Oceans Protection Plan

Canada has the world’s longest coastline, and water is one of our most important resources. In 2016, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan, the largest investment the Government of Canada has ever made to protect our coasts and waterways. This funding will ensure our oceans are cleaner, healthier and safer for years to come.

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World-leading marine safety system

Canada’s marine safety system ensures we are ready and able to respond quickly to spills in Canadian waters. This includes our three coastlines, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and some inland waters. It’s essential that we have 24/7 response capability for marine incidents.

Through the Oceans Protection Plan, we are:

  • Establishing 24/7 emergency response and incident management
  • Increasing on-scene environmental response capacity
  • Improving oil spill response plans
  • Acquiring new environmental response equipment for the Canadian Coast Guard
  • Sharing near real-time information on marine traffic with Indigenous and coastal communities
  • Modernizing Canada’s marine safety regulation and enforcement regime

Preserving and restoring marine ecosystems

The Oceans Protection Plan aims to preserve and restore marine ecosystems vulnerable to increased marine shipping and development. Through the Plan, we are:

  • preserving and restoring vulnerable marine ecosystems
  • helping to protect marine mammals
  • reducing the impact of day-to-day vessel traffic by learning from scientific research and local knowledge of Indigenous communities and other coastal residents
  • increasing the number of fishery officers to support lead responders and enforce the law during incidents
  • increasing our surveillance of protected areas

Creating stronger Indigenous partnerships and engaging coastal communities

Many Canadians rely on their coasts and waterways for recreation, to deliver products to market, and to earn their livelihood. Many cherish them for cultural reasons as well. Indigenous coastal communities share ties to Canada’s oceans that span generations. They rely on them as a source of livelihood, food security, and valuable transportation routes. We are actively engaging with Indigenous peoples and coastal communities across the country to:

  • build new partnerships
  • help groups participate in the marine safety system
  • work together on specific marine initiatives
  • provide new boats, equipment and training that help local community members play an even more important role in marine safety

Stronger evidence base

Due to tanker traffic risks, we are researching how various types of oil and petroleum products behave when spilled in a marine environment. Using knowledge and scientific advice provided to oil spill responders, we are improving our response and decision-making. To provide the best scientific advice and tools for preventing and responding to oil spills, we are investing in:

  • ocean modelling
  • oil spill behaviour
  • biological effects
  • containment
  • cleaning techniques

We are also funding research to study the impacts of underwater noise and reduced availability of prey on marine mammals.

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