The Government of Canada announced Thursday that it is investing $22.7 million over the next five years to help improve the safety of marine transportation and navigation in the Arctic.
Nearly 95 percent of goods transported in the Canadian arctic are shipped by sea, and the money will go towards ensuring communities in the remote North will continue to receive goods safely by ship.
As part of the 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 to help boost seafloor surveying and charting in the Arctic. The Canadian Coast Guard also plans to immediately enhance its emergency response and search and rescue capacity in the Arctic by stepping up its current Coast Guard Auxiliary presence in remote locations.
“Together, these measures demonstrate the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to strengthen marine safety to protect the public and the environment,” commented he Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “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.”
Transport Canada will also work closely with Aboriginal groups and local communities on ways to improve marine transportation in the North.
The government says the investment is expected to directly benefit the northern economy and remote communities that depend on ships for vital supplies, fuel and overall economic development.
“The Government of Canada is proud to announce these improvements in marine transportation in the Arctic,” said The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport. “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.”
Moving forward, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Hydrographic Service and Transport Canada will also be working together on a separate initiative to determine what mix of navigational services, infrastructure, and emergency response services is needed across Canada’s Arctic waterways.
The Harper Government has also submitted for another $34 million over five years starting in 2015–16 under its proposed Economic Action Plan 2015, which would support meteorological and navigational warning services in the Arctic.