Indigenous coastal communities share ties to Canada’s oceans that span generations. They value them as a source of livelihood, food security, and transportation routes. The Oceans Protection Plan is providing Indigenous peoples with new opportunities to protect, preserve, and restore Canada’s oceans and sea routes.
To support the need for more user-friendly, local data on coastal marine traffic, the Government of Canada, alongside 10 Indigenous organizations across Canada, launched the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative pilot project in May 2019. Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced the government’s decision to extend the pilot project until March 2022 and new funding of $6.9M to further support and to expand the participation of other organizations in the project.
The Enhanced Maritime Situation Awareness initiative uses technology to provide accessible, near real-time, information about what is happening on local waters to coastal partners and stakeholders. The 10 participating Indigenous organizations are applying their local knowledge to test and improve this information system.
Extending the pilot period allows participating Indigenous organizations and their communities to test the technology over three years instead of one, input data, and assess, improve, and cater the technology to their specific needs.
This money announced today to support the project is in addition to the previously allocated $2.6 million dollars for this initiative in 2018. Funding is going towards new maritime data sources, enhancing existing data sources, and building capacity for partners piloting the system.
The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national strategy is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders, and coastal communities.
“Under the Oceans Protection Plan and the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative, the Government of Canada is taking an innovative approach to improving marine safety and a more collaborative approach to protecting our coasts. The near real-time information being provided to coastal communities makes our coasts and waterways safer than ever before.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
The Government of Canada has announced over 50 initiatives under the Oceans Protection Plan since its launch in November 2016.
The Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative, a Web-based pilot, project displays a range of real-time data on vessel traffic, weather, hydrography and marine protected areas. The information helps coastal communities better plan vessel routes, identify sensitive areas, enhance local marine safety and protect the environment.
Examples of initiatives being funded to expand the pilot project include monitoring and collecting water property data; hiring data analysts and youth science ambassadors; and installing various hardware and equipment in the pilot communities.
The Government of Canada collaborated with pilot partners for more than two years prior to the initiative launch in May 2019, to best understand what elements were important to include in the system.
In February 2019, representatives from 10 Indigenous organizations met to evaluate software proposed for developing the pilot maritime awareness information system. Fujitsu Consulting (Canada) Inc. was selected and is receiving up to $2.5 million dollars to develop the system. To date, this is the largest awarded agile procurement contract in the Government of Canada’s history. $3 million in additional funding will be provided to Fujitsu to extend the pilots to March 2022.