Departmental Plan 2018-19

Operating context

In over 400 locations across Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard (DFO-CCG) carry out a broad mandate to work towards ensuring that: Canadian fisheries and aquaculture are sustainably managed; Canada’s oceans and other aquatic ecosystems are protected from negative impacts; the Canadian maritime economy and all mariners are supported with safe and navigable waters; Canada’s civilian fleet has the capability to respond to on-water incidents and support its clients.

Through sound science, forward-looking policy, and operational and service excellence, employees work collaboratively toward the following core responsibilities:

  • Fisheries
  • Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Marine Navigation
  • Marine Operations and Response

The overarching goal of DFO-CCG is to protect Canada’s three oceans, coasts, waterways and fisheries and ensure that they remain healthy for future generations. Canada has an abundance of freshwater and marine and coastal areas that are ecologically diverse and economically significant.

DFO-CCG operate in a dynamic environment that is affected by a number of factors, including: increased northern development; expansion of navigable waters; environmental changes; climate change; severe weather events; demographics; technological advances; changing maritime safety and security demands; and global geopolitical and economic conditions.

With a view to continuous improvement, DFO-CCG assess how they conduct business, provide services and deliver programs to clients and stakeholders while helping to meet Canada’s responsibility to the world to steward our resources with care. Risk awareness is integral to this assessment.

Key risks
Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments and any government-wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)

Indigenous Relationship Risk

There is a risk that the Department will not be able to develop and maintain productive relationships with Indigenous groups, communities, organizations and governments at an adequate pace, impacting its ability to meet priorities both at the departmental level and within the broader priorities of the Government of Canada.

1. Enhance internal organizational capacity to deliver on Reconciliation in alignment with federal horizontal initiatives
1.1 Develop a governance and performance reporting model to support coordination across DFO-CCG sectors to deliver on Reconciliation commitments
1.2 Enhance coordination of Indigenous engagement efforts across DFO-CCG and the federal system and with Indigenous organizations and communities
1.3 Deliver training and tools on Reconciliation, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
1.4 Enhance and expand a DFO-CCG Indigenous employee recruitment and retention strategy

2. Enhance Indigenous engagement, collaboration and co-management
2.1 Advance Indigenous research, policy, legislative, and regulatory review initiatives to align with the principles of reconciliation
2.2 Leverage DFO-CCG programming to enhance Indigenous co-management and economic capacity
2.3 Build co-management processes in collaboration with Indigenous governments and organizations
2.4 Advance use of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in DFO-CCG
2.5 Negotiate constructive agreements with Indigenous groups

3. Deliver Oceans Protection Plan commitments with Indigenous communities
3.1 CCG to continue to engage with Indigenous Nations on OPP initiatives related to search and rescue, environmental response, emergency towing capacity, regional response planning, vessels of concern, alternative response measures, hazardous and noxious substances, seamless regime, Indigenous community boats and CCG Auxiliary.

  • Fisheries
  • Aquatic ecosystems
  • Marine operations and response
  • Work with the provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders to better co-manage our three oceans.

DFO-CCG has identified Indigenous Relationship Risk as having the potential to significantly impact its operations and mandate. In addition to controls which are already in place, the Department will implement an action plan to further minimize the likelihood of the risk occurring and any potential impacts. The severity of this risk and the action plan will be monitored throughout the year through the quarterly reporting process. Action plans and ongoing reporting are critical components of the Department’s approach to managing corporate risk.

The external factors influencing Indigenous Relationship Risk include effectively fulfilling complex relationships, such as meeting Canada’s obligations under Treaty and through Reconciliation Agreements, as well as through legislation and regulations. Factors also include potential litigation regarding Aboriginal rights; implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other Crown-Indigenous reconciliation commitments; need for whole-of-government coordination on consultations and capacity to engage in consultations both within the Department and among Indigenous groups; as well as a requirement to better understand the needs, interests and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples relative to the department’s mandate.

The Government of Canada committed to a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Given that Indigenous Peoples’ rights and interests are intertwined in the DFO-CCG mandate, improved relations with Indigenous Peoples are key to delivering on the DFO-CCG core responsibilities – from managing the fisheries to including an Indigenous Traditional Knowledge System perspective in research, to working with Indigenous coastal partners to support marine safety and early response.

This risk directly affects coastal Indigenous Peoples, and Indigenous Peoples who fish in federally regulated fisheries, as well as other federal government departments working to deliver on a renewed nation-to-nation approach to resource management. It affects DFO-CCG partners in the provinces, particularly coastal provinces, and territories. It also affects industry stakeholders and recreational fishers who must adapt to any changes in DFO-CCG’s relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

This risk and response strategy represents the current understanding of DFO-CCG’s risk environment and will be updated as this understanding evolves.