As Minister, you have a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of Canadians…
Your powers and responsibilities allow you to make positive change and achieve meaningful results that are felt across the country.
- Enabling sustainable growth in the ocean economy
- Supporting the social and economic well-being of Canada’s coastal communities
- Strengthening nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous peoples
- Protecting the long-term health of aquatic environments and species
- Ensuring safety and aiding navigation throughout Canada’s waterways
- Pursuing international leadership in fisheries and oceans
...and make key decisions on a broad range of Government priorities
Types of decisions you will make as Minister
- Deciding who may access fisheries as a public resource, as well as where, when, and how many fish are harvested
- Supporting Canada’s coastal communities access to the ocean resource and services they need
- Taking steps to further a constructive relationship with Indigenous peoples
- Determining how Canada can best meet its commitments to marine conservation
- Taking action to protect vulnerable species and ecosystems
- Coast Guard response to marine pollution incidences (e.g., oil spills)
- Making sure Canadians are able to safely use and travel our oceans, lakes, and rivers
- Considering how best to engage with international partners and represent Canada on the world stage
Your department delivers critical services to Canadians
Ensure Canada’s fisheries, including aquaculture, are protected, managed sustainably, and support Indigenous participation, and that our national network of harbours is open and in good repair.
Protect our oceans, freshwater, and aquatic ecosystems and species from negative human impact and invasive species through sound science and in collaboration with Indigenous communities.
Maintain waterways year round so they are safely navigable by mariners and all Canadians.
Marine operations and response
Respond to maritime incidents, such as search-and-rescue and environmental emergencies, through our Coast Guard fleet and in collaboration with Indigenous communities.
We are a highly operational and service-oriented department…
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Day-to-day, DFO employees:
- Manage commercial, recreational and Indigenous fisheries
- Provide frontline services to Canadians, such as issuing licenses
- Keep Canada’s small craft harbours open and in good repair
- Protect marine ecosystems, habitats, and aquatic species
- Conduct marine science and research
- Oversee the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC), the Department’s only Crown corporation
Canadian Coast Guard
The Canadian Coast Guard is a special agency within Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Coast Guard personnel:
- Ensure sage water travel
- Engage in search and rescue
- Provide icebreaking services
- Respond to marine pollution incidents
- Support marine science and research
…with a highly skilled workforce that is ready to deliver on our mandate
The Department includes nearly 12,300 employees, of which approximately 6,000 are Coast Guard personnel, across Canada.
Our day-to-day operations rely on a strong workforce with a wide range of skills and expertise, including:
- Fisheries officers
- Vessel crews
- Search and rescue specialists
- Marine security advisors
- Environmental experts
We have a strong regional presence
As a highly operational organization, over 75 per cent of our employees work outside the National Capital Region (NCR) to deliver direct services to Canadians.
With over 350 work locations across the country, frontline departmental staff are often the main or only federal presence in Canada’s coastal communities.
In addition to the NCR, DFO is comprised of seven regions, with an additional four Coast Guard regions.
In 2018, DFO established new dedicated Arctic Regions to advance Indigenous reconciliation and to reflect the Arctic’s growing economic and environmental importance to Canada.
Note: boundaries for the new Arctic regions are being determined
We manage major program investments and a substantial asset base
- As a highly operational department, the majority of funding is allocated to operating and capital expenditures and grants and contributions.
- Key initiatives such as the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) have provided additional funding to support departmental priorities.
- Our asset base is valued at $44.6 billion, the second largest of any federal department.
- We have one of the largest federal property portfolios, with over 85 per cent of capital budget investments in Coast Guard fleet, small craft harbours, and real property
- The 2019-20 main estimates forecast spending of nearly $3 billion, with additional anticipated funding of approximately $800 million*, in order to meet our core responsibilities, as well as provide internal services.
|Core Responsibility||2019-20 Estimates|
|Marine Operations and Response||$1.03 billion|
|Marine Navigation||$328 million|
|Aquatic Ecosystems||$247 million|
|Real Property||$210 million|
|Internal Services||$177 million|
* 2019-20 anticipated funding is subject to Parliament approval
Science plays a key role in supporting your decisions as Minister
Science is front and centre at DFO, supporting every aspect of our mandate and contributing to evidence-based decision-making.
Sustainable development: A strong science and evidence-base supports the responsible use of ocean resources, including fisheries, aquaculture and offshore development.
Conservation and protection: Assessments of habitats, species at risk, aquatic invasive species, and other ecosystem factors informs policy, enhances programs, and supports marine protected areas.
Oceans management: Scientific data supports ocean governance and marine spatial planning and hydrographic services enable safe navigation through Canada’s waterways.Environmental monitoring: Scientific research and monitoring strengthens the Department’s ability to address emerging environmental challenges, such as the impacts of climate change.
We engage with diverse stakeholders, partners, and other governments on key objectives
Fish harvesters: Ensure fair access and allocation of fisheries resources to commercial harvesters; manage and administer licenses; and, balance sustainability measures with positive economic outcomes.
Marine sectors: Enable robust economic activity and trade via marine shipping and transport, marine safety, and aids to navigation; affirm Canada’s position in global fish and seafood markets.
Indigenous groups: Support expanded access to fisheries resources; provide greater agency and autonomy in decision-making; and, increase partnerships in ocean governance.
Provinces & territories: Jointly manage freshwater fisheries, ecosystems, and waterways with provincial and territorial governments and work collaboratively to address important issues within their jurisdiction.
International partners: Demonstrate Canadian leadership; promote Canada’s international trade agenda; advance Canadian priorities for international fisheries; and, engage domestic stakeholders on international issues.
ENGOs: Advance environmental conservation; strengthen protections for species at risk; enhance sustainability requirements for fisheries; build environmental response capacity.
Challenges you may face as Minister
Over the course of the Government’s mandate, you will be faced with a number of challenging decisions. Questions you may need to consider will encompass a range of priorities from across the Department, for example:
- Managing fisheries: how to ensure equitable access and allocation of fisheries resources?
- Species at risk: how to best position the Department to protect vulnerable aquatic species at risk?
- Marine conservation: how will the Department advance commitments to domestic and international conservation targets?
- Fleet renewal: how to ensure the ongoing procurement of Coast Guard vessels meets long-term operational requirements?
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