Minister of Transport announces a new investment in marine training for Indigenous Peoples, Northerners, and women through the Oceans Protection Plan

News release

March 16, 2023                    Vancouver, British Columbia               Transport Canada

With more vessels and goods being transported on Canadian waters than ever before, investing in a strong, diverse, and skilled marine workforce along our coasts is critically important. That’s why, through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is providing underrepresented groups with new training opportunities to strengthen Canada’s world-class marine safety system.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced a new investment of nearly $30 million, through the Oceans Protection Plan, to extend the Marine Training Program for four additional years, and to continue delivering marine training opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, Northerners, and women.

Through this investment, the Government of Canada is renewing its partnership with:

  • the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), in collaboration with Camosun College;
  • the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC); and
  • the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium (NFMTC).

The renewed investment will also provide funding to the Western Arctic Marine Training Consortium (WAMTC) to encourage ongoing marine training opportunities in Hay River, Northwest Territories.  

This funding will support the capacity of partner institutions to deliver marine training courses, create a safe learning environment and equitable work culture for its students, and increase diversity and recruitment—resulting in more skilled workers entering the Canadian marine industry.

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


“Indigenous and coastal communities are integral partners in keeping our waterways clean and safe. That’s why I’m proud to announce that our government is renewing its partnership with some of Canada’s leading marine training institutions, through the Marine Training Program and the Oceans Protection Plan. This will provide training and career opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, Northerners, and women across Canada. Thanks to investments like this, we can continue building a strong, safe, and efficient marine industry while creating new jobs and growing our economy.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

"The Oceans Protection Plan is making significant investments in the marine workforce by creating educational and employment opportunities for Indigenous peoples, Northerners, and women. Initiatives like the Marine Training Program continue Canada’s crucial work, including supporting the important work of Canadian Coast Guard members, in keeping mariners safe and the oceans healthy and protected for future generations.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“With the longest coastline in the world, Canada relies on skilled marine workers to ensure an efficient, competitive, sustainable and safe maritime sector—one that provides economic opportunities for coastal communities across Canada. Today’s announcement is another sign of Canada’s commitment to breaking down barriers for Indigenous Peoples, northerners and women looking to take up a rewarding career in this space. This means good, high-quality jobs and inclusive economic growth, all as a part of Canada’s historic $3.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources

“The BCIT Bridge Watch Rating program represents a crucial step towards bridging the gap between the marine industry's need for skilled labour and the shortage of available personnel. By providing new career opportunities for women and Indigenous Peoples, this program provides a solution to the labour shortage, and also helps to foster diversity and inclusion in the marine industry. Employers stand to truly benefit from the introduction of diverse perspectives and skill sets, making this program a win-win for all involved.”

Steve Perry
Dean, School of Transportation, British Columbia Institute of Technology

“This project, over the last four years, has shown that with the right support from the regulatory body, industry partners and a post-secondary educational institution can remove barriers and empower women and Indigenous students to succeed in the marine industry. This project is helping to increase participation of women and Indigenous Peoples in the industry and is aligned with our promise as a College to empower those who strive to know more, do more, be more.”

Vivek Saxena
Principal, NSCC Strait Area Campus 

Quick facts

  • Thanks to advanced training and exercises delivered through virtual and in-person courses, the Marine Training Program has graduated over 650 students from underrepresented groups to date, sending them to careers in the Canadian Coast Guard and other areas of the marine industry. 

  • Since the launch of the Oceans Protection Plan, and through the Marine Training Program, the Government of Canada has successfully reduced barriers and created opportunities for underrepresented groups in the marine industry. 

  • The funding announced today is part of the Government of Canada’s Budget 2022 commitment to provide $2 billion over nine years to renew Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan and expand its work into new areas. 

  • 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. 

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Associated links


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

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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