Transport Canada funds innovative research to prevent spread of invasive species in Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River

News release

December 20, 2023    Ottawa, Ontario    Transport Canada

Climate change, pollution, and the introduction of aquatic invasive species through shipping activities can threaten marine life in the diverse ecosystems of Canada’s oceans and waterways. Through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is taking action to increase protections and further preserve these important marine ecosystems that play an important role for the health of Canadians and the environment.

Today, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, announced investments of up to $10.9 million for four projects through the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) to improve ballast water management systems in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region to combat aquatic invasive species.

The four selected projects, funded through the OPP’s Ballast Water Innovation Program (BWIP), will advance industry-led solutions to assess and address technical challenges related to the installation, operation, and maintenance of ballast water management systems in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region. Ballast water management systems reduce the risk of introducing or spreading invasive species when ballast water is unloaded.

The organizations receiving funding are:

  • Albion Marine Solutions Ltd.
  • Algoma Central Corporation
  • Armateurs du Saint-Laurent
  • Mouawad Consulting Canada LP

The Oceans Protection Plan is a Canadian success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, experts, academia, and government work together to protect our environment, grow our economy, and support good jobs across the country, we deliver real results. Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan is keeping our oceans and coasts healthy, advancing reconciliation, and building a clean future for our children and grandchildren.


“By investing to find new ways to manage ballast water, we are protecting biodiversity and ecosystems from invasive species in Canada. We are making marine shipping safer for marine ecosystems, and we’re strengthening how we respond to marine incidents through Canada’s Ocean Protection Plan.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

“Healthy oceans are vital to fight climate change and protect marine life. That is why Canada is committed to conserving 25 per cent of our marine and coastal areas by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030. We cannot do this alone. The maritime transportation sector is an important ally to reach this target. The investments announced today will improve the ballast water management systems in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region to help reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species.”

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

“We're taking action on pollution in the Great Lakes. This announcement not only helps enhance environmental protections, but also promotes sharing valuable insights about installation, operation, and maintenance challenges. The initiative will contribute vital data ensuring a sustainable future for our waterways.”  

Chris Bittle
Member of Parliament for St. Catharines

“Our Great Lakes are widely enjoyed by Ontarians, and act as a critical part of our ecosystem. With the investment of $5 million into Mouawad Consulting Canada LP under the Ballast Water Innovation Program, we are taking a comprehensive approach to reducing the risk of the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, so that our Great Lakes can be protected and enjoyed for years to come.”

Arielle Kayabaga
Member of Parliament for London West

Quick facts

  • Vessels take on ballast water or release it when they need to be stabilized, like when cargo is unloaded or loaded at ports. Ballast water enables vessels to operate safely, but it can also introduce and spread aquatic invasive species and pathogens into Canadian waters.

  • The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region poses technical and operational challenges when it comes to the treatment of ballast water, where water can be cold, fresh, and sometimes mixed with sediment. The Ballast Water Innovation Program aims to address these challenges by deepening technical expertise within the industry, ultimately helping Canada protect the environment.

  • The Ballast Water Regulations are projected to prevent 34 aquatic invasive species from being introduced and spread in Canadian waters by 2044, including five severely damaging species. By preventing harm to the environment and local infrastructure, the regulations are expected to provide $980 million in economic benefits over this period.

  • By 2030, Canada’s regulations are expected to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species at Canadian Great Lakes ports by 82 per cent.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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