News release from Canadian Government: Extending pilot project to develop maritime information system for coastal communities

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24 July 2019

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.