Report on Plans and Priorities 2013-14

Raison d'être and Responsibilities

Fisheries and Oceans Canada supports strong economic growth in our marine and fisheries sectors and contributes to a prosperous economy through global commerce by supporting exports and advancing safe maritime trade. The Department supports the innovation needed for a knowledge-based economy through research in expanding sectors such as aquaculture and biotechnology. The Department contributes to a clean and healthy environment and sustainable aquatic ecosystems for Canadians through habitat protection, oceans management, and ecosystems research. A safe and secure Canada relies on the maritime security, safe navigation, presence on our waters, and effective search and rescue services that the Canadian Coast Guard provides.

The Department's core work is guided by five key pieces of legislation:

  • The Fisheries Act provides, among other things, broad powers to the Minister for the proper management and control of commercial, aboriginal, and recreational fisheries, and aquaculture operations, which are also fisheries. Further to various long-standing arrangements, the provinces have assumed administrative responsibility for the management of most inland fisheries.
  • The Oceans Act, among other things, provides authority to the Minister to lead the development and implementation of plans for the integrated management of activities affecting estuaries, coastal and marine waters, and the coordination of oceans issues. The Act also establishes the Minister's responsibility for Coast Guard services, as well as responsibility for marine science services such as the Canadian Hydrographic Services' nautical charts and publications.
  • While the Minister of Environment has primary responsibility for the administration of the Species at Risk Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the competent minister for aquatic species.
  • The Coastal Fisheries Protection Act regulates access by foreign fishing vessels to Canadian ports and Canadian fisheries waters. Among other things, the Act gives the Minister the power to issue licences authorizing foreign fishing vessels to enter Canadian fisheries waters to engage in specified fisheries-related activities.
  • The Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (Transport Canada-led) sets out, among other things, as a part of the Minister's mandate for the Coast Guard, the responsibility for search and rescue and lighthouses (including lights, signal buoys, and beacons).

Our Mission

Through sound science, forward-looking policy, and operational and service excellence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada employees work collaboratively toward the following strategic outcomes:

Our Vision

To advance sustainable aquatic ecosystems and support safe and secure Canadian waters while fostering economic prosperity across maritime sectors and fisheries.

The Canadian Coast Guard, a Special Operating Agency within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is responsible for services and programs that contribute to all three of the Department's strategic outcomes while also contributing significantly to the safety, security, and accessibility of Canada's waterways. The Canadian Coast Guard also supports other government organizations by providing a civilian fleet and a broadly distributed shore-based infrastructure.