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Speaking notes for The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, P.C., M.P. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
at a meeting of the Committee of the Whole for a discussion of the Main Estimates 2020-21
Ottawa, ON, 2020


Thank you, Mr. Chair, and all members. It is a pleasure to speak to you today.

Main estimates

The primary reason I am here is to discuss spending plans for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s 2020-21 fiscal year. In these Main Estimates, I am seeking $3.5 billion, which represents a 469 million-dollar increase over last year.

For the most part, this increase is primarily the result of new funding to advance reconciliation between the Crown and Indigenous peoples by implementing agreements and treaties, as well as engaging with Indigenous communities and stakeholders on fisheries policies.

It also represents incremental funding to continue the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet recapitalization projects, which will help to modernize the fleet and extend the life of its existing vessels, ensuring the Coast Guard can continue to deliver critical services that support the safety of Canadians coasts, waterways and oceans.

Planned spending will help my Department provide important economic opportunities to Canadians and coastal communities; sustain and rebuild fisheries to ensure they remain healthy for future generations; and protect and promote our oceans, coasts, and waterways.

Reconciliation & Indigenous rights

As federal minister responsible for fisheries and oceans, it’s my responsibility to ensure that our marine resources are managed for the long-term and in the public interest. It’s also incumbent upon me to advance Canada’s commitments to reconciliation by ensuring that my department works in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples to manage Canada’s fisheries.

This can only be done through the co-development of new solutions that are consistent with the constitutional protections provided to Aboriginal and treaty rights, and that meaningfully advance Canada’s important relationship with Indigenous peoples, while also ensuring a stable, predictable fishery for all participants.

Funding for reconciliation on Indigenous rights issues will be used to implement reconciliation agreements and implement treaties, as well as engage with Indigenous communities and stakeholders on fisheries policies.

These landmark agreements are designed to help close economic gaps through the development of partnerships and co-management regimes and by increasing Aboriginal access to fisheries licences and quotas, thereby augmenting their participation in fishing-related activities.

Our Government is committed to working alongside Indigenous Peoples to collaboratively manage this vital resource and to ensure that, as stewards of our land and waters, they have a rightful place at the table when it comes to the management of our fisheries.

Investments in fish stocks

One of my most important priorities is restoring the health of wild salmon stocks and other important fish stocks across Canada.

As you know, our Government announced an additional $107 million to support the implementation of stock assessment and rebuilding provisions in the renewed Fisheries Act to sustain Canada’s wild fish stocks.

We also launched the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund and the Quebec Fisheries Fund—both modelled on the successful Atlantic Fisheries Fund—to support projects focused on building resilience through restoration, promotion of science partnerships, innovation and the adoption of technology.

Our Government is also making an additional contribution of $5 million to the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society to support the important work of the Pacific Salmon Foundation to engage community groups in salmon conservation. These new funds will enable the Foundation to be even more effective going forward.

These are among many activities that support our Wild Salmon Policy implementation plan over the next five years and support important changes to the management of our aquaculture policies.

CCG fleet renewal

Keeping mariners safe and protecting our marine environment is a duty we entrust to the brave women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard.

Together, they are the backbone of one of the strongest marine safety systems in the world.

Our Government is committed to providing the Coast Guard with the tools they need to keep Canadians safe and keep our economy moving. In 2019, we announced the largest investment ever made to renew the Coast Guard fleet with 24 new large ships: sixteen Multi-Purpose Vessels, two Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, and six Program Icebreakers. Additionally, our Government also announced investments of over $2 billion for a comprehensive Vessel Life Extension program for Coast Guard’s existing fleet.

Building whole new classes of vessels takes a great deal of time, planning, money, and effort. Repairs, refits and vessel life extension work must be carried out on the existing fleet until new ships are delivered under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

We recently marked the completion of the first class of ships built under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy with the acceptance of three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels. These are Canada’s first-ever vessels purposely designed and built for vital offshore fisheries research, science, and monitoring.

The Canadian Coast Guard wouldn’t be what it is today without the tremendous support of Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industry which fuels innovation and skills development, and creates new opportunities for workers and businesses across the country.

Our significant commitment to renew the Coast Guard fleet will provide our crews with state-of-the-art equipment and preserve the world class marine safety regime that Canada enjoys.

Environmental protection

On oceans protection, our Government has exceeded its marine conservation targets to protect 10 percent of our oceans by the end of 2020. We’re at nearly 14 percent now, and already working towards our 25 percent target by 2025. And that’s with real protections that will have biodiversity benefits for generations to come.

This past summer, Canada joined the United Kingdom’s Global Ocean Alliance. One of the key focusses of this alliance is advocating for the adoption of a global target of 30 per cent marine conservation by 2030, which is a key pillar of next year’s Convention on Biological Diversity - COP 15 meeting.

Our historic 1.5 billion-dollar Oceans Protection Plan is creating a world-leading marine safety system, restoring and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats, enhancing environmental and local emergency response, and strengthening our ability to trade with confidence and safety.

As we go forward, we will accelerate the use of tools like marine spatial planning that allow us to plan our ocean spaces in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners, Indigenous peoples, and industry and environmental stakeholders.

And our Government has invested in Canada’s Ocean Supercluster—composed of business, academia and non-profits—to accelerate innovation and sustainable economic growth in our oceans. We are mobilizing internationally to deliver the scientific knowledge, innovation and capacity needed to strengthen ocean protections—because science and innovation will be a critical pillar of a strong blue economy.

Trans Mountain Expansion

Our Government is committed to promoting economic opportunities for Canadians while ensuring our oceans and resources remain healthy for future generations.

As part of the approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, our Government put forward eight accommodation measures to address concerns raised by Indigenous groups. We are implementing four of these measures, which focus on building capacity and enhancing long-term relationships with Indigenous groups.

These measures seek to advance shared objectives of maintaining and restoring fish habitat, understanding and monitoring cumulative effects, and improving spill prevention and response capacity.

I look forward to sharing more about these and other developments with my fellow Parliamentarians in the months ahead.


Our nation’s prosperity depends on making sure that the benefits of a growing economy are felt by more and more people, with good, well-paying jobs for the middle class.

We are well positioned to deliver on the government’s priorities, and the investments I have mentioned will allow DFO and the Coast Guard to continue carrying out important work in service to Canadians.

Thank you.

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