Delivering Clean Oceans and Healthy Coasts with an Enhanced Ocean Conservation Plan

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Canadians are proud of our oceans. With the longest coastline in the world, marine and coastal areas across the country are essential to our livelihoods and economy. Since its inception in 2016, the Oceans Protection Plan has strengthened the protection of our shores and wildlife, improved maritime traffic and incident management, and expanded partnerships with indigenous communities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the next phase of Canada’s marine conservation plan. With the new investment of $2 billion over nine years announced in the 2022 budget, Canada will take 15 new actions to expand ocean protection initiatives to more regions and better proactively address emerging threats to marine security, while continuing 39 existing initiatives or be expanded. This new funding comes on top of the $1.5 billion originally announced in 2016 and brings the total investment in support of the plan to $3.5 billion.

The renewed and expanded plan will help make further progress:

  • enhancing the protection and restoration of vulnerable marine ecosystems and wildlife;
  • Improving the efficiency, safety and sustainability of Canada’s marine supply chains and mitigating their impact on the environment, including by promoting research on marine pollution, ecosystems and wildlife;
  • Better management of maritime navigation off our coasts and maritime incidents of all kinds; and
  • Fostering partnerships and training opportunities for indigenous and coastal communities to contribute their expertise and experience in various aspects of marine security and ecosystem protection.

The renewed and expanded plan builds on the first successful iteration, which delivered real results on key promises nationwide. For example, since 2016 the government has reopened key emergency response centers, such as the Canadian Coast Guard’s St. John’s sub-center for sea rescue and the new permanent station in Victoria. We have also taken action to protect endangered species, including the Southern Resident Killer Whale, and funded initiatives to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale.

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

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“From preventing plastic pollution in our waters to protecting more of our coastlines than ever before, Canada is a global leader in marine safety and security. As the Ocean Conservation Plan expands and we continue to work with Indigenous and coastal communities across the country, we will accelerate our efforts to ensure Canada’s marine and coastal areas remain healthy, clean and safe for generations to come.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Canada’s coasts are vital to our communities, our economy and our environment. Reinvesting and expanding our government’s Oceans Protection Plan means we will continue to make maritime navigation safer, protect marine species and ecosystems, and give Indigenous peoples more choices about how their traditional coastlines and waterways are protected. Our government looks forward to continuing this important work to protect our shores for the benefit of all Canadians.”

The Hon. Minister for Transport Omar Alghabra

“Waterways and coastlines have always played a vital role in Canadian life. This next phase of the Oceans Protection Plan continues the important work to ensure Canada’s three oceans are healthy, protected and safe. From responding to marine emergencies to restoring aquatic ecosystems, we will work in partnership with indigenous peoples and coastal communities to protect Canada’s seafarers, waterways and coastlines now and for generations to come.”

The Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“With the longest coastline in the world, Canadians understand the importance of preserving the health of our oceans for future generations. The expansion and renewal of the Oceans Protection Plan is a critical part of our collective effort to reverse habitat and biodiversity loss, conserve more of our coasts and waterways, support vital jobs and local economies, and build more resilient coastal communities.”

The Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Secretary of State for Natural Resources

“Canada’s beautiful oceans are critical to our future in so many ways, from combating climate change to maintaining a sustainable way of life. Today’s renewed Ocean’s Protection Plan gives Environment and Climate Change Canada the tools to continue to study priority species, keep our coasts pristine and reduce the impact of oil spills. Our government has achieved a lot in just a few years, but there is still more to do.”

The Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister for Environment and Climate Change

Fast Facts

  • Canada’s marine economy generates approximately $31.65 billion in annual GDP and employs approximately 300,000 Canadians in various industries.
  • Sea transport is one of the safest and most cost-effective low-emission ways to move goods.
  • Since its inception in 2016, over 50 initiatives have been implemented under the Oceans Protection Plan. These include:
    • Opening of six Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue stations in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador and a seasonal coastal lifeboat station in Nunavut to enhance our ability to respond to marine incidents;
    • Significant increase in emergency response capacity with an Indigenous-led Canadian Coast Guard Response Force in British Columbia and expansion of the Arctic Response Force, emergency towing kits, new vessels, equipment and training on all three coasts;
    • Funded more than 60 coastal habitat restoration projects across Canada that support species like salmon and the endangered killer whale in the South;
    • Funding 500 projects to remove and dispose of abandoned boats across Canada and make it illegal to abandon your boat in Canadian waters;
    • Helped 750 people, including women, Indigenous peoples and Norse people, to complete specialized training to qualify for jobs in the shipping industry;
    • Modernizing Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund to make the polluter pay and provide unlimited compensation to those affected by an oil spill;
    • Formation of a bilateral agreement between Canada and 17 North Pacific Coast First Nations to advance shared marine stewardship and stewardship on British Columbia’s North Coast; and
    • Averaging one meeting per day with Indigenous communities across Canada to plan, develop or implement Oceans Protection Plan priorities and actions.
  • Implementation of the Ocean Conservation Plan is a government-wide effort, with responsibility shared by Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Health Canada, with support from Public Services and Procurement Canada and Global Affairs Canada.
  • Today’s announcement fulfills the commitment made in Transport Secretary Omar Alghabra’s December 2021 letter of mandate to launch the next phase of the Oceans Protection Plan, to continue efforts to deliver a world-leading marine security system, enhance the protection of marine species and ecosystems, and build forge stronger partnerships with indigenous and other coastal communities, while strengthening marine research and science.
  • In addition to today’s announcement, in the 2022 budget, the government announced its intention to propose changes to the law Canadian Shipping Act, 2001 and other legal acts, including enabling proactive management of marine emergencies and recording other types of marine pollution.

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