Language selection


Departmental overview

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.

...and make key decisions on a broad range of Government priorities

Types of decisions you will make as Minister



Indigenous Rights




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.

Aquatic Ecosystems

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.

Marine navigation

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:

Canadian Coast Guard

The Canadian Coast Guard is a special agency within Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Coast Guard personnel:

…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:

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.

Coast Guard

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

Departmental funding

Departmental assets

Budgetary planning

Budgetary planning
Core Responsibility 2019-20 Estimates
Marine Operations and Response $1.03 billion
Fisheries $849 million
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:

Date modified: