Federal gov't to spend $175M on Arctic Ocean protection, spill response

The federal government has announced $175 million aimed at protecting the Arctic Ocean, including establishing low-impact shipping corridors with Indigenous communities and building a new aerial surveillance complex in Iqaluit.

Funding will be spent over 5 years, Coast Guard Auxilliary in Arctic will also be expanded

This photo taken from a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter shows the coastal waters at the border between Yukon and Alaska. The federal government announced $175 million in funding for Arctic Ocean protection Sunday as part of its Oceans Protection Plan. (Saša Petricic/CBC)

The federal government has announced $175 million aimed at protecting the Arctic Ocean, including establishing low-impact shipping corridors with Indigenous communities and building a new aerial surveillance complex in Iqaluit.

The spending, announced Sunday in Cambridge Bay by Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau, will be allocated out of the Liberal government's $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan. The plan, announced in November, was directed at protecting Canada's oceans from tanker and fuel spills.

According to a news release sent by the federal government, the plan is the "largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways."

The $175 million will be spent over five years. Nearly $95 million will be used to fund safety equipment, marine infrastructure, and training on Arctic coastal communities, with the goal of creating safer and more efficient resupply operations.

Another $29.9 million will be used to build an "Arctic National Aerial Surveillance Program Complex" in Iqaluit, which will be used to allow for increased surveillance capabilities over the growing number of ships in the North. According to the statement, the complex will "further improve spill prevention."

The government will spend nearly $17 million to establish an office of incident management through Transport Canada, and another $13.4 million to expand Transport Canada's Community Participation Funding Program. Through the program, eligible Indigenous groups, non-profits, and communities can receive up to $50,000 to contribute their local knowledge towards improving marine transportation in Canada.

The federal government also announced an expansion of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary in the Arctic. According to the statement, the Coast Guard has begun identifying locations for the expansion, which will include up to eight new community response boats.