Canada Takes Action to Enhance Marine Safety in the Arctic


Canada_flagThe Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing $22.7 million over five years on a cash basis to improve the safety of marine transportation in the Arctic. Marine transportation is essential to the North and these investments will ensure that communities continue to receive goods safely while protecting the economy.

As part of these investments, Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Canadian Hydrographic Service will acquire and install four state-of-the-art multibeam sonar systems aboard Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers in order to significantly increase the amount of seafloor surveying in the Arctic.

The Canadian Coast Guard will also immediately enhance emergency response and search and rescue capacity in the Arctic by increasing the current Coast Guard Auxiliary presence in remote locations. The Canadian Coast Guard will also conduct extensive reviews to identify ways to further enhance Arctic marine navigation services and infrastructure, including aids to navigation.

Transport Canada will also work closely with Aboriginal groups and local communities on ways to improve marine transportation in the North.

Moving forward, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Hydrographic Service and Transport Canada are working together on the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors Initiative to determine what the appropriate mix of navigational services, infrastructure, and emergency response services could be across Canada’s Arctic waterways.

Quick Facts

  • Nearly 95 per cent of goods transported in the Arctic are shipped by sea, making the Canadian Coast Guard an integral part of the Arctic way of life.
  • This investment will directly benefit the northern economy and remote communities as they depend on marine transport for supplies, fuel, and economic development.
  • Improving the safety of Arctic shipping was a key initiative under Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship. This initiative resulted in new guidelines that will ensure that the economic benefits of marine shipping take place in a sustainable manner that benefits Northerners.
  • In their April 2015 report, the Tanker Safety Expert Panel highlighted that marine traffic in the North is expected to increase in the medium term. In addition, longer shipping seasons and extended access to the Northwest Passage may promote further traffic growth in the long term.
  • Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide a further $34 million over five years starting in 2015–16, to support meteorological and navigational warning services in the Arctic.


“Together, these measures demonstrate the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to strengthen marine safety to protect the public and the environment. By improving the charting of Arctic waterways and developing options to improve navigation systems and infrastructure, our Government is taking the necessary steps to support incident prevention and marine safety in the Arctic.”

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

“Our Government is committed to supporting safe and responsive marine transportation and emergency response in the Arctic. This investment will not only improve marine safety in the Arctic but will directly benefit remote communities that depend on marine transportation for their day-to-day needs. We will continue to work with our Northern partners to ensure that we are supporting a sustainable and diversified Northern economy.”

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

The Government of Canada is proud to announce these improvements in marine transportation in the Arctic.Our enhanced ability to map Canada’s Arctic waters will result in better charts and navigational information, leading to improved safety for mariners in the North.”

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport

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