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Horizontal Initiatives

Health of the Oceans

Lead department Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Strategic Outcome Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
Program Activity Integrated Oceans Management
Start date April 1, 2007
End date March 31, 2012
Description Building on the achievements of the Oceans Action Plan, the Health of the Oceans initiative is a five-year, $61.5 million commitment by five departments — Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Parks Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada — to improve the health of the ocean environment. For its part, DFO will receive $23.2 million to support its protection and conservation work. Key DFO initiatives include establishing six new Marine Protected Areas (MPA) under the Oceans Act, advancing a national MPA network, conducting scientific research to support designation of the new MPAs, creating four new national Oceans Centres of Expertise, and enhancing spill-response capacity and emergency planning in the Arctic Ocean. For a complete list, see the table below. DFO co-ordinates the entire Health of the Oceans Initiative, including bi-annual performance monitoring, the preparation of summary annual reports and preparation for a final summative evaluation. A program evaluation is projected to be completed in 2011-12.
Shared outcomes
  • Four new Oceans Centres of Expertise
  • Federal Marine Protected Area Strategy: finalization of planning guidelines for federal MPA network
  • Federal Marine Protected Area Strategy: preparation of a status report of federal MPA
  • Federal-Provincial-Territorial Marine Protected Areas network (2012)
  • Marine Protected Areas establishment
  • Collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund-Canada
  • Delivery of a suite of indicators to assess and monitor Arctic ecosystems
  • Integrated Oceans Management and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) assessment tools linkage
Governance structure This initiative is subject to interdepartmental governance through the Assistant Deputy Ministers Interdepartmental Committee on Oceans, supported by a shadow Directors General Committee. This governance structure reviews the initiatives on a regular basis including review and approval of annual reports to Ministers on the progress of this initiative.
Planning Highlights The Oceans Directorate at DFO monitors the HOTO initiative biannually and develops tools and processes to capture and report performance information. The monitoring and reporting process assesses progress against work plans and thus provides an opportunity for adaptive functions during the projects life cycle. The collaborative governance structure contributes to facilitated information access and exchange and leads to better informed decisions relating to program planning and management. An annual performance summary is prepared for submission to TBS.

Federal Partner / Program Activity Name of Program for Federal Partner Total Allocation (from Start to End Date) Planned Spending 2011–12 Expected Results for 2011-12
Fisheries and Oceans
Integrated Oceans Management Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy Implementation in DFO 1250.0 250.0 Advance the creation of a Federal Network of Marine Protected Areas that contributes to the health of Canada’s oceans, established and managed within an integrated oceans management framework.
Development of a Federal-Provincial-Territorial MPA Network 2,500.0 400.0 Significant progress in planning and advancement of a National (federal-provincial-territorial) Marine Protected Area Network in Canada’s three oceans.
Arctic Council – Ecosystem Projects 1,000.0 200.0 The Arctic Council Ecosystem Projects will result in:
  • a State of the Arctic Basin Report and use of common ecosystem monitoring strategies in shared and boundary waters;
  • Canada’s participation in expert workshops and major conferences on ecosystem approach for advancing EBM concepts and approaches, promoting Canada’s leadership in EBM applied to the Arctic, and sharing information and practices with other circumpolar countries, including US;
  • articles on EBM in Canada’s Arctic published in expert journals or workshop proceedings;
  • a suite of indicators for monitoring and assessing ecosystem status and trends, socio-economic aspects and governance structures in place in the Arctic; and,
  • the Arctic Council’s Report on Best Practices in Ecosystem-based Oceans Management in the Arctic (key product of the 2009 Ministerial Meeting).
Oceans Centres of Expertise (Coastal, Corals, Data Integration, TEK) 3,000.0 600.0 Establishment of four centres of expertise. Development and implementation of common tools and approaches in the five LOMAs to protect deep sea corals and sponge reefs, incorporate traditional knowledge, develop information management and exchange standards and accelerate progress in addressing coastal management issues
Collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) 213.0 42.6 Greater contribution by environmental non-governmental organizations to the Health of the Oceans.
Gulf of Maine (at DFO) 750.0 120.0 This initiative builds on the existing successful trans-boundary collaboration and management of Groundfish stocks through the Canada-United States Steering Committee, and the excellent cooperation between states and provinces through the Gulf of Maine Council. Based on DFO’s national standard, a literature review and project work plan for a joint Canada-United States Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine Ecosystem Overview and Assessment Report was developed as part of the 2005 Oceans Action Plan.
Marine Protected Areas Establishment 5,250.0 787.5 Six new MPAs will be designated within the existing Large Ocean Management Areas and a national monitoring and reporting system will be implemented for all Oceans Act MPAs.
Ecosystem Science Support and Advice on Health of the Oceans 5,500.0 1,100.0 Science advice on Marine Protected Areas and on priority sector-specific impacts and mitigation.
Habitat Management Integrated Management and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Assessment Tools Linkages 1,450.0 225.0 Processes and tools developed to support integrated oceans management and promote Health of the Oceans bridged with Canadian Environmental Assessment Act project-specific environmental assessment and strategic environmental assessment to address ecosystem-level cumulative impacts.
Environmental Response Services Spill Capacity and Emergency Response Strategy 2,260.0 0 Canada’s spill response capacity in the Arctic assessed, and equipment and systems to respond to the unique risks prepared.
Environment Canada
Biodiversity and Corporate services Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy – Implementation in EC 1,250.0 250.0 Advance the creation of a Federal Network of Marine Protected Areas that contributes to the health of Canada’s oceans, established and managed within an integrated oceans management framework.
Marine Wildlife Areas Establishment 2,000.0 179.0 Both the National Wildlife Area at Sable Island and Marine Wildlife Area at Scott Islands will be ready for designation, and a contribution will have been made to the Federal Marine Protected Area Network building process.
Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influence decision making and corporate services Sable Island Weather Station 4,000.0 800.0

