Canada's oceans agenda

With over 7 million Canadians living in coastal communities, Canada has a lot at stake in protecting our 3 oceans and coasts. We rely on our oceans for food, jobs, clean air and much more. Our stewardship of this important natural resource is part of our social fabric and is woven into the vast history of maritime and Indigenous traditions.


Ensuring our oceans continue to be productive for generations to come is a shared responsibility. That’s why we’re taking steps to ensure we have safer, cleaner and healthier oceans.

Ocean protection

Protecting our oceans and marine ecosystems from the threats of pollution, climate change and overfishing is critical to their long-term health. Through the Oceans Protection Plan and other measures, Canada is taking immediate and comprehensive action to encourage the protection and recovery of Canada’s whales. We’ll also ensure the safe shipping of goods across our waters and the responsible development of our natural resources.

What we are doing

Ocean sustainability

Canada’s oceans contribute significantly to the economy, but they’re a shared and finite resource. We are dedicated to developing and maintaining regulations that provide lasting economic benefits to Canadians while preserving our marine environment. We continue to work with domestic and international partners to support sustainable and environmentally responsible ocean practices.

What we are doing

Ocean science and innovation

Through ongoing investments in science and strong partnerships at home and abroad, Canada is making oceans protection a priority and driving innovation. We use scientific data to make informed decisions for the sustainable management of our oceans, and our scientists are involved in some of the most advanced research activities taking place today. Areas such as commercial fishing, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, renewable energy and tourism can all prosper from new, innovative and clean technologies.

What we are doing

Ocean governance and reconciliation

Canada is committed to improving oceans governance and its relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Through inclusive and integrated decision making at home and abroad, we’ll be able to better manage our marine environment together.

What we are doing

International engagement

Canada is proud to be an oceans’ leader, recognized around the world for its expertise in ocean science, sustainable management and emergency response. We’re committed to developing and implementing effective and innovative solutions. We promote partnerships with local, Indigenous, small island, and remote coastal communities. We also work with the private sector, international organizations and the public to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practices.

What we are doing

Oceans plastics and marine litter

Each year, 8 million tonnes of plastic pollution enter the oceans from land, globally. It is found on shorelines, in the water, and even in wildlife across Canada’s coasts and freshwater areas, such as the Great Lakes. Reducing plastic waste, marine litter and plastic pollution is a priority for the Government of Canada. We’re working hard to champion international and corporate leadership on the issue through a variety of initiatives, including the adoption of the Ocean Plastics Charter. Domestically, the Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial partners.

What we are doing

Date modified: