Harper Government Strengthens Navigational Capacity in Canada's Arctic

Budget 2010 announced $26.5 million over five years to Environment Canada and $8.3 million over five years to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to deliver meteorological and navigational services in the Arctic to meet Canada’s commitments to the International Maritime Organization.

The Navigational (NAV) Initiative

The Navigational Initiative involves the expansion of the Canadian Coast Guard’s marine communications services to provide navigational and safety information and warnings to mariners transiting within the newly-defined Arctic NAV areas. The areas include Canadian Arctic waters, such as the Northwest Passage, and adjacent waters north of Yukon in the Beaufort Sea, and parts of the eastern coast of Baffin Island.

This navigational information will be standardized and coordinated for delivery through the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, according to the international protocols and expectations established by the International Maritime Organization. As an added benefit, the domestic services provided to Northerners and economic sectors operating in the North will be enhanced.

By the end of the fifth year of implementation, navigational safety information and warnings will be provided around-the-clock, along with weather and ice forecast services. Bulletins will be disseminated via the INMARSAT-C satellite year round, where coverage is available. For areas not covered by satellite, bulletins will be issued via the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Canadian Coast Guard high frequency radios on a seasonal basis, in response to maritime activity in the high Arctic. The services will be extended to all territorial areas for which Canada has responsibility. In addition, enhanced information will be available through existing domestic channels.

Canadian officials will monitor transmission ensuring they meet Global Maritime Distress and Safety System standards.

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