Government of Canada launches call for proposals to support greater Indigenous participation in the Oceans Protection Plan

News release

March 27, 2023                    Ottawa, Ontario                    Transport Canada

Indigenous Peoples have had fundamental ties with Canada’s oceans and waterways for generations. Indigenous knowledge and expertise are critical to protecting our coastal waters now and into the future. Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan will continue to create opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to collaboratively protect, preserve, and restore our oceans and waterways.  

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, invited First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and organizations to apply for funding to establish Indigenous Marine Coordinator (IMC) positions. These positions will increase Indigenous partners’ capacity to participate in the development and implementation of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.

Since the launch of the Oceans Protection Plan in 2016, the Government of Canada has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations to develop solutions to improve local marine safety, protect local marine environments, and prevent local marine incidents. This collaboration is an important step towards greater management of Canada’s coasts with Indigenous partners.

Taking a greater role in the design and implementation of these solutions requires significant time and resources from Indigenous communities and organizations. To support this increased role, eligible groups can apply until May 19, 2023, for funding to hire internal Indigenous Marine Coordinators. These positions may be funded for up to four years.  

The Government of Canada is committed to continuing to work meaningfully with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and coastal communities in delivering the Oceans Protection Plan and respecting the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

The Oceans Protection Plan is a Canadian success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, scientists, and government work together to protect our environment, grow our economy, and support good jobs across the country, we deliver real results. The renewed and expanded Oceans Protection Plan will keep our oceans and coasts healthy, advance reconciliation, and build a clean future for our children and grandchildren.


“Strong collaboration with Indigenous partners is essential to ensuring Canada has a strong marine safety system and the highest-level of protections for our marine environment. These new Indigenous Marine Coordinator roles will make that collaboration easier to achieve and sustain. Ultimately, these positions will help us build on the progress we’ve made through the Oceans Protection Plan to keep our oceans safer and cleaner, for generations to come.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Approximately $16M in funding to hire Indigenous Marine Coordinator positions is being provided through the Indigenous Local Communities Engagement and Partnership Program (ILCEPP). The funding is part of the $50 million in Oceans Protection Plan capacity funding for Indigenous communities and organizations announced in September 2022.

  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has dedicated $3.5 billion to the Oceans Protection Plan, making it the largest investment Canada has ever made to protect its coasts and waterways.

  • Indigenous partnerships are a critical component of improving Canada’s marine transportation system. This collaboration through the Oceans Protection Plan has resulted in:  

    • The establishment of a Reconciliation Framework Agreement to help the Government of Canada and Indigenous partners coordinate and collaborate on ocean management and protection priorities on Canada’s West Coast;
    • A total of 757 Indigenous Peoples, Inuit, Northerners, and women graduates from the Marine Training Program who have acquired the skills they need for jobs in the marine industry;
    • The co-launch of Canada’s first Indigenous Coast Guard Auxiliary and funding for 16 northern and Indigenous communities to buy search and rescue boats and equipment;
    • Training in emergency response and waterway management to Indigenous communities; and
    • The co-development of a real-time information system that is helping 79 Indigenous communities across Canada to make informed, evidence-based decisions about their local marine environment.

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Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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