the Innu Essipit. Since time immemorial and even today, marine resources have been a source of livelihood to the Essipiunnuat, from hunting seals or migratory birds to catching a variety of fish, or harvesting shellfish. The First Nation of the Innu Essipit is also very much involved in a modern economy geared toward commercial fishing and recreational tourism in a marine environment. The pilot project aiming at developing a maritime situational awareness system will help us to a great extent to properly deal with the co-existing environmental, cultural and economic issues in the St. Lawrence estuary and the Saguenay River Fjord.”

Martin Dufour
Chief of the Innu Essipit First Natio

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has announced over 50 initiatives under the Oceans Protection Plan since its launch in November 2016.

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

  • The web-based system will help coastal communities access relevant data so they can make local decisions to plan vessel routes, identify sensitive areas, increase safety on the water, and help protect the environment.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Media Relations Manager
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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