Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has announced a total investment of over $175 million in seven measures to help protect Arctic waters as part of the Oceans Protection Plan.
These measures include:
- A commitment of $94.3 million over five years to support safer and more efficient Arctic resupply operations through the Federal Investments in Safety Equipment and Basic Marine Infrastructure in Northern Communities Initiative;
- The Government of Canada will enhance partnerships with Indigenous communities and Arctic stakeholders to establish Low Impact Shipping Corridors. The shipping routes established through these initiatives will provide the infrastructure, navigational support, and emergency response services needed for safer marine navigation, while respecting the environment and local ecology and cultures;
- $29.9 million to build a new Arctic National Aerial Surveillance Program Complex in Iqaluit, Nunavut featuring a hangar and accommodations unit, to further improve spill prevention. This investment will enhance Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program Arctic operations to keep a watchful eye over the growing number of ships operating in Canada’s Arctic waters;
- $21 million over five years for Transport Canada’s Marine Training Contribution Fund. This investment will enhance and expand marine training and opportunities to underrepresented groups, including Indigenous people, Northerners and women in Canada’s Arctic;
- $16.89 million over five years to establish Transport Canada’s Office of Incident Management, which will modernize and standardize the department’s incident response processes. The Office will oversee implementation of the Incident Command System, a widely recognized and used response tool. This will improve the department’s response capability in emergency situations and improve seamless coordination with other response partners;
- $13.4 million over five years to expand Transport Canada’s Community Participation Funding Program. This investment will facilitate meaningful partnerships with Indigenous groups and increase their participation and input into decisions affecting Canada’s marine transportation system; and
- The continued expansion of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in the Arctic to bolster our collective ability to respond to maritime all-hazard incidents in the future. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is made up of trained volunteers who use their own vessels to respond to incidents in Canadian waters.
The Federal Investments in Safety Equipment and Basic Marine Infrastructure in Northern Communities Initiative will support safer community resupply operations in northern coastal communities by funding safety equipment and basic marine infrastructure, along with training to use and maintain it.
Community Participation Funding Program will be made available to eligible Indigenous groups, non-profit organizations, and local communities, with a maximum of $50,000 per recipient, per engagement opportunity. Funding will help these groups contribute local knowledge and expertise, e.g., local conditions and environmental sensitivities, to support activities aimed at improving Canada’s marine transportation system.
Enhancing National Aerial Surveillance Program Arctic operations will mean greater local marine pollution reporting, search and rescue capacity and satellite monitoring of vessels.
The Canadian Coast Guard has begun identifying locations for the expanded Arctic chapter of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary that will include up to eight new community response boats.
The Oceans Protection Plan will create long term training and jobs for Indigenous communities across Canada, ensuring a meaningful role in emergency response and waterway management that protects their communities and livelihoods, while addressing their concerns about marine shipping.
These new measures will allow Canada’s Northern territories to be better equipped, better regulated, and better prepared to protect their marine environment and coastal communities.