Careers in science

Welcome to the rewarding world of scientific research and exploration in the Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Imagine a career devoted to helping safety-at-sea and promoting the safety, sustainability and survival of our oceans and fresh waters. Imagine helping to expand knowledge about the diverse species that live there.

About Careers in the Aquatic Sciences

About Careers in the Aquatic Sciences

DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector is an active part of the Canadian science and technology community. Our 1,600 scientists, researchers and support staff pursue excellence in service to Canadians. Our mandate includes responsibility for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada's fisheries resources while continuing to provide safe, effective and environmentally sound aquatic services that are responsive to the needs of Canadians in a global economy.

With research facilities from coast to coast to coast, DFO's Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector is a career destination of choice for marine science professionals and students. We conduct leading edge research in fisheries, aquaculture, oceans and habitat management.

We help to ensure that Canadians benefit from:

  • safe and accessible waterways;
  • healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems; and
  • sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

In DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector, you will find challenging career opportunities in the following areas:

Opportunities Job Classifications
Aquatic engineering Engineering and research skills
Marine transportation safety Engineering, hydrography, research skills, previous experience with Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Forces or Transport Canada
Hydrography Surveying, oceanography, cartography, engineering, geography, geology, hydrpgraphy, physical sciences, research skills
Oceanography Biology, chemistry, engineering, physical sciences, research skills
Climate change research Biology, chemistry, mathematics, physical sciences, research skills
Aquaculture and veterinary medicine research Biology, veterinary medicine, research skills
Aquatic environmental science Biology, chemistry, physical sciences, research skills
Fisheries Science Biology, statistics, research skills, population modelling
Program management University degree or college diploma, economics, policy, or science background

Education requirements vary based on position level however, a university degree and/or college diploma will be necessary. Supervisory and management skills will also be required for certain positions within the above job categories. A professional accreditation, e.g. P.Eng. or C.L.S. and membership in a professional regulatory body may be required for some supervisory positions. Specific requirements will be listed on job postings.

DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector is committed to supporting its staff to advance scientific knowledge, share best practices, enhance their professional capacity and achieve their best in a stimulating work environment to serve the public good. An equal opportunity employer, DFO offers a professional and challenging work environment focused on scientific excellence that will meet your professional goals.

About Science at DFO

Note: All job opportunities within DFO are announced on the Public Service Commission of Canada's career website.

About Careers as a Scientific Researchers

About Careers as a Scientific Researchers

A Career in Scientific Research

You want to learn more about the oceans and freshwater systems that help define Canada. You see a future in mapping the ocean floor, studying the species that live there and measuring the effects of climate change. You believe that scientific research forms the foundation for sound decision making and management of our marine ecosystems. A career in federal research science might be for you.

The Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector of Fisheries and Oceans Canada carries out research on Canada’s oceans, marine resources, and aquatic ecosystems to understand how they function, how they respond to disturbances like climate variability and how human activities might have an impact on ecosystem components.

Along with a passion for the aquatic sciences, including biology, zoology, chemistry, mathematics and/or geography or physics, a researcher will have completed a bachelor, masters and in most cases, a doctorate (PhD), in a scientific discipline. During your post-secondary studies, enrolment in internships or summer jobs where you will participate in research is recommended.

A Career as a Research Technician

Are you interested in studying science at university? Do you like the idea of working in a lab? Would you like to travel to study different types of aquatic species? Then, a position as a Research Technician with Fisheries and Oceans Canada may be for you. The Research Technician has three main roles: communication, field work, and analysis.

As a communicator, a research technician works in close contact with commercial harvesters to learn things about the species that they are studying. Or, he or she may join at an-sea mission to assist in the collection of oceanographic data, take part in fish or shellfish stock assessment work, or perhaps tag and test a marine mammal. In the field, a research technician has the opportunity to travel on aircraft, ships and small craft to collect scientific samples of different aquatic species. Upon returning, technicians analyze the data in DFO laboratories; providing important information that research scientists use to draw conclusions.

Technicians are relied upon to put the plans of the research scientists into action – they have the responsibility of collecting the data and doing the preliminary analysis that scientists rely upon. Scientists may supervise, but technicians frequently work on their own.

To become a research technician you must obtain a Bachelor of Science degree. It would be to your advantage to study an area of biology related to aquatic species or wildlife. During your university studies it would also be beneficial to seek out internships and to gain experience on a research project.

Note: All job opportunities within DFO are announced on the Public Service Commission of Canada's career website.

About Careers with Canadian Hydrographic Service

About Careers with Canadian Hydrographic Service

You feel that aquatic transportation can become safer and more efficient with the development and publication of accurate nautical charts and related publications. You think that Canada's sovereignty and security is improved by defining and delimiting Canada's marine territory. The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), part of DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector, wants to meet you.

The CHS is a world leader in the development of electronic charting and methods for undersea mapping of Canada's waters including the Arctic. A CHS hydrographer:

  • Collects data, and publishes and distributes hydrographic information, such as navigational charts, bathymetric maps, sailing directions, predicted tides and current tables, and related publications about Canada's offshore, coastal and inland waters;
  • Publishes jointly with Natural Resources Canada national earth science maps that display bathymetry, sediment thickness and surficial geology, as well as magnetic and gravimetric fields in the Canadian offshore;
  • Provides professional advice and services related to hydrography; and
  • Develops and refines methodologies, technologies and standards needed to carry out hydrographic activities.

CHS clients include:

  • Commercial marine transportation industry,
  • Commercial fishing industry,
  • Recreational boating industry,
  • Non-renewable resource sector,
  • Marine engineering,
  • Marine scientists,
  • Coastal zone and ocean managers,
  • Ports and harbours managers,
  • The Department of National Defence,
  • Natural Resources Canada,
  • Environment Canada,
  • Transportation Safety Board,
  • Canadian Coast Guard, and
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

CHS offers science professionals and students the opportunity to become a certified hydrographer through the multidisciplinary hydrographer (MDH) training program. Candidates for MDH training will have one of the following qualifications:

  • A diploma in surveying, cartography, geomatics or a related discipline from a technical college;
  • A university degree in geodesy, geomatics, survey engineering, geography, geographic information systems (GIS) or a related discipline;
  • A certificate of registration or a commission as a land surveyor; or
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience.

The MDH national career plan allows new hydrographers to achieve a senior position after four years of formal study, course work and practical field training.

Note: All job opportunities within DFO are announced on the Public Service Commission of Canada's career website.

Employment Opportunities for Students in Science

Employment Opportunities for Students in Science

If you are currently on an education path that will bring you to the shores of ocean science and technology. If you are eager to expand your knowledge and help preserve Canada's marine ecosystems for future generations. If you see your classroom as much on the rolling sea, in a laboratory or a field station as in a college campus.

We want to meet you.

Good oceans science has a big impact on our climate, our economy, our health, our culture, our sovereignty, our future.

DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector is currently conducting leading edge research through research facilities.

Student research programs at DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector offer amazing opportunities. A student research term offers the following benefits:

  • Participation in world class research projects;
  • Mentoring and guidance from Canada's top research directors; and
  • A knowledge transfer program that will connect you with senior staff for up to one year.

Come on board! DFO Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector and the Government of Canada offer the following programs to help you get connected with ocean science activities:

Note: All job opportunities within DFO are announced on the Public Service Commission of Canada's career website.

Other Career Opportunities

Other Career Opportunities

What is Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)? We are the lead federal government department responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters.

From coast to coast to coast, DFO

  • Career Opportunities (DFO)
  • Works with security forces to ensure the safe and secure use of Canada's waterways.
  • Helps with ship-to-shore communication and navigation, and to clear passageways for safe water travel.
  • Studies, conserves and protects aquatic ecosystems.
  • Conducts scientific research and related activities that are vital to the understanding and sustainable management of Canada's oceans and aquatic resources.
  • Works in collaboration to manage the commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries.
  • Provides services to fishers such as issuing licenses.
  • Creates the conditions to support a vibrant and sustainable aquaculture industry.
  • Saves lives
  • Maintains a network of harbours.
  • Ensures compliance with environmental standards and regulations in support of economic development and other activities.
  • Provides high-quality hydrographic data, products and services.
  • Responds to ship-sourced oil spills.
  • Develops and promotes the wise use of technology to ensure the long-term health of Canada's waters.

DFO is strongly committed to employment equity and diversity management. In keeping with this commitment, the Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector is committed to building an inclusive workforce that is fully representative of Canada's diverse population. As such, the Ecosystems & Oceans Science Sector encourages members from each of the four employment equity groups (Women, Persons with Disabilities, Aboriginal Peoples and Visible Minorities) to apply for career opportunities within the Sector.

Note: All job opportunities within DFO are announced on the Public Service Commission of Canada's career website.

Date modified: