The Government of Canada announces increased marine pollution surveillance in Canada’s North

News release

October 31, 2023            Ottawa, ON            Transport Canada

Protecting the environment and a strong economy work hand-in-hand. The National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) ensures that our transportation system is working safely. Through the Oceans Protection Plan and with NASP, the Government of Canada is taking action to protect Canada’s Arctic coast and support safe and responsible shipping.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, announced that a contract has been awarded to Pilitak Enterprises Ltd., an Inuit company, to construct a new National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) aircraft hangar in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

The contract is valued at $45,923,850 and construction will continue over the next 18 months. This funding will create local training and good job opportunities for the community during the construction.

The new Arctic NASP hangar will make it possible to conduct more operations, particularly for the safety of marine transportation throughout the year in the Arctic. Aerial surveillance is considered the most effective way to detect spills of hydrocarbons, such as oil.

The Oceans Protection Plan is a true Canadian success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, local 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 construction of a new National Aerial Surveillance Program aircraft hangar in Iqaluit will strengthen the aerial surveillance program in the North. This is good news and will contribute to year-round rapid response efforts, early detection of maritime risks, and environmental protection. We are pleased to work with a local company to complete this important work.”  

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

“Today’s announcement is another example of how we are increasing the participation of Indigenous firms in federal contracting opportunities. In addition to supporting the Iqaluit community with the construction of this new hangar, this contract will contribute to economic development in the territory and build capacity of Registered Inuit Firms and individuals through the Nunavut Agreement.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Quick facts

  • Pilitak Enterprises Ltd is a Registered Inuit Firm. The contract awarded to it demonstrates Canada’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations under Article 24 of the Nunavut Agreement. This contract also demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to awarding five percent of all federal contracts to Indigenous firms, which will contribute to the economic development and capacity building of Inuit firms.

  • Since 1991, the iconic red planes of Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program have been a pillar in safeguarding Canada’s marine environment. Over the years, they’ve grown, adding new aircraft, technology, and people, all with the goal of preventing pollution in our waters, protecting our marine environment, and ensuring a safe and efficient transportation industry. The new Iqaluit aircraft hangar will advance Canada’s aerial surveillance system and leverage its potential to protect our Arctic seas, coastlines, and the people who depend on them.

  • 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. Since its launch, the Oceans Protection Plan has:

    • Extended the Canadian Coast Guard’s annual Arctic operational season to help mariners both earlier and later in the navigation season.
    • Expanded local search and rescue programs to reduce response times and better support Northern communities during marine incidents.
    • Opened the first Inshore Rescue Boat Station in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut – the first in the Arctic – that is staffed by Indigenous post-secondary students under the guidance of experienced Canadian Coast Guard officers.
    • Funded 18 coastal Arctic communities to buy search and rescue boats and equipment to improve local marine safety capacity.
  • Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the NASP has expanded in order to increase the observing, analysis, recording, and reporting of marine pollution in the waters of Canada’s North during the summer.

  • The Government of Canada is determined to continue cooperating constructively with the Inuit and the coastal communities in delivering the Oceans Protection Plan and respecting the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

Associated links


Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa  

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Olivier Pilon
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada

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