Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative pilot projects

The Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative is another action the Government of Canada is taking to protect the country's coasts and waterways through our Oceans Protection Plan.

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About the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative

We are developing a user-friendly web-based system that increases access to local maritime data, including vessel traffic, for Indigenous peoples, coastal communities and other stakeholders.

We have held several engagement sessions in coastal regions across Canada to better understand:

  • community interests in a maritime awareness information system
  • the kinds of information it should include
  • how it can meet the needs of a wide range of users

We want to increase the amount of useful and trustworthy information on maritime activity that is available to coastal partners and stakeholders.

Potential sources and types of information

Numerous engagement sessions have provided valuable input on what types of information to include in the system. We have also looked at various existing systems around the world. This has helped us understand opportunities in Canada for enhancing awareness of marine activity.

Based on this, potential sources and types of information in the system may include:

  • weather information, including sea and ice conditions?
  • tidal and underwater current information
  • vessel information from terrestrial Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) data
  • vessel information from space-based AIS (satellites) data
  • historical vessel position information
  • information on ecologically sensitive areas
  • traditional and cultural knowledge

The system could include both static and dynamic data.

Static data does not change significantly over time. It could include:

  • nautical information
  • underwater maps
  • sensitive habitats
  • cultural sites
  • vessel and port databases

Dynamic data changes over time. It could include:

  • weather updates
  • information about movement of vessels
  • information about potential pollution events

Building and testing the system

Choosing a contractor to develop and maintain a system that can provide near-real time data on local ship traffic will be the largest agile procurement project in the Government of Canada's history. Indigenous and coastal communities, Transport Canada, and the Canadian Coast Guard will choose the company together.

Canada's new system will use information from a range of data sources, such as federal government departments, academia and science organizations. We will pilot the system in 10 Indigenous communities across Canada for one year, beginning in spring 2019. Host communities will work with us to develop, test and evaluate the system. Pilot projects will allow users to provide valuable feedback that helps us improve and update the system.

Pilot projects

Map descriptive text:

Pictured - Title text on the graphic reads: “Partnering with 10 Coastal Communities and organizations to build a maritime awareness information system.”

See Pilot project host communities for more information

Choosing host communities

We used a collaborative process to choose pilot project hosts. Indigenous communities volunteered to be partners in developing and refining the maritime awareness information system.

How we identified who will host the pilot projects varied across Canada. For example:

  • Communities in British Columbia worked with federal representatives to determine by a majority who was best placed to pilot the new system, on behalf of all interested participants
  • In Quebec, Transport Canada met with Indigenous communities to discuss the system
    • The communities led a consensus-based process to choose 2 pilot project hosts

Available funding

Transport Canada will provide up to $9.8 million over 2 years for the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative pilot projects. This funding will support the use and testing of the system. It will help with capacity and awareness building, equipment and infrastructure, training, and administrative costs.

Pilot project host communities

West Coast

  • The T'Sou-ke Nation and the Pacheedaht Nation will host a shared pilot project on the South Coast of Vancouver Island.
  • The Council of the Haida Nation will host a pilot project on the North Coast of British Columbia
  • The Gitga'at Nation will host a pilot project on the Central Coast of British Columbia


  • The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke will host a pilot project along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence.
  • The Essipit Innu First Nation Council will host a pilot project along the north shore on the Saint Lawrence River estuary.


  • The Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Committee will host a pilot project in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
  • The Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Organization will host a pilot project in Nunavut.

East coast

  • The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council will host a pilot project in the coastal waters surrounding Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
  • The Nunatsiavut Government will host a pilot project in Nain, located in the Nunatsiavut settlement area on the northeast coast of Labrador.

Partner organizations

Transport Canada is working closely on this initiative with the Canadian Coast Guard and other federal partners. They include Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.

We are also working with:

  • Indigenous communities
  • provincial governments
  • scientific non-governmental organizations
  • industry stakeholders

We will continue to ensure we take a wide range of perspectives into account as we develop this system. We will also maintain a conversation with communities and others not involved in piloting the system.

Contact us

If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us:

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