1)  The risk of loss of life or property due to weather events is reduced for mariners, Canadian citizens and the international community, by producing more accurate weather forecasts and warnings using data from the Sable Island Weather Station.
2)  The understanding of upper atmospheric conditions and the flow of airborne pollutants and greenhouse gases is improved, by enabling scientific research through the continued existence of the Sable Island Weather Station infrastructure.
3)  The unique and fragile ecosystem of Sable Island is conserved by protecting it from human degradation.

Canadians adopt approaches that ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes and corporate services Gulf of Maine (at EC) 751.0 120.0 Increased support for the Gulf of Maine Council and implementation of the joint Canada-US five-year action plan that includes implementation of regional strategies for adaptation to climate change, indicators development, education and engagement and joint monitoring for toxic contaminants in the trans-boundary ecosystem.
Parks Canada Agency
Heritage Places Establishment Federal Marine Protected Area Strategy Implementation in Parks Canada 1,250.0 167.0 Advance the creation of a Federal Network of Marine Protected Areas that contributes to the health of Canada’s oceans, established and managed within an integrated oceans management framework.
National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound 5,000.0 1,000.0 Achieve a full understanding of the feasibility of establishing a National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound with the support of Inuit, Nunavut and key sectoral stakeholders, leading to the conservation of a significant representative component of Canada’s marine environment and a clear demonstration of Arctic sovereignty in the Northwest Passage.
Transport Canada
Transportation Safety and Security and Internal Services Enforcement of Ballast Water Regulations 4,500.0 966.5 Enforcement of regulations that minimize the risk of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens from being introduced through ship ballast water to waters under Canadian jurisdiction.
Pollution Prevention - Surveillance 13,000.0 3,181.6 Enforcement of Canada’s pollution prevention regulations in the Pacific, Arctic, East Coast Waters, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence Estuary.
Pollution Prevention – Dash 7 Outfitting 5,000.0 0 Enforcement of Canada’s pollution prevention regulations in the Pacific, Arctic, East Coast Waters, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence Estuary.   Modernization of the current Dash 7 surveillance aircraft to a standard equal to the Dash 8 surveillance aircraft dedicated for use on the East and West Coast.
Arctic International Marine Shipping Assessment 550.0 0 An assessment of projected shipping activities and the associated environmental, social and economic impacts and risks as reduced sea ice may lead to increased marine transport in the Arctic.
Pollution Prevention – Ship Waste Reduction Strategy 800.0 200.0 Adequate reception facilities for wastes; appropriate legislation and standards
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Northern land Resources Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment/ Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment from land-based sources of pollution 175.0 0 The series of reports will lead to:  an expanded arctic regional programme of action on land-based sources of pollution; a greater understanding of Aboriginal Arctic marine resource use; and a greater understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts from changing shipping patterns on northern and aboriginal communities.
TOTAL   61,449.0 10,590.0  

Contact information
Harvey Brodkin
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0E6
Telephone: (613) 990-6692