Economic benefits of the Canadian Hydrography Service

Learn how the Canadian Hydrography Service (CHS) helps Canada's shipping economy.

On this page

Helping through science

The maritime territory plays a major role in our economic prosperity in terms of:

  • jobs and food
  • transportation
  • energy and other natural resources

The CHS helps Canada's marine resources through strong science that:

  • minimizes environmental and safety risks
  • maximizes navigational efficiencies in Canada's marine regions

We do this through:

  • seabed mapping
  • locating natural hazards
  • hydrographic surveys of:
    • water depths
    • tides and currents

Increasing Canada's marine capabilities

While we serve the marine community through accurate nautical charts and other navigation products and services, we also:

  • contribute to vessel management
  • monitor marine changes that can impact fish habitat
  • pinpoint navigational hazards to reduce marine accidents
  • map seabeds for renewable energy from tidal currents and waves
  • assist in geoscience technology and the exploration of offshore gas and oil sites
  • test new technology like autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in the frozen Arctic Ocean
  • promote development and new opportunities for Canada's northern communities with seabed mapping under ice in the Canadian Arctic

We've also developed a:

  • new laser tide gauge system to improve the reliability and timeliness of Canadian tide gauge data for:
    • shipping information and navigation charts
    • monitoring storm surge and tsunami activity
    • research into tidal current energy and ice hazard reduction
  • web-based water level prediction service that provides accurate, real-time estimates of water levels, which is valuable information for shipping companies
    • the service is called SPINE, which is a French acronym for 'Service de prévision et d'interpolation des niveaux d'eau'
    • SPINE operates:
      • downstream from Québec City
      • in all parts of the navigable St. Lawrence waterway between Montréal and Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive

In addition, CHS:

  • helps Canada determine the extension of the Maritime Zones
    • this is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • expands navigation routes like with the  Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
  • provides data for harbours to accommodate deep-draft tankers and other large vessels on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts

A maritime success story

In 2006, maritime related activities contributed $27.7 billion to Canada's gross domestic product and provided 316,000 jobs. Most of these activities involved:

  • ship-building
  • marine tourism
  • commercial fisheries
  • marine cargo transportation
  • offshore oil and gas extraction
  • marine infrastructure construction
  • aquaculture and fish processing industries

In 2008, marine transportation was the dominant mode for international trade, with annual shipments worth more than $157 billion. As commercial shippers increase the size and number of their vessels, the business potential for Canadian ports will expand.

We have more opportunities for growth from increased activity in offshore oil, gas exploration and extraction, and marine tourism.

Date modified: