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Diving Safety Program

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) maintains a diving safety program under the Science Sector, headquartered at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It ensures the sustainable development and safe use of Canada's oceans, fresh waters and aquatic resources.

Program benefits

DFO research scientists, biologists and technicians use diving as an opportunity for direct observation and underwater experimentation. Diving produces meaningful data that couldn't be obtained by other methods.


We authorize over 100 employees to dive across Canada each year, and we consistently enjoy an excellent diving safety record.

The Departmental Diving Safety Procedures:

  • capture the requirements of the:
    • Canada Labour Code Part II
    • Canadian Occupational Safety and Health Regulation on Diving Operations
  • establishes safe work procedures specific to DFO diving activities

In order to dive under DFO procedures, divers must be:

  • trained
  • medically fit to dive
  • properly equipped for the tasks being performed
  • demonstrate annually that they're competent to perform the types of dives in which they participate


Every year, DFO scientists conduct a variety of research projects both above and below the surface. Over 100 employees dive each year, with projects from coast to coast, such as:

  • ice exploration in the Arctic
  • freshwater studies in the prairies
  • integrated mussel aquaculture in the Bay of Fundy

Underwater scenes

There are an abundance of wild, colourful and strange animals in Canadian waters. The aquatic species found in Canada range from jellyfish found thousands of feet below the surface in the Arctic to sea scallops on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Check out the incredible images captured by our divers.

DFO divers

When it comes to DFO research, there are numerous projects using diving, such as those that:

  • sample algae in the Experimental Lakes Area of Ontario
  • collect samples of threatened abalone on the West Coast

Find out what other projects have researchers suiting up and diving below the surface.

